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Today I want to tell you about a book I just finished reading, supplied by the good people at Graf-Martin Communications and Baker Book House. I love that I get books in the mail every month. You can, too. Go check out Nuts About Books and you can join the party.

The Memory Weaver by Jane Kirkpatrick is spellbinding. I don’t often say that about a book but I honestly couldn’t put this one down until it was done. I even read the endnotes. For me the draw is that the plot line of this novel comes directly from real life experiences. There is plenty of history and the events that occur were taken from the diaries of the main character, her mother’s journals and historical record.

The Spalding family went West to bring The Book of Heaven to the Nez Perce Indians. Eliza Spalding was gifted in language and art and had a huge heart for ‘The People’. Her daughter, also named Eliza, was traumatized early on by a horrible massacre by the Cayuse Indians in 1847. The Memory Weaver is primarily her story of recovering and healing the memories she has of those events.

Eliza, both of them, were incredibly strong and resourceful women. I was mesmerized by the stories of surviving the massacre, driving a team of oxen up the west coast with two babies in tow, standing up to her father who was never quite the same after his wife died, and caring for her three younger siblings, all with a husband who was prone to gambling, drinking and dreaming.

The Western frontier was a hard place but Eliza Spalding conquered it with grace. The Memory Weaver shows that she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as she frequently ‘went away’ when memories of the massacre were triggered. She conquered this over time as well, learning how to ‘stay present’ with her children to keep them safe when her husband was away.

I also appreciated the story of the elder Eliza and her love for The People and how she brought the gospel to them. She and her husband enjoyed a fruitful ministry among them until they were dismissed by the Mission Board for teaching in the native language which they had learned. The converts were expected to come to Jesus in English! The story comes full circle when Mr. Spalding is finally, after a multitude of letters, allowed to go back among them in his later years.

If history and mission and the settling of the west and its conflicts interest you then get yourself a copy of The Memory Weaver. Jane Kirkpatrick spins her words in a compelling, forward moving way. You will certainly not be sorry for reading it.