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ABOUT BOOK: Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause white folks to treat her like a human being, but at least they show she is free. She trusts in those words she cannot read--as she is beginning to trust in Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant cattleman who wants her to come west with him.
Nancy Hawkins is loathe to leave her settled life for the treacherous journey by wagon train, but she is so deeply in love with her husband that she knows she will follow him anywhere--even when the trek exacts a terrible cost.

Betsy is a Kalapuya Indian, the last remnant of a once proud tribe in the Willamette Valley in Oregon territory. She spends her time trying to impart the wisdom and ways of her people to her grandson. But she will soon have another person to care for.

ABOUT AUTHOR: Jane Kirkpartick; As season turns to season, suspicion turns to friendship, and fear turns to courage, three spirited women will discover what it means to be truly free in a land that makes promises it cannot fulfill. This multilayered story from bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick will grip readers' hearts and minds as they travel with Letitia on the dusty and dangerous Oregon trail into the boundless American West.


If you'd like more information about me, please come visit my website at and click on my blog. My dog also has a blog and you can find out what it's like to be Bodacious Bo, too. A monthly newsletter called Story Sparks is my way of sharing books about authors I enjoy as well as commenting on life and love. You'll find out more about me than you probably ever wanted to know!


One item not listed on my lists of books is my selection included in an anthology called "Crazy Woman Creek: Women Rewrite the American West" published by Houghton Mifflin I also have a piece in Storytellers II, a book published a few years ago by Multnomah Press and a few short selections in Daily Guideposts of a few years back. My first novella, "The Courting Quilt" is part of a collection that made the New York Times bestsellers September 2011 in a collection called Log Cabin Christmas. The rest of my writing, as they say, is history. Or it was until my first contemporary came out this fall. Called Barcelona Calling, it's the story of a writer who loses her way as she seeks fulfillment thinking she'll find it with fame. It's a laugh out loud book according to reviewers. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Jeanie Dannheim Kimberly S
Bethany Marks Karen Ketcham
Rachel Kasperson Diana Montgomery
Beverly Terry Rachel Leightman
Rachael Merritt Heather Bireley
Robin Willson Charity L
Joan Arning Debra Lindquist
Sherree Walker Britney Adams
Vicki Jones Jackie McNutt
Johnette Ferguson Katheryn Haddad
Amy C Anne Rightler
Tina Rice Tammi Cramer
Donna McGinnis Karen Dean
Tamara Wilkins Victoria Pless
Nancee Marchinowski DiAnne Cummings

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Thanks, Jane, Revell, & Fred - already read this novel & here is my review:

“She was powerless to change the law, but she could change how she defended against it, what stories she told herself, a slave of anger or a free woman,” Jane Kirkpatrick writes of Letitia in her novel, A Light in the Wilderness.

Complete review:

This review will be posted on Revell, DeeperShopping, and Amazon with links on, Godinterest, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Have you read any of Jane Kirkpatrick's books? If not, it's a must! Based on historical facts, this book takes place in the early 1800's and involves a wagon train from Missouri to Oregon, where they settle. Letitia is a woman of color who has been freed. But that doesn't mean her life is easy - no, not at all.  She connects with Davey Carson, an Irish immigrant who has been kind to her.  They secretly get married, even though it is forbidden, and travel together to a new life.

Being free doesn't make Letitia equal. Being a woman doesn't either.  As the author says, safety is a state of mind, a matter of faith. Typical of Jane's books, this story is about a woman who is strong and courageous, living and surviving with God's love, sharing that light with others around her. Oregon's laws are off again, on again regarding slavery,  citizenship and basic rights for people of color.  Few people accept Letitia, but the few that do are tightly bound with her.  Constant uncertainty, difficult and trying situations face Letitia all through the story, but she continues to grow and improve others lives as well.  With and without a man's help. This story enriches our lives with lessons as valuable now as they were back then.

I was given this book in return for my honest review.

Wow! I have seldom read a novel that moved me as much as this one did. It was a truly gripping story, told with beautiful prose and compelling characters. If you like well-crafted historical fiction, you will love this book!! I feel like I learned a bit more about history, but also about how to look at life and handle injustices and trials. I thought I knew quite a lot about our country's history with slavery, yet this book brought to light even more horrific deep-rooted prejudice and injustice perpetrated on every African-American, not just slaves, at the time.

The main character, Letitia, faced so many things as a freed slave, and I found myself so angry and frustrated at all the things she had to deal with.  Yet she faced them all with dignity, and the way she processed things and the choices she made really challenged me in my own life and the way I think about things. Even when others tried to make her feel like she was still a slave, she refused to be a slave to her anger and resentment. This blew my mind, as my natural response, even to her story, is to stew in the injustice of it all. But she chose what story to tell herself, what memories to hold on to, how to look back at her life - and she chose to tell a story of generosity, of forgiveness, of facing fear and overcoming it. I want to use this mindset every time I am faced with something upsetting - I can choose what kind of person I am by what story I tell myself. Wow. I also loved how she had to choose when to stand up and stand out and when to blend in. I struggle with this often, as I sometimes want to fight every battle there is, and other times want to throw my hands up and say that I'll never change anything. But in small ways, she chose to heal a wounded world, and she saw justice done. She knew when to stay and fight, and how to move on, all at the same time.

 Now, for the most amazing, mind-blowing part of the book - it was all a true story!!  I did not realize that going into it, and when I got to the end and read all the historical facts, I was completely in awe. The author did an excellent job taking a incredible historical account and turning it into such an accessible, moving story.  I look forward to reading many more by her!

Thanks to for the opportunity to read this wonderful book in return for my honest review, which I've given!

Posted on Amazon, Books a Million, Barnes & Noble, Deeper Shopping, Good Reads, and Christian Book.

Well, Jane Kirkpatrick has done it again.  She has taken me to another time, another place, and introduced me to new friends in her latest novel, 'A Light in the Wilderness'.  I felt like I was really taking the journey with the characters on the Oregon Trail, experiencing their trials and sharing their joy.  The characters are believable and real.  I cried, got frustrated, and smiled right along with them.  I also enjoyed learning more about what the actual journey to Oregon entailed for the travelers.  If you want to experience what life was like for those on the Oregon Trail, you will love Jane's book.  I'm glad this is a part of my library now!   I also posted reviews on goodreads,, deeper shopping and amazon.

What an incredible book based on a true story. The story and characters were absolutely captivating.  A Light in the Wilderness follows the perspective of three different women during the 1800s. The first is a former slave, Leticia, granted her freedom by her owner prior to his death. Her story is not easy, but her heart is kind and loving. The second is Nancy Hawkins, the wife of a doctor, Zachary Hawkins. Nancy is a wonderful mother, loving wife, and loyal friend. The final woman is Betsy (her English name), a Kalapuya woman in Oregon country. Betsy is doing her best to train her grandson, Little Shoot, in the ways of their people.

If you enjoy historical fiction, especially on the Oregon Trail, you will love this book. The author, Jane Kirkpatrick, does an excellent job of bringing all the characters to life.  I’m giving the book 5 stars because it is so absolutely captivating and it tells an inspiring story of real friendship, courage, and love.

I left this review at Amazon, Deeper Shopping,, Barnes and Nobel, and Goodreads.  I'm very grateful for the opportunity to read such a wonderful book.

An African American woman, Letitia, has come to Missouri in 1844 with a family going to Oregon with a wagon train.  Although Letitia was freed by her former owner, the family treats her like a slave.  Letitia owns a cow, Charity, which she bought with her own money.  When Letitia decides to not travel with the family, they refuse to let her have her cow.


An Irish immigrant, Davey Carson,  does not like to see people mistreated or in bondage and comes to Letitia’s rescue.


This book is based on a true story of Letitia and Davey Carson’s trek to Oregon and their life there.  It gives you a glimpse of life through the eyes of a lone African American woman on a wagon train and her fear of losing her freedom.


I recommend reading this interesting book.


I received this book from in return for my honest opinion


I posted reviews on Goodreads, Amazon, B&N, CBD and Deeper Shopping.

Thanks for the book!  I enjoyed it.

I enjoy historical fiction and this was not a disappointment.  I loved how the author truly captured the spirit of this wonderful woman (Letitia Carson).  What an incredible story of perseverance, faith and love during an incredibly hard journey in her life; she was quite an example of what women of color had to endure.  I also liked the way the author wove the friendship of the Kalapuya Indian with Letitia into the story.  This is a five star book and I am looking forward to reading more novels from Jane Kirkpatrick.

I received this book from in exchange for my honest review.

This review was posted Barnes & Noble, Goodreads, CBD, Amazon and Novel Crossing

A Light in the Wilderness had some great history in it. It makes one realize that freedom for the slaves was long in coming...even after they were "declared" free, they still weren't actually free. People still sought to send them back into slavery, treated them horribly, killed them with just one accusation, and treated them as second rate citizens.

I truly fell in love with Letitia! She always seemed to make the best of her situation, no matter what it was. I loved that she found a friend in Nancy as well. Letitia's character seemed so real. She was easy to love and I felt a great connection with her.

Davey I found elusive. There were many things about him that I didn't understand. He seemed so easily to leave for periods of time, and not to give spoilers...there was just so much about his character that remained a mystery.

The history and the fact this was based on a true story makes it easy for me to recommend this read. It really opened my eyes to what it must have been like to be " free" yet not exactly free. She was free in Christ, though. The story is very well written, and I enjoyed it. I give it three and a half stars, and I really do recommend this read. There is much to learn here. Links to follow. Under my name. Most under RachsRamblings
Great history and true facts woven in a beautiful tale. Oct 14, 2014

When Letitia receives her freedom papers, she is not sure what “freedom” really means.  She comes to find out that it means the ability to make one’s own choices and bear the consequences, good or bad, for those choices.  She comes to find out it may also mean standing up for yourself.  Whatever “freedom” means, Letitia values it highly and vows to keep her freedom papers with her always. 

Letitia makes a choice not to go to Oregon with her former owners.  Instead, she chooses to stay in Missouri, a slave state.  The problem is that she has no place to stay or keep her cow.  She also has no place to work.  Davey Carson offers her a place to live and eventually he offers her his heart.  Since it is illegal for a black and white to marry, what does she choose?  How does she make it when she eventually heads west on the Oregon Trail to a new life in Oregon?  She would never have survived without the friends who come into her life.

This is an exceptional book, based on the true story of Letitia Carson and those who came in contact with her.  The author has done extensive research on her little known story.  She becomes one of the first free black women to arrive in Oregon.  She will bring two lawsuits against a white man in defense of her freedom.  I was so surprised to learn of the exemption laws in Oregon and the prejudice inflicted in a supposed “free” state.  The author’s depiction of the lives of women on the trail to Oregon – the dangers and heartaches as well as joys – is especially thorough.  This was a wonderful book, delightful as well as informative.

I received this book from The Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.

This was posted on Amazon, Deeper Shopping, Barnes and Noble, and CBD.


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