Monday, February 10, 2014

Emma of Aurora by Jane Kirkpatrick


The Change and Cherish trilogy, based on the true story of Emma Wagner Giesy:

A Clearing in the Wild
When Emma’s outspoken ways and growing skepticism lead to a clash with the 1850s Bethel, Missouri colony’s beloved leader, 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 Review

Excellent wouldn‘t begin to tell the tale. But Jane Kirkpatrick did it with the Change and Cherish Trilogy (read chapter one free). I wasn’t really sure what to expect from it. I had never heard of Emma Wagner Giesy or the Bethel community. But every time I picked up the book I found myself reading more and more without even realizing it. That is how good it was.

In the first book, A Clearing in the Wild, you got to know the people and the community. Brother Keil was definitely an interesting one. I fought many times the urge to smack him in hopes it would clear his head and get him to see some of the things he was saying were wrong and manipulative! But Emma used that to her advantage, which I knew she would later regret going behind her husband’s back. Christian was a fine character indeed. Somehow he understood Emma better than the others. Though he did get frustrated with her a time or two; you really see how much he loved her more. I was sad when brother Keil came and made Christian out to be a failure on their mission for the new colony. But I was glad Emma was able to show that Keil was wrong and that they had listened to God and done their best.

In A Tendering in the Storm, I was shocked to tears. I had really hoped to see more of Christian, his death caught me by surprise. I was so sad. I hurt for Emma and her expected third child. I liked that we got to read from Keil’s wife’s point of view. It really opened your eyes to her gentle spirit, which in the first book it didn’t seem she really had. She truly loved her husband even though she didn’t agree with everything he said or did.
Later, I wanted to shout to the mountain tops and back to her though. Some things you can’t control but that’s when you ask for help, especially from the Almighty. I kept praying (though I knew it was fiction) that things would change for the better for her, but they didn’t. In fact, it got worse. A lot worse. Sometimes it takes falling all the way to the bottom before we look up to see the light. Thank heavens she did in time. My heart was racing in the last chapters and sighed with relief by the end.

Lastly, A Mending at the Edge was a beautiful and fantastic ending. Emma begins to learn from her mistakes and lets God grow in her. She continues to be unique in the colony but in a way that glorifies God and helps many others who had been wounded and scarred or still made mistakes as she did. They end up learning from her and growing as well. I wished she could have married Karl Ruge. He was one of my favorites throughout the series.
Brother Keil softens a lot through this one and they both begin to respect the other, which I was glad. I liked the things Emma learned because I learned from them too. Like (pg 1102) how our talents are from God and that by thinking less of them or even that no one wants them is demeaning to the one who gave them to me. I hadn’t really thought of that before. It was like God was saying that directly to me.

I really enjoyed reading this book, even after the end where Jane Kirkpatrick comes in and tells you about the real characters and what parts were fiction and what parts were facts, historically. Jane Kirkpatrick outdid on this series. She is an amazing author who I will be undoubtedly reading from again. This is the second time I’ve been surprised by a book that I knew nothing about or hadn't heard of before (the first was Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte) and it is now one of my all time favorite’s as well as the author.

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group provided this book to me for free in exchange for my honest and unbiased review as part of their Blogging for Books program. 

Please rate my review and feel free to leave a comment :)

1 comment:

  1. Very good review. It seems an amazing book, I think I'll read it.