Jane Kirkpatrick, an author known for bringing history to life, has skillfully told the story of another strong woman, unknown to many, who helped pioneer our country. Eliza Spalding Warren was the first surviving white child born west of the Rocky Mountains. Her earliest memories were formed among the Nimíipuu, who were called Nez Perce by the white settlers, her parents being sent to Lapwai, Idaho by the Presbytery Mission Board at the request of the Nimíipuu.
Having formed only happy memories, things changed drastically for ten-year old Eliza. Spending time away from her family while being educated at another nearby mission, Eliza was taken hostage during an Indian massacre by those who were angry about the mission’s being built on sacred land and the mission doctor’s inability to save the natives from the pox. This became a defining moment in Eliza’s life, the memories of which encroached on her daily living for many years, well into her adulthood.
Kirkpatrick’s telling of Eliza Spalding Warren’s story helps the reader to realize that our memories often become tangled as they are being woven, tangled by misconceptions, tales of others’ memories, extreme emotions, and knots caused by the passage of time. Our own memories are woven into our lives, but it is up to us to decide whether or not they will define us as we continue to weave in new memories.
For fans of Kirkpatrick, The Memory Weaver won’t disappoint. For readers whom Kirkpatrick will be a new-to-you author, The Memory Weaver will have you reaching for another book by this author. May I recommend for you two of my favorites: A Light in the Wilderness and Mystic Sweet Communion (the book that led me to reach for another).