Lately, I’ve been wanting to get back into historical fiction. That’s almost all I read back in high school (I was a little bit obsessed with Philippa Gregory), but I haven’t read much in the last few years. Jane Kirpatrick’s The Memory Weaver caught my attention a few sentences into the synopsis, so I decided to give it a try.
The Memory Weaver is based of the true story of Eliza Spalding, who was taken hostage as a child by Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Coming from a family of missionaries, and one of the first white settlers in the Oregon territory, Eliza has grown up knowing nothing but the pioneer and the dangers it presents. Now, she’s a grown woman with two children of her own. And when her husband wants to leave everything they know for another territory, Eliza wonders how her mother coped with her life as a missionary. When she is finally given her mother’s diary, Eliza begins to peace together her mother’s memories with her own. As she forms a complete picture of her past, Eliza discovers that it’s not what she expected. But it might just be able to help her now.
The Memory Weaver is beautifully written. The story is interesting, and I love that it is based off a true story. As a history student, I actually read a few captivity diaries – journals kept by women taken by Native Americans, usually in early settlements or on the frontier – so it was fascinating to read a piece of fiction based off of that experience.
I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. I had two problems with it. First, having read actual captivity diaries, I had a hard time finding Eliza’s character believable – she doesn’t really seem very deeply affected by her experience. I could understand being more rational as an adult captive, but I think any child taken captive would have some sort of post-traumatic stress disorder. And Eliza seems perfectly fine in that respect. The other thing that kind of turned me off was that the book came off as preachy. I was hesitant going in, knowing this book is classified as Christian fiction, because I know that’s something I don’t normally like (I’m not against any religion or faith, I just feel that when a book is marketed as Christian fiction, it’s often very heavy-handed with religious references). I know this can be a sensitive subject, so I’ll just say this: I didn’t have a problem with the characters being spiritual or religious. I just personally don’t care for or identify with long speeches about faith and God. Just a personal preference.
That said, if you like Christian fiction and are looking for an interesting read, I would recommend giving The Memory Weaver a try. You can pick up a copy here.
This book was provided to me by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.