The Memory Weaver: A Novel / by Jane Kirkpatrick. 4.27.2018

Revell ISBN 9780800722326

Adult Rating: 5

At the tender age of 13, Eliza Spalding Warren loses her mother, but the troubles that haunt and shape her life precede her mother’s death, tracing back to the time she was held hostage by the Cayuse Indians. Her memories of that traumatic experience often take her away from the present. They color her relationships with her father, her sisters, and her husband Andrew Warren. They are also the driving force behind her incessant need to control the lives of those closest to her. Though she is grown now, she longs for her mother’s wisdom and gentle presence to help her navigate the ups and downs of marriage and life.

When life events force her to go back to the place of her childhood trauma, Eliza discovers that memories are not always the most reliable accounts of the truth. When Eliza is given her mother’s diary, she further discovers that many of her preconceived notions are wrong. Will facing the past and the words of her mother help Eliza find freedom to truly live in the present, free from the fear and failures of the past?

In The Memory Weaver, Jane Kirkpatrick merges her love of history and the questions it leaves unanswered to bring to life the heart and soul of the pioneer woman. Her gift of storytelling paints vivid imagery that take one back to the untamed lands of yesterday, while her poignant words linger in the heart with lasting lessons of life, love, and truth. Eliza’s story is skillfully woven together with her mother’s through strategically placed diary entries that often show the parallels of the two women’s struggles, while also showing how a child’s perspective of a parent is not always accurate. The lesson that most stands out in Eliza’s journey is best summed up by the following: “every day is a day that starts a new life, that requires knitting and going back to pick up lost stitches” (p. 262). Ultimately, the past, present, and future are interwoven in the threads of life and sometimes one must go back to move forward, whole and free.

Justina McBride, CLJ