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4 Stars Out Of 5
An interesting read about the history of our country
September 2, 2014
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.
This was one of those books that didn't turn out to be what I expected, but turned out to be an amazing story.
I immediately fell in love with Letitia the very first time she was introduced in this story. I woman who has lost her entire family, finally a free woman in the heart of slave country. She has obstacles at every single turn and has to fight for everything she has. She owns exactly one thing in her life, a cow named Charity.
Letitia finds herself in the home of Davey Carson. I felt like their story happened very quickly, but soon we find them making plans and headed out on the Oregon trail. Their relationship has so many ups and downs, trials, hurt, and triumpts. Throughout this story I found myself loving Davey one minute and hating him the next. He turns to be a good man thought, with good intentions, and a love for Letitia. Their story doesn't end how I wanted it, but Letitia is a survivor and she and Charity make a life for themselves.
When we meet Nancy, it is obvious she has her hands full with kids. I adore Nancy and the admiration she has for her husband, Zach. They have such an amazing relationship and the love they have between them is so evident in everything we see in this story. Nancy doesn't really want to head down the Oregon trail, but she is willing to do whatever Zach feels is best for their family.
Nancy's experience on the trail is full of tragedy and broken hearts. Her story is one of struggle and survival for her family. I was so happy to know that she ended up with a wonderful life in Oregon full of love and family by her side.
I didn't love Betsy's story. I had a hard time connecting to her and getting into her life. But when her life finally intersects with the lives of Nancy and Letitia, I find it much more relevant and interesting. She is there when she is needed and becomes a great friend to the women who have arrived in her country.
I enjoyed this book so much, in fact I read it in two days! It is a great look into the history of our country and the costs that was paid by so many families.
An awesome and simply moving tale that weaves fiction with historical facts about a colored woman named Letitia. Readers will follow her travels from Missouri to Oregon before it became a state. Letitia travels as the only colored woman married to a white man, though known only to a couple of people because at that time it was illegal. Most people in the wagon train Letitia and David Carson traveled with considered her his property. Most considered themselves better than Letitia, and they often scorned her not allowing her to seek safety in their company.
Reading about the harsh environment and lack of privacy along with the amenities many of us are so accustomed to having when traveling was interesting. The tale has many dangers. Women couldnt own land regardless of race, and women could only have land in Oregon if they were married. Some marriages were for survival and ownership of property with loss of life being very common.
I doubt any woman back then would have known that a novel would reflect their story or that various items made would now be in a museum for others to view. It makes one think,What will others who come after us learn about the times we lived in and actions we did or didnt take? Letitia had two children, a girl who later married and moved away with her husband onto a reservation and Adam her son who never married and remained on his mothers land after she died. He was later buried beside her.
Letitias husband came to America from Ireland. In order to become a citizen, he had to renounce any ties to the government and land in Ireland. It took years for him to get papers that proved he was a citizen and could legally own land and property. His character in the novel showed his wandering nature, but also his love for Letitia and their two children. David Carson was married before and he had a son who followed him and demanded his fathers property after his fathers death. There were some people in the book who thought a lot of Letitia and stood by her in good times and bad. In Missouri, there were men who patrolled, looking for slaves who werent carrying free papers and then returning them to the rightful owners. Can you imagine walking the street, worrying about the patrollers finding you and then perhaps receiving lashes before being returned as property?
Most of the tale shows how people can learn from each other and make it through life by drawing upon each others strengths, relying on the Lord to watch over the sparrow.
Jane Kirkpatrick is a masterful storyteller and her latest, A Light in the Wilderness, is a must-read for the sheer beauty of a story well-told! Not only is this a story of one woman's courage, it is a story about overcoming struggle and persevering in the midst of injustice. It shows us what loyalty and friendship can do for the human spirit. Jane Kirkpatrick uses words to paint a vibrant landscape where we can enjoy a respite from our own world for a time. Her characters are believable and courageous, giving us an adventure in human drama as if we trod right along with them through the perils and pleasures of the Oregon Trail. A good story gives us important things to think about along the way while we enjoy the artistry. But even beyond that, this book breathes life into an important yet little-known story. Leticia Carson's life can light the way for many; fortunately for us all, Jane Kirkpatrick has put the kindling to the flame.
A Light in the Wilderness is amazingly rich in historic detail yet so easy to read. Letitia is a woman who has friends because she knows how to be a friend, one I have whole-heartedly welcomed into my world. In spite of the dangers she faces in life, she stands as a powerful example of strength and a determination to prevail against the odds while maintaining her kind heart and admirable character.