A Light in the Wilderness

A Light in the Wilderness

A Novel

Large Print - 2014
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"A dramatic story of a freed slave who has lost her husband and her freedom papers and must find a way to survive in the wilderness of the Oregon Territory"--
Publisher: Thorndike, Maine : Center Point Publishing, 2014.
Edition: Large print edition.
ISBN: 9781628992427
Characteristics: 423 pages (large print) ;,22 cm


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Feb 05, 2019

Confession: I skimmed the last two-thirds of this book, so there's probably nuance my review will miss. What I searched those two-thirds for, and what I really want to know, is whether the Eliza case is ever explained. I feel like "did the main character's husband rape a woman" is something that deserves more page time than we got. I would very much like to know the deal with that, or at least get an ambiguity that is given more weight and consideration within the text than occasional "that minx Eliza" references. I was also struck by Letitia's thought that Eliza might have falsely accused Davey. It's plausible she might think that- people contain multitudes!- but I would really like the story to drill down on why a black woman who has herself been raped by white men would give that serious consideration. That's gonna take a lot more character-specific detail to make sense, and it really jarred me out of the reading.
That was the first time in this book I thought, "maybe you shouldn't have written this," but I kept having that thought, with varying emphases on "you", "shouldn't", and "this". The concept of the book is fascinating. Unfortunately, there's this weird thing that happens where it ~contains~ wrenching emotional complexity driven by awful circumstances, but something about the pacing and style makes it feel fractured and flat. Overall it just made me want to go back and reread An Extraordinary Union, for 1800's interracial romance, and Komarr, for a bad husband who dies.
P.S. I said a lot of negative things about this book. Some of the descriptions of nature are very pretty.

Dec 29, 2016

2nd Oregon Trail book I've read by this author this month. This one is based on the life of Letitia Carson who was a freed slave who married and travelled the trail with an Irish immigrant. Good historical fiction of a strong woman who survived prejudice, tragedy and the hardships of pioneer life. Only 3 stars because although the author comes up with great story ideas, her writing style seems to keep me at a distance. I'm not pulled into the emotions and feelings of the characters. However, I still enjoy reading about these real people in history in a story that's more entertaining than a biography.

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