Monday, February 9, 2009
Book Review: A Mending at the Edge by Jane Kirkpatrick
A Mending at the Edge, the third of Jane Kirkpatrick’s Change and Cherish Historical Series, is the poignant story of a woman who turns grief to strength, self-denial to hope and obedience to spirituality.
Based on the life of German-American Emma Wagner Giesy, the novel weaves the lives of a utopian Christian communal society of the1850s led with the iron hand by its founder, Wilhelm Keil. As Aurora, the colony in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, struggles for survival, Emma struggles to find meaning in her life, a life marked with grief over the death of her beloved husband, espousal abuse from her second husband, separation from her sons and emotional distancing from her parents and siblings. As Emma strives to find a meaningful place in this strict society, she is often criticized that she is different, doing what she feels is best over the good of the community.
Slowly, Emma finds her way through serving others. Finally getting her own place to live for herself and her four children, Emma opens her home to others in need of nurturing and comfort. She begins to weave friendships with the women of the colony through a Sunday “house church,” a time for sewing and sharing. Although still occasionally accused of relying on herself rather than on God, Emma finds the path to her own salvation.
A Mending at the Edge is a remarkable novel tempered with true historical details, told with a heart for loyalty and trust in mankind. As in her other historical novels, Kirkpatrick weaves intricate characters with everyday happenings, made more powerful by the determination to find life’s meaning and contentment.