Friday, April 18, 2008

Book 1 - Change and Cherish Historical Series - Jane Kirkpatrick

Jane Kirkpatrick’s historical novels have a distinct and beautiful way of drawing you back to another time. A Clearing In The Wild begins the Change and Cherish trilogy, and it take you into the Keil Colony formed in Bethel, Missouri, 1851. It is there, on Christmas morning, that we meet Emma Wagner – a distinctive character whose story will grow and expand in ways only Jane Kirkpatrick can share. This Colony of believers sounds similar to the Amish in many ways, and they practice communal living set apart from the “outside” world. However, at age eighteen, Emma has become a woman who knows her own mind, and she begins to question this blind submission to a man who hold women in such low regard. It is this independent spirit that takes Emma on a rather treacherous journey into womanhood.

A Clearing In The Wild primarily focuses on Emma and her relationship with Christian Giesy. While Emma’s headstrong ways and independent thinking are seen negatively by the leader of the colony, these very same traits are what draw Christian to her despite the fact that she is 20 years his junior. Christian appreciates her uniqueness, and it is that love that sustains their relationship through some very daunting trials. Emma’s “free thinking” ways also open the door to new ideas that wind up bringing new life to many in the colony.

I don’t want to spoil this beautiful story by sharing a lot of detail. I just want you to know that Jane Kirkpatrick captures the very essence of life in the mid-1800’s and creates characters that you will long remember. Emma and Christopher have to leave the known safety of the colony and journey forth into a new world. They must find their own “clearing in the wild” and the lessons they learn along the way are both strengthening and tendering. Emma’s mother shares a German proverb in the beginning of the story – on page 18 that says; “Begin to weave/God provides the thread.” By the end of the story, Emma understands that proverb like this; “…that life is a weaving with our fine threads being broken and stretched. It’s our calling to keep weaving, find ways to tie things together again.” (p. 340)

Come to Bethel, Missouri and travel to Willapa Bay, Washington with Emma and Christopher. You will be glad you did!!

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