Saturday, September 26, 2015

Review: The Memory Weaver

The Memory Weaver
By Jane Kirkpatrick
Revell, 2015


Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now a mother of two, Eliza faces a new kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity.

Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal. As she searches the pages of her mother's diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story.

Based on true events, The Memory Weaver is New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick's latest literary journey into the past, where threads of western landscapes, family, and faith weave a tapestry of hope inside every pioneering woman's heart. Get swept up in this emotional story of the memories that entangle us and the healing that awaits us when we bravely unravel the threads of the past.

My thoughts

For historical fiction that focuses on America’s pioneer years, Jane Kirkpatrick is outstanding. The Memory Weaver is based on the true account of Eliza Spaulding, daughter of pioneer missionaries Henry and Eliza Spaulding, who ministered to the Nez Perce Indians. In Jane’s capable hands, rich historical detail provides the backdrop for a narrative that beautifully conveys the hardships, emotions, commitment and sheer determination of these early missionaries and settlers to the Oregon Territory.

Jane has a way with words, evidenced in Eliza’s opening line:  "My earliest memory is of laughter inside a waterfall of words." I enjoy reading about historical figures, can’t even begin to imagine all that they endured, and the young Eliza’s character is developed with a depth that I found fascinating. As the title suggests, memory is key in this story as Eliza, haunted by flashbacks, begins reading her mother’s diaries and gradually pieces together memories of a massacre that she not only witnessed, but in which she was taken hostage. Eliza touched my heart when she said, “My shame is living when so many didn’t.”

I love these thought-provoking quotes that give not only a taste of Jane’s writing style, but the overall feel of story as well:

Reflecting at her mother’s graveside, Eliza says, "I didn't know then that the healing of old wounds comes not from pushing tragic memories away but from remembering them, filtering them through love, to transform their distinctive brand of pain."

Regarding her marriage to Warren:  "I'd treat my marriage like Rachel's woodstove, working hard to keep the fire going, not too hot and not too cold, making sure the damper was closed so no outside winds could buffet or send a flame across the floor to burn things up."

And this is especially true:  “Every day is a day that starts a new life, that requires knitting and going back to pick up lost stitches.”

The Memory Weaver is not a fast-paced narrative, but rather an in-depth look at Eliza Spaulding’s memorable life and the wonderful ministry of her family. Recommended to all who enjoy historical fiction.

Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of twenty-seven books, including A Light in the Wilderness and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her books have been awarded the WILLA Literary Award and Carol Award for Historical Fiction and have been finalists for many others. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry.

Find Jane online at and Facebook

Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

No comments:

Post a Comment