Monday, August 6, 2007

A Tendering in the Storm

I am in the middle of reading a delightful if rather slow-moving historical novel called A Tendering in the Storm by Jane Kirkpatrick. The meticulously researched account of German immigrants and pioneers who built the West in spite of many perils is told from a wife and mother's point of view. The heroine, Emma, is a woman of faith and what impresses me is that Kirkpatrick allows her characters to have moral and spiritual struggles without attacking Christianity as do so many books today. From a Catholic point of view, however, I can see that many of the inner conflicts they have with themselves and with each other are because of their personal interpretations of Scripture. Some suffering, not all, would be rendered unnecessary with some clear catechesis and the guidance of established ecclesiastical authority.

I find A Tendering in the Storm to be of interest since I am currently working on a historical novel involving Irish immigrants, my own ancestors, and the hardships they faced in rural Ontario. I appreciate the difficulties of writing about little known people based on private archives and scanty public records. Jane Kirkpatrick has acquitted herself quite well in this regard, bringing to life those who are forgotten and obscure.

Here is a summary of the book sent to me by the publisher for the current "Blog Tour:"

Based on a true story, this lyrical novel gives voice to a mother’s fears for her family and a woman’s search for her truest self.

In second book of the Change and Cherish series from best-selling author Jane Kirkpatrick, strong-willed Emma Giesy and her husband branch off from a close-knit and repressive German religious community of the 1850s to work and live independently in the remote coastal forest of the Washington Territory.

But when Emma suddenly finds herself alone and pregnant with her third child, this desperate mother makes a series of poor choices, hoping to ensure her family’s survival. She eventually finds herself entangled in grave circumstances, having fueled the fires of devastation with her own loss and disappointment. Can she rescue her family’s future from the embers of her actions?

Wondering if an angry God has abandoned her to the consequences of her willfulness, Emma must come to terms with her own vulnerability. As clouds of despair close in, she faces the difficult question of whether to continue in her own waning strength or to humble herself and accept help from the very people she once so eagerly left behind.

Jane Kirkpatrick is the best-selling author of two nonfiction books and twelve historical novels, including A Clearing in the Wild and the acclaimed Kinship and Courage series. Her award-winning essays and articles have appeared in more than fifty publications, including Daily Guideposts and Decision. A winner of the coveted Western Heritage Wrangler Award, Jane is a licensed clinical social worker as well as an internationally recognized speaker and inspirational retreat leader. She and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 acres in eastern Oregon.


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