REVIEW: A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick


Letitia Carson, a free black woman who is married to a white man, struggles to hold onto her freedom every day. Davey, her husband (though not recognized by law as her husband) is an immigrant from Ireland who desires to better his life. Jane Kirkpatrick has mastery of her characters. She pulls real people out of history and brings them to life with all of their hardships and victories. Letitia has free papers but she is still in danger in both Missouri and Oregon. Though married and protected by Davey, her life could be turned upside down in the event of his demise and she reminds him of that every season. What turmoil there was, even on the West Coast, in determining who was free and who was slave. Entering that picture we also have Betsy, a Kalapuya Indian along with Nancy, a widow with several young children. All are trying to survive in 1800s America in the age of expansion. The book provides history and a look into what it very well may have been like for black women, widowed women, and Indian women in the Oregon territory. They took their “lights” to the wilderness of Oregon and they persevered.
Thank you to Revell for providing me an advance copy for a review in my own words.

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