Review Copy: The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick

Disclaimer: The Memory Weaver, by Jane Kirkpatrick, was provided by Revell in exchange for an honest review.

Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now a mother of two, Eliza faces a new kind of dislocation her impulsive husband wants to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her mother’s grave—and returning to the land of her captivity. Haunted by memories and hounded by struggle, Eliza longs to know how her mother dealt with the trauma of their ordeal. As she searches the pages of her mother’s diary, Eliza is stunned to find that her own recollections tell only part of the story.

The Memory Weaver is based off of the true events of the Whitman massacre when a party of Cayuse and Umatilla murdered the missionaries Marcus and Narcissa Whitman and eleven others. Eliza Spalding Warren, the heroine of the novel, was a hostage of the Native Americans for a month and served as a translator at the tender age of ten. The author’s note at the end describes the tremendous amount of research Kirkpatrick put into the novel, and also shows her willingness to admit when she goes off the path of what history knows. Basically, The Memory Weaver is like a reimagining or an exploration of what Eliza Spalding Warren could have felt after surviving such a traumatic experience.

Kirkpatrick treats both sides of the matter evenly, showing and hinting at as many possible reasons for the massacre as possible, not placing the blame squarely on either the Cayuse or the missionaries but giving everything the same compassionate, open-ended look. I appreciated that Kirkpatrick tried to remain as objective as possible while dealing with such a complex, traumatic issue.

However, good showing of history and even-handedness aside, I did find The Memory Weaver a little boring. It was interesting in parts, but the format of it was not really my cup of tea. I’ve never gotten as into books that take place across years of someone’s life; I just prefer those that focus on a smaller period of time. So the broad coverage of twenty or so years of Eliza Warren’s life did not appeal to me as much, and thus I found the book a little tedious and boring.

I also thought that The Memory Weaver wasn’t incredibly substantial or memorable. I finished the book with a “So what?” on my lips, and maybe not everybody had that same question or maybe I’m missing something, but I felt that the book lacks a deeper meaning, something to really make it resonate. As it stands, it’s a good imagining of an historical event—but that’s all it is.

My rating: 3/5

Warnings: None.

Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian

You can buy this here: The Memory Weaver

One thought on “Review Copy: The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick

  1. Pingback: The Road We Traveled by Jane Kirkpatrick | Leaf's Reviews

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