Book Review : A Light in the Wilderness

Jane Kirkpatrick is the author of my latest read, A Light in the Wilderness.  I was a bit sad to say goodbye to Letticia and Nancy in this book and that is always a sign of great characters and a good book!  Letticia’s journey is based on a true story.

light in wilderness

I enjoyed A Light in the Wilderness, at times my heart was beating fast at the situation that Letticia faced, or breaking from the losses she experienced.  Ms. Kirkpatrick writes a story that you cannot help falling in love with.  The details that are enough to make you feel like you are there, but do not detract from the story going on around you.

Letticia is a freed slave trying to make a new life for herself amidst a very toxic culture.  She lives in Missouri where the lines are not really clear about slavery, where her freedom at times may cost her life.  The story is an amazing one of courage, bravery, and an amazing heart.  I immediately connected with Letticia, and felt as though I was on the journey with her.  I have honestly not really thought about the challenges that Letticia faced as a freed slave, I never considered how aggressive people may have been against someone like her.  This book will take you back into the time when slavery still existed before the Revolutionary war – when brothers held different views and treated people very different.

I enjoyed the historical perspective of traveling along the Oregon Trail, how the families depended on each other, but also how spouses were lost, children died, and families had to find a way to go on.  At times is was hard to read about what was going on, how people acted or about the losses they faced, but overall I really enjoyed this book!

I thoroughly enjoyed the other characters as well, Nancy was the one true and real friend to Letticia through thick and thin.  Betty is a Native American who she meets when she arrives in Oregon.  While both of these characters were not in the forefront of the entire story, their parts were vital to understanding the heart of Letticia, and I enjoyed reading all about them as well!


Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read–as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.

Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband and she knows she will follow him anywhere–even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip your heart and mind as you travel on the dusty and dangerous Oregon Trail into the boundless American West. Based on a true story.

Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader’s Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award and Carol Award for Historical Fiction. Many of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: