Title: Beneath the Bending Skies
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
“I was still a child who wanted her father’s blessings. And I wanted to never disgrace my mother’s memory by being disobedient,” Mollie tells herself in Jane Kirkpatrick’s novel, Beneath the Bending Skies.
~ What ~
Based on a women’s memoir and written in first person, this three-hundred-and-fifty-two-page paperback targets those interested in romantic historical fiction about living in Montana in the 1860s. With no profanity, topics of mistreatment, mental abuse, war, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning includes reviews, a list of the author’s written books, and a cast of characters while the ending has the author’s notes, acknowledgments, thirteen discussion questions, part of another novel by the writer, a biography, and advertisements.
In this true story set in Montana during the mid-1800s, sixteen-year-old Mollie Sheehan feels she is never enough as she strives to honor and obey her father’s every command, especially after her mother has passed away and he has remarried. When she falls in love with an older man, not only does her controlling and demanding Irish father forbid the courtship, but also he moves his family out to California. Over time and with God’s providence, the young woman learns what is important in life and how to obtain the desire of one’s heart.
~ Why ~
This is a tender, redeemable tale of an agile young woman who feels she consistently fails her controlling father, yet over time, she experiences the meaning of true love. I appreciate the persistence Mollie showed in obeying her father, even when he was often wrong in his decisions. From living among gold miners to adjusting to the San Diego culture to accepting the ways of working for a government agency on a remote Montana Indian frontier, she comes to grips with being true to God and herself. The author’s notes clearly explain what facts are gleaned from Mary Ronan’s memoir and what is fictitious in the novel.
~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like rewritten true stories may want to pass on this one, but its detail told with emotion and frustration is well done as one reads about tillers, land rights, and Indian superstitions. Some may not care for the Catholic references.
~ Wish ~
Having read several books by the author and finding them wordy at times, this was my favorite read so far, but I wish it spelled out the simple plan of eternal salvation. I also prefer all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.
~ Want ~
If you like historical fiction taken from a protagonist’s memoir that focuses on coming of age and growing up despite an overprotective father, this is an exceptional story that promotes feminine individuality and perseverance as one relies on God.
Thanks to Revell for furnishing this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.
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This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/3x5sr5R