The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick
Title: The Memory Weaver
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Eliza Spalding is the survivor of an Indian attack that took place in 1847. Her parents are missionaries to the Nez Perce Indians, bringing the gospel to them. Then tragedy strikes when another Indian tribe launches an attack. Many white people are killed, and Eliza and her family are forced by the missionary board to leave the Nez Perce. Eliza struggles with depression and flashbacks to the moments of the massacre. This trauma shapes her life. She performs certain things in a certain order and imagines the worst thing that can happen because she thinks that will ensure it won’t happen. She is also dealing with her mother’s death a couple of years ago, which placed her at the age of 13 as the woman of the house. She cooks, cleans and raises her three younger siblings. Her father also required her to travel with him as he distributed gospel tracts to other communities.
Her father leaves alone on a short trip and returns with a wife. This surprises everyone. His new wife knows nothing about living outside of a big city with no servants, so just when Eliza thinks she might get a reprieve from an abundance of work, her hopes are dashed. Furthermore, her parents had originally promised her a return to school in the East, but with her new step-mother’s inability to care for the family; this promise is gone as well. Her father plans on keeping Eliza at home until her youngest sister is married, which will be in another ten years. Eliza makes plans to avoid this, and realizes the consequences of her decisions.
This story was just okay for me. It started out slow and there isn’t a lot of action. It is a fictional tale based on a real person from the past. I can appreciate the research the author did and the writing flowed well throughout the story, but I just didn’t connect with Eliza. I’m not found of most stories told in the first person, so maybe that is why I didn’t make the connection with her. She did rely on her faith to see her through some difficult situations, which I found commendable. She also realized that she didn’t remember some things from her past the way they actually happened via her mother’s diaries.
My rating is 3 stars.
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