My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Change and Cherish Trilogy based on the true story of Emma Wagner Giesy.
“A Clearing in the Wild”
When Emma’s outspoken ways and growing skepticism lead to a clash with the beloved leader of her 1850s Bethel, Missouri, colony, she finds new opportunities to purse her dream of independence. But as she clears a pathway West to her truest and deepest self, she discovers something she never expected, a yearning for the warm embrace of community.
In 1850 at Bethel Missouri, we meet Emma Wagner a young feisty 17-year old. Emma is in love and will stop a nothing to be married to Christian Giesy, a man nearly 20 years her senior. The leader of the Bethel religious colony is dead set against this marriage… but with Emma’s cunning ways and “reverse psychology”, she becomes Emma Giesy.
This marriage is not what Emma had hoped for as her new husband is off about country doing the business of the colony. Her hopes of being a wife and a mother are on hold for quite some time as her happiness takes second place to the needs of the colony.
Through additional manipulation and cunning, Emma again convinces the Bethel Colony leader to allow her to accompany a group of men headed west to find new lands for the colony. The dreams of a young bride are soon dashed by the hardships of the trip and her hidden pregnancy. The endless amount of work to eek out a living in the harsh wilderness is overwhelming.
As further members of the community make their way west to the new lands, harsh disappointment and criticism is visited on the small group by the Colony leader… thus separating the colony by distance, though not by leadership.
“ A Tendering in the Storm”
“Determined to raise her children on her own terms, Emma suddenly finds herself alone and pregnant with her third child, struggling to keep her family secure in the remote coastal forest of the Washington Territory. As clouds of despair close in, she must decide whether to continue in her own waning strength or to humble herself and accept help from the very people she once left behind.”
This book just broke my heart. Finally Emma and Christian seem to have found some semblance of happiness and the future is beginning to look brighter than it has for quite some time when suddenly and without warning, Christian is killed and Emma is left alone. Shortly after his death, Emma now finds herself pregnant with their third child. Her anger at Christian for a time consumes her and she refuses help from anyone including God. In time, Emma receives a proposal from Jack Giesy. For the sake of her children, she agrees to the marriage. This is a big mistake as Jack is abusive and controlling.
“A Mending at the Edge”
As a mother, daughter, sister, and estranged wife, Emma struggles to find her place inside- and outside – the confines of her religious community. Emma reaches out to other on the fringe, searching for healing and purpose. By blending her unique talents with service to others, she creates renewed hope as she weaves together the treads of family, friends, and faith.
Emma has escaped the controlling and abusive Jack Giesy and is back to the suppressive religious colony. She finds that there are more like her in the colony and she reaches out to them as she struggles to reconcile with the colony for her not so good choices and to find her way and place amongst them.
I do have to say that I was a bit overwhelmed when the book arrived. I was not expecting the sheer size of it – nearly 1200 pages. While I do like having the next book in a series there when I finish one, I have to say that the size of the book made it difficult to sit back, relax and read. It was not comfortable at all.
That being said, I truly did enjoy this book. At times, I wished it had moved a bit faster, but in retrospect, it was necessary due to the huge amount of information we are given about a real life character.
To learn more about the Author – Jane Kirkpatrick, visit her website at http://www.jkbooks.com/
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