Book Title: The Memory Weaver
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Amazon Link: Click here
Star Rating: – Good book. I liked it.
Disclaimer: I received this free book from NetGalley in exchange for an un-biased review.
“Now, however, these three remain: faith, hope, love; but the greatest of these is love” – 1 Cor 13:13
This scripture is a fitting motto for this book, and the primary character. This is historical fiction based on the life of Eliza Spaulding Warren and the tribulations she endured when she was just a 10 year old girl. A daughter of missionaries, she was caught up in the massacre of a pioneer missionary group by the Cayause Indian tribe in what would become the state of Washington. She was a brave child, and acted as an interpreter during the long negotiations for return of the survivors. This book is written from the point of view of Eliza a few years later, growing up and starting her own family but still suffering post traumatic stress from the incident. She has lost her mother to cancer and is now struggling to make sense of her life. While reading her mother’s diary, she eventually takes steps to heal her heart and find a measure of peace.
Thankfully, the book does not dwell too long on the politics leading to the situation. This is only right since the focus of the novel is on this little girl’s experience and she would have had little to do or say about what actually lead to the disaster. It does, however, touch on the issues of the day that motivated both sides of the conflict, without pointing a finger of judgment at either. It is a complicated issue. As a Native American I wasn’t sure how I would feel reading a book about the ‘savage’ in early American history running amok and causing all manner of devastation, yet again. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The writer does a good job of showing both sides. She doesn’t excuse the brutality but does briefly explain what lead to the conflagration. She also describes another neighboring tribe who had a hand in helping Eliza to finally heal. No one side is wrong and the other right. They are simply human for good or for ill.
I enjoyed the book. It is listed as Christian Fiction. Eliza’s faith was very important to her, so there are numerous references to it and to worship, but they were all appropriate and I believe it the book can be read by any person of any faith without offense. I also really enjoyed, well not really but you know what I mean, the portrayal of Post Traumatic Syndrome that Eliza and her friend Nancy suffered from. I felt that it was well conceived and true to life. The small ways Eliza desperately tried to retain some small semblance of control over a life she felt was rapidly unraveling were touching. She was touching. I enjoyed this book. It is a quiet read and introspective. I recommend it.
Bonus link: Here’s a link to the Washington State Library article about Mrs. Warren and more info about the Whitman Tragedy – Washington State Library Blog.
Song for this book: Gold Rush Brides – 10,000 Maniacs – As perfect a song for this book if there ever was one!