Sunday, September 27, 2015
Sunday Review: The Memory Weaver, By Jane Kirkpatrick
Now and then you come across an author who makes you look deeper into the lives of those between the coves of the books. Jane Kirkpatrick has done this now with all of the books I have read by her. It started with A Light In The Wilderness, spread to the novella A Saving Grace and now with The Memory Weaver. I could have simply read biographies on the strong women of who she writes, but I didn't know about them beforehand. I simply stumbled onto her books when I signed up to review them with Revell.
I live in the Inland Northwest and love the rich history of our region. Through reading I have mined a treasure trove of stories that are worth retelling future generations. I admire authors like Jane Kirkpatrick who keep these stories going. The Memory Weaver is an exceptional book about love, forgiveness and learning to move on from the most tragic situations.
Eliza Spalding Warren was the oldest daughter of Eliza Hart Spalding and Henry Harmon Spalding, early missionaries who came west with Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. Eliza is distinctive as the first white child born in the Northwest who survived. She is also distinctive for being a survivor of the Whitman Massacre of 1847. She had been sent to school there by her parents, who remained at their mission at Lapwai, on the Clearwater River in Idaho. Her story touches me still, several days after finishing the book.
The book toggles between Eliza's life after the tragedy at Waiilatpu and entries of her mother's diary. Her mother Eliza journaled their life at Lapwai among the generous, peace loving Nez Perce tribe. She also recounts the horrific aftermath of the massacre and the subsequent trial of the Cayuse where young Eliza is taken by her father to recount what she saw. The stories of the daughter interwoven with her mother's diary are compelling and bring both women alive once more as only a skilled author can tell.
"A novel allows one to speculate about the why and how one felt regarding an incident. Biography or nonfiction allows one to explore what and when but must hesitate about exploring people's feelings. Novels are meant to move people, to bring emotion to the surface and enable us to see our lives in new ways." - Jane Kirkpatrick as written in the author interview for The Memory Weaver. I have been moved by this book and enjoyed researching more about the Spaldings and their role in shaping the Oregon Territory. I hope to visit Brownsville and Aurora Oregon one day soon as well as the Nez Perce Museum at Spalding Idaho. Books are powerful and keep our minds sharp. The gift of a good book is incomparable. My recommendation is that you purchase two copies of this book, one to give and one to keep so that you will have someone to discuss this amazing story with.