Jane Kirkpatrick is one of my new favorite authors and she doesn't disappoint in This Road We Traveled. I tasted the dust of the California Trail, felt the heat from the desert sun, and smelled the sweat of the oxen as I traveled from Missouri to Oregon with sweet Tabby. What a beautiful story of unconditional love, perseverance, and forgiveness within the bonds of family.
If you're unfamiliar with this author, I urge you to read her works. She's a marvelous storyteller drawing from the real life stories of those long ago.
No matter the hardships the characters face, and in THIS ROAD WE TRAVELED there are plenty, Jane Kirkpatrick's books are always filled with wisdom and hope. The main characters in this book are Tabitha (Tabby) Brown, her daughter Pherne, and granddaughter, Virgilia. Tabby is a long-time widow in her 60's who does not want to be left behind in Missouri when her son Orus comes back from a scouting visit to Oregon prepared to move his family, along with Virgil and Pherne's. Pherne does not want to go, having great difficulty leaving family treasures and especially leaving behind the grave of their young son, Oliver. Of all the characters, I could relate most to Pherne but loved how she used the hardships with her faith in God and trust in her husband to strengthen her character and be at peace. Though Jane Kirkpatrick's books are not strict biographies, rather novelizations, I enjoy how much research and detail she weaves into these stories of real people and events. It was especially fun to discover characters from previous books who Tabby and her family met in Oregon. If you enjoy historical fiction about strong women, I highly recommend THIS ROAD WE TRAVELED.
I believe, I learned something about history in this book. Because of the Browns' story in this book, I looked up information about Mrs. Brown, the Oregon trail, and many more things. What a way to bring history to life and teach the readers! Mrs. Brown would be proud.
When I pick up a book by Jane Kirkpatrick I know that I will be reading a fascinating story about a little known woman in American history. Her newest book This Road We Traveled keeps that tradition alive with the account of Tabitha Brown.
Tabby, as she's more commonly called, braves the treacherous trek across the country from Missouri to Oregon in a covered wagon in order to stay with her family. Interestingly enough it is Tabby that makes this happen. Her family has come to the conclusion that the trip will be too much for her and want her to stay behind. I'm the grandmother of our family and the thought that they would leave her behind just brought up all the emotions in me. Could they really leave her behind so easily? Just like Tabby I was irritated and sad that these offspring of hers could think so little of her feelings.
This Road We Traveled is alternately told through the perspective of Tabby, her daughter Pherne,and her granddaughter Virgilia. Each woman discovers strength that they had no idea they were capable of. Tabby has a tendency to be overly optimistic and questions whether her optimism will be to her detriment. Pherne tends to be pessimistic and continually questions every decision she and her husband make. Virgilia struggles with envy and wonders if life is going to pass her by.
My favorite part comes from the wisdom of Tabby. She continually tells her children and her grandchildren that they must "Trust in the manna." Just as God provided for the Hebrews He would also provide for them. A profound lesson that we all need to take to heart.
If you enjoy historical fiction then I highly recommend that you treat yourself to this read. Just like all of Jane's books I think you will come away with an appreciation for the women's stories and the sacrifices they made to make this country what it is today.
I received a copy of this book to facilitate my review.
I have never read a book of Ms. Kirkpatricks I did not enjoy a lot! It isnt just her outstanding skills as a writer that draws me, but the fact that all her books are based on real people and events. Most I had never heard of.
Tabitha Brown lived during the 1840s and became known as the Mother of Oregon. She founded the Oregon Orphans Asylum and School at Tualatin Plains. It was a boarding house, had a teacher from the east. Children were fed, clothed educated and loved. Eventually it became the Tualatin Academy. She did all this with very limited funds, in her senior years and in a newly settled area. The diary she kept along the journey was a great source of information for the author.
All this is quite amazing, but there was much more to Tabitha than that. She was a widowed pastors wife, a spunky, outspoken, independent woman. When her family decides to move to Oregon from Missouri, her son announces it is best for to stay behind! He cites her age, 65, and a lame leg that makes it difficult to get around. She is hurt and stunned.
With her usual determination she buys her own wagon, supplies and animals, announcing she is going. The trip is treacherous and dangerous, testing her in ways she had never been challenged. In the 1840s such trips were trying even for the young. Not only did she face every peril, but actually helped her family in different crisiss.
I related to Tabitha in several ways. I am in my 60s also a widowed pastors wife. How would I feel if my children announced they were all moving away and leaving me behind? What if I lived in that era and the trip would not mean jumping in a car and being there in a few hours. Would I have the courage and strength?
Her strong faith in God is what carried her. I admired that as with all the discomfort, opposition, and hazards she faced it showed she had true trust in God. It would have been so easy to give up. No matter how difficult the experiences were, she continued to think of and care for others. What an inspiring woman! Six stars to Ms. Kirkpatrick for another outstanding book!