Monday, August 06, 2007

Barter in Blogland


A Tendering in the Storm,
by Jane Kirkpatrick, 2007, 383 pages.
WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House Inc.,
ISBN: 978-1-57856-735-5.

I have been invited to take part in a blog tour for Kirkpatrick's historical novel A Tendering in the Storm - the second in the "Change and Cherish Historical Series."

Clear evidence that the publicity department for that particular imprint is hardly stuck in horse and buggy mode.

The novel continues the first person chronicle of one Emma Giesy, a German-American member of a religious commune that pioneered in Washington Territory in the years surrounding 1856.

Emma is an "uppity woman" - independent, stubborn, determined, self-willed - and very like the cult leader she rebels against.

A Tendering is primarily a story of a spiritual journey within a minority Christian context . An exploration and a negotiation of the conflicts that ensue - both insidious and direct - between any true individual and any society .

A story skillfully rich in the complexity of choices, of consequences, of emotions, and a recognition that there are never easy, simple answers to simple truths or simple and sincere desires.

Yet it is an easy read in Kirkpatrick's clean style - one without cliche and without conceit, as individual as Emma herself.

And Emma is not imaginary. Her story and her interaction with members of the Aurora/Bethel Colonies are the result of considerable and careful research and based on real people and events.

A review of Kirkpatrick's credits (some eleven novels and a pair of non-fiction works): A Tender Ties historical series, Kinship and Courage trilogy, for example, implies her focus is toward the Christian book club and study group market. Indeed, this novel contains "Discussion Questions" as an addendum and I note that Kirkpatrick is a licensed clinical social worker and retreat leader.

However, while the religious context of the novel is Christian, it is not thus limited. Her competent examination and exploration of spiritual challenges and frustrations may apply to any ethical quest, inquiry or interest.

Kirkpatrick's second focus is the Northwest and the Oregon trail. She won the Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center for A Sweetness to the Soul - the outstanding Western Novel of 1995.

Nevertheless, the title from her backlist that intrigues me most is from an anthology: Crazy Woman Creek.
For those with a historical interest - whether regional, utopian or feminine - Kirkpatrick's A Tendering in the Storm is a good bargain and a fair deal.

8 comments:

raine said...

I'd say they picked the right person, Bernita.
You certainly make this sound intriguing.

Bernita said...

Thank you, Raine.
I found this review difficult because the themes are not to my personal taste, but the story is well-executed.

writtenwyrdd said...

Yes, you almost tempt me to try it. I've bought several books you mention and haven't regretted it. But christian themes gag me and this one I'll have to pass on. Probably my loss, but there ya go.

Gabriele C. said...

I'm with Wyrdd.

It's sounds like the sort of book my grandmother would have liked if she were still alive.

We did not have the same taste in books. ;)

Bernita said...

Would have gagged me too, Written, if they had been overt and not historically related. I don't care to be preached at.

Well put, Gabriele!

Rick said...

They came to the right place, because they face a tremendously tough challenge - as upthread comments show. Enough people have had enough bad experience with proselytizing that they run the other direction from anything billed as "Christian."

Jaye Wells said...

I always love stories about uppity women. I don't mind the Christian themes as long as, like you said, the story is well-executed.

Bernita said...

It's not a conversion story, Rick. It's a story of conflicts: between an individual independence and communal dictate, set in the framework of an immigrant sect of the Christian variety.

Found it very interesting from a writer's pov, Jaye, analyzing how the author woves the various conflicts and supporting images.