Book Review ~ Emma of Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick

Change & Cherish Trilogy
Jane Kirkpatrick
Historical Fiction

Back of the book:

The Change & Cherish Trilogy, based on the true story of Emma Wagner Giesy, is now available in one volume.

A Clearing in the Wild
When Emma's outspoken ways and growing skepticism lead to a clash with the beloved leader of her 1850s Bethel, Missouri, colony, she finds new opportunities to pursue her dreams of independence. But as she clears a pathway West to her truest and deepest self, she discovers something she never expected: a yearning for the warm embrace of community.

A Tendering in the Storm
Determined to raise her children on her own terms, Emma suddenly finds herself alone and pregnant with her third child, struggling to keep her family secure in the remote coastal forest of the Washington Territory. As clouds of despair close in, she must decide whether to continue in her own waning strength or to humble herself and accept help from the very people she once so eagerly left behind.

A Mending at the Edge
As a mother, daughter, sister, and estranged wife, Emma struggles to find her place inside--and outside--the confines of her religious community. Emma reaches out to others on the fringe, searching for healing and purpose. By blending her unique talents with service to others, she creates renewed hope as she weaves together the threads of family, friends, and faith.

My thoughts:

Does it drive you crazy when you have to wait for the next book to come out in a series you are reading? It surely does for me! Emma of Aurora is the answer to that frustration. This hefty tome combines the three stories of the Change & Cherish trilogy in one volume.

Jane Kirkpatrick continues her tradition of writing about real yet obscure historical figures. She has a talent for bringing the everyday struggles and triumphs of a bygone era to life in her storytelling. Emma Giesy and her story are compelling on many levels. 

I enjoyed reading about the colony that was set up in Bethel, Missouri and then relocated to Aurora Mills, Oregon. On the surface it seems like the ideal way to live. But upon closer inspection the flaws become glaring. Emma's strength also becomes her weakness. Her impulsiveness helped found the area in the Willapa Valley but it also lead to years of strife for her family.

Many of Emma's decisions wouldn't have been mine but I found it interesting to see the story unfold. There was definitely a price to be paid for the independence that she sought. The best and worst part of this series was the ending. It was satisfying to see everything come full circle yet unsatisfying because the story was over. It left me wanting to know the rest of the story. Ms. Kirkpatrick has supplied additional details in her notes at the back of the book but I would love just one more volume in this series. Of course I would probably want just one more after that too! In my opinion that is the mark of a great writer and a compelling story.

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