Fighting to survive after the deaths of all the men in their group, 12 pioneer women head west on the Oregon Trail---a journey that teaches them to lean on God and one another. Based on an actual 1852 incident, this gripping story of love, courage, determination, and faith will move you to tears and joy. 412 pages, softcover from Waterbrook.
One of the incidents that made a profound impression upon the minds of all: the meeting of eleven wagons returning and not a man left in the entire train; all had died, and been buried on the way, and the women returning alone.
-from the journals of Ezra Meeker, 1852
Their lives would be tempered by adversity, expanded by faith, polished by perseverance.
For Madison "Mazy" Bacon, a young wife living in southern Wisconsin, the future appears every bit as promising as it is reassuringly predictable. A loving marriage, a well-organized home, the pleasure of planting an early spring garden--these are the carefully-tended dreams that sustain her heart and nourish her soul.
But when her husband of two years sells the homestead and informs her that they are heading west, Mazy's life is ripped down the middle like a poorly mended sheet forgotten in a midwestern storm. Her love is tried, her boundaries stretched, and the fabric of her faith tested. At the same time, she and eleven extraordinary women are pulled toward an uncertain destiny--one that binds them together through reluctance and longing and into acceptance and renewal.
Based on an actual 1852 Oregon Trail incident, All Together in One Place, Book One in the Kinship and Courage series, speaks to the strength in every woman and celebrates the promise of hope that unfailingly blooms amidst tragedy and challenge.
Jane Kirkpatrick is the award-winning author of two non-fiction books and four novels, including the A Sweetness to the Soul, and numerous articles and essays. A speaker and retreat leader, Jane also works as a mental-health consultant on an Indian reservation. She and her husband, Jerry, reside in Oregon.
WaterBrook Press Reader’s Guide
for All Together in One Place by Jane Kirkpatrick
“One of the incidents that made a profound impression upon the minds of all was the meeting with eleven wagons returning, and not a man left in the entire train. All the men had died and had been buried on the way, and the women and children were returning to their homes alone from a point well up on the Plate, below Fort Laramie. The difficulties of the return trip were multiplied on account of the throng moving westward. How those women succeeded in their attempt, or what became of them, we never knew.”
--Ezra Meeker recalling an incident on his first journey west on the Oregon Trail in 1852.
As with many of us, Mazy Bacon thought she yearned for the things that gave her nurture: her home and garden, her dog, the love and comfort of her husband, the visits of her mother. She did not like surprises or change and told her husband so. She liked a predictable life and thought that she controlled it. “Things’re not always what they seem,” her husband said one evening in early 1850 and thus began this young woman’s journey to the wilderness places of her life - the wilderness of landscape, relationship and the yearnings of her soul.
ALL TOGETHER IN ONE PLACE is a novel, set in 1852, about eleven wagons of women seeking the nurture of home and facing change. But more it is a story of the wilderness places of our lives today and the discovery of what we’re given-if we will seek it-to see us through. Writer Terry Tempest Williams reminds us that “to step into wilderness is to court risk.” We are warned in life to be prepared before we step where few have gone before. But sometimes we are forced to enter the wilderness. Death, divorce, loneliness and betrayal announce the wilderness of relationship. A move, an illness or an accident can separate us from familiar landscapes, friends and even ourselves, piercing us in places we fight so hard to stay away from. The wilderness of spirit can challenge, too, revealing both fears and fragile places in our faith that trouble us and taking us deep into uncertainty.
But wrapped within the wilderness places, treasure sparkles-if we believe, persevere, and reach beyond, if we will trust the Psalmist’s words, “The Lord knows my lot. He makes my boundaries fall on pleasant places.” To find those pleasant places of our lives, no matter where we are, we’re asked to stretch, to risk and trust and to admit that we have entered wilderness, that life as we once knew it and believed that we controlled, has ended. With that admission, we can court commitment not just risk, and with faith and friends, move forward toward abundance we otherwise would never known was there.
“Reading All Together in One Place inspired our quilting group to quilt our version of your story in cloth.”
- Reader from Oregon