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9.14.2014

A Light in the Wilderness ~ Review

A Light in the Wilderness
By Jane Kirkpatrick

This is an interesting book and the harshness of life to women of color is portrayed in the life of Letitia Carson.  This is a factually based novel drawing upon the life experiences of Letitia as she works to make a life for herself in the waning years of slavery - years in which she was granted freedom.

But Letitia's freedom was not an easy one.  She had to have papers proving her freedom, though these could be called into question on the merest whim of slave patrollers.

Her possessions could be seized and she had no recourse in the matter.  But when she marries Davey Carson, a white man (though it is not recognized legally), her life is about to change.

Together Davey and Letitia travel to the Oregon Territory where they carve out a life for themselves.  Life is hard but it is better.  Friendships are slowly formed that cross racial barriers and prejudices.  And when Letitia's freedom is once again threatened she draws on the strength of these new friends to help her fight for her rights and those of others who were to come after her.

I wasn't exactly sure what to expect in A Light in the Wilderness, but the synopsis intrigued me.  This is an enlightening look at the struggles that formed our country.  The strength of character of those who fought for their rights can be seen in this book.  I highly recommend this book to those who have an interest in Oregon history and the fight for the rights of both women and persons of color.  Letitia is a woman to be admired - a woman who fought for her rights within the boundaries of the law.  This would be an excellent choice for a book club selection or a high school book report.

I was provided a copy of this book by Revell in exchange for my honest review. 

About the book:
Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband and she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip your heart and mind as you travel on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West. Based on a true story.