Friday, October 7, 2016

Book Review: This Road We Traveled

This Road We Traveled. Jane Kirkpatrick. 2016. Revell. 340 pages. [Source: Review copy]

I really enjoyed reading Jane Kirkpatrick's This Road We Traveled. This historical novel takes readers along on the Oregon Trail in 1846, but the heroine may defy your expectations: she's a grandmother. I think you'll agree that most heroines are younger and at a completely different stage in their lives. But Tabitha Brown, the heroine, was an incredible woman. Yes, This Road We Traveled is based on true people, true events. Tabitha Brown has been named "the Mother of Oregon."

When our heroine was told she COULD NOT go with the family to Oregon because she would be a burden to the family, and probably just die before they arrived anyway, she was hurt and angry. Stay there, by herself, watch all of her children, all of her grandchildren, ride away never to return again? Live alone the rest of her life until she died? NOT HER. If her family didn't want her in their wagons, she'd hire one herself! She'd buy a wagon, all her own supplies, her own oxen, her own driver. SO THERE. She ended up going with her brother-in-law, John. (They also hired a young man to help).

The trip would not be easy, but, what is in life? Especially life in the 1840s? I think a close look at this extended family reveals that. Part of being a wife meant having a baby every year or every other year, no matter how tired, no matter how weary, no matter how weak. No matter how hard or impossible the previous delivery. You had babies until you died having a baby. (Then your husband would marry again and start the whole thing over again with a younger wife.) One of Tabitha's daughters really struggles with grief. She lost a child--probably under the age of two, maybe even one--and she can't really seem to "let him go" and "move on." (No one really understands her pain at leaving his grave behind.)

Anyway, the book is REALLY good. It is not a romance. So don't expect it to be your typical Christian romance. No, it's historical fiction. It is a multi-generational family story about three generations of a family heading west together and facing all sorts of challenges along the way.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

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