Monday, August 6, 2007

A Tendering in the Storm

I am currently reading Jane Kirkpatrick's A Tendering in the Storm. The story is written from the perspectives of two main characters: Emma Giesy and Loisa Keil.

Originally part of the same close-knit religious community, these two German women have traveled across the rugged Oregon trail arriving in the Northwest in the mid 1850's. But their paths have taken them in different directions. [Read A Clearing in the Wild, book one in the Change and Cherish series, to find out what divides the flock.]

Louisa and her husband, leader of the community, continue on to settle in the Aurora Mills area, near present day Portland, Oregon. Louisa is struggling to put the death of her son into the context of her life. He lives on in her, and she now seeks to understand what sin she committed to warrant his death. Her very nature is absolute submission to her husband.

Emma Giesy, remains in Willapa--Washington territory--with her husband and small family. She desires the freedom to speak her mind, explore the wisdom she feels brimming inside and to live independently, at least a little, from the religious family that surrounds her. She dares to believe women are more than quiet servants to their men, and hopes that they may even be equal in the eyes of the Lord.

The novel is based on a true story; filled with historical detail and vivid true-to-life characters. The women come alive, as you walk alongside their exploration of fear, vulnerability and strength. Mrs. Kirkpatrick weaves the natural beauty and spirit of the Northwest into every chapter. Words and images (oystering, the ocean, the swaying lantern to name a few) are chosen with a deftness that conveys the import of the landscape on the lives of these women.

Emma Giesy explains about the inner strength of a woman: "It's something I've learned about myself since coming here. What we can do on the inside isn't always reflected by what's on the outside."

"Sounds like an oyster shell..." Her friend Mary replied.

As I continue to read, I expect that we will see more of what Emma, and Louisa for that matter, are really made of--on the inside.

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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