“She was powerless to change the law, but she could change how she defended against it, what stories she told herself, a slave of anger or a free woman,” Jane Kirkpatrick writes of Letitia in her novel, A Light in the Wilderness.
This three hundred and twenty page paperback targets those who enjoy a Christian historical fiction with romance in the Wild West during the mid-eighteen hundreds. With no profanity, topics of racism, torture, and death may not be apropos for immature readers. The beginning has a helpful list of characters and map while the ending includes the author’s note, interview, and biography along with acknowledgements and suggested readings. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
Based on a true story, twenty-six year old Letitia knows that being a freed black slave from the South has its problems, even when she moves to Missouri and tries to make it on her own. Arduously protecting papers proving she is not the property of someone else, she continues to get stares and is mistreated until she meets Davey Carson, an Irish cattleman who allows her food and shelter in exchange for helping out on his ranch.
When Carson decides to go out west to Oregon territory, not only does he ask Letitia to come with him, he secretly offers her the safety of marriage, strictly forbidden between whites and blacks in America at the time.
While the older man commits to her verbally, he will not agree to her asking him to put it in writing, which causes havoc between the couple throughout their travels across the vast wilderness.
The bi-racial Carsons befriend the Hawkins family, giving Letitia the support and comradery of another woman, even though she is white. As both families make the trip to Oregon, hardships, heartbreaks, and death solidify their friendship.
Finally arriving at their destination, Letitia feels peace and comfort, thinking her days of slavery and bigotry is over in the free state. Meeting a Kalapuya Indian grandmother and her grandson in the Willamette Valley, she further understands how hatred and cruelty remain rampant.
Although the first third of the book is based in Missouri, when the protagonist finds her paradise on earth, readers learn about oppressive laws against colored people as well as taking “fundamentals” and using kinnikinnick and camas.
Thanks to Revell for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the reader’s opinions.
Video link for this novel can be viewed at: http://youtu.be/8Ixka881BNY
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GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.