Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick | Historical Fiction Review

Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

Historical Fiction

There is more than one way to tell a story . . . 

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir sharing some of the most exciting events of twenty-five years of shaping the American West with her husband, railroad promoter and writer Robert Strahorn. Nearly ten years later, she's finally ready to reveal the secrets she hadn't told anyone--even herself.

Certain that her writings will be found only after her death, Carrie confronts the pain and disappointment of the pioneering life with startling honesty. She explores the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man. She reaches for the courage to accept her own worth. Most of all she wonders, Can she ever feel truly at home in this rootless life?

New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living--the laughter and pain, the love and loss--to give us a window not only into the past but into our own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.

Read an excerpt.

My Thoughts

Jane Kirkpatrick has once again found a little known female pioneer and brought her story to us. We've come to expect interesting stories about women that in their own unique ways helped to shape our nation. In Everything She Didn't Say, Ms. Kirkpatrick uses Carrie Strahorn's actual account as the building blocks of the novel then fills in the nuances from her own imagination and historical facts. The result is a fasinating story of one ordinary woman doing extraordinary things.

Carrie Strahorn isn't someone that you would be familiar with unless you happen to be from one of the towns that she helped establish. She grew up in a Chicago suburb as the daughter of a prominent physician. She lived a privileged life that led to her meeting Robert Strahorn. She fell in love and they soon married.

Like most women of that time Carrie imagined settling down and raising a family. She quickly learned that settling down with Robert was not in the cards. Robert was an aspiring railroad promoter and writer. That meant travel, lots of travel. Again the story is fascinating yet heartbreaking at the same time.

Carrie's story is a wonderful example of what dying to self means. Time after time she had to make the decision to put aside her wishes and dreams because of a covenant she made. As a wife and mother I can relate. It's a daily struggle to put aside personal ambitions in order to fulfill someone else's dreams.

The following quote is my favorite from the novel. I think it captures the essence of the story.

"What I hadn't realized then--and that Caldwell helped teach me--is that it's how we respond to the broken tracks that matters, because there will always be brokenness. It's what we do with the punches we take, the heart-stopping moments, those are the knives that carve out who we are. I came to believe that people born with silver spoons in their mouths never get the real nourishment they need to grow to their full height unless the spoon tarnishes or the food drops off now and then and they have to find a way to pick it up themselves. They're really deprived, which may be why we call them "spoiled," like meat left out in the son."

I highly recommend this book to all women. Carrie leads a different life than most of us, but her experiences are riddled with lessons for each of us.

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Jane Kirkpatrick

Disclosure statement:
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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