Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now the young mother of two children, Eliza faces a different kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants them to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her departed mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity. Eliza longs to know how her mother, an early missionary to the Nez Perce Indians, dealt with the challenges of life with a sometimes difficult husband and with her daughter's captivity.
When Eliza is finally given her mother's diary, she is stunned to find that her own memories are not necessarily the whole story of what happened. Can she lay the dark past to rest and move on? Or will her childhood memories always hold her hostage?
This author's prose dances along the page and transports the reader to Oregon Territory, pre-Civil War, where a coming-of-age Eliza Spalding is running her father's household and caring for her younger siblings in absence of their mother. She catches the eye of Andrew Warren, a young man working to build his own cattle spread. Tired of her smothering lifestyle, Eliza sneaks away with Andrew and elopes. But the marriage ahead is not exactly what Eliza had envisioned.
I enjoyed seeing the budding romance blossom and fight for survival during times of hardship. This is real, and Eliza fought valiantly. I did find some parts of the mother's journal confusing and hard to follow, but the Cast of Characters and the Oregon map at the beginning were very helpful, as I don't often read historical fiction.
I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction that's real and gritty. I give this book 3.5 stars!
Jane is inter-nationally recognized for her lively presentations and well-researched stories that encourage and inspire. Her works have appeared in more than 50 publications including Decision, Private Pilot and Daily Guideposts. Jane is the author of over 25 books including historical novels. Many of her titles are based on the lives of real people or incidents set authentically in the American West. Her first novel, A Sweetness to the Soul, won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy, Spur, Oregon Book Award, WILLA Literary Award and Reader’s Choice awards. Several of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. For more about Jane, visit her website at www.jkbooks.com.