Eliza Spaulding Warren was raised by her missionary parents in the Nimipuu (Nez Perce) village in the far west in the 1840s. A massacre by Cayuse Indians leaves young Eliza reeling, and her mother's death about two years later leaves her with many confused feelings about her past. This novel tells of one young woman's journey dealing with a traumatic childhood event and the repercussions it has on her entire life. Kirkpatrick is a skilled author who brings history to life with complex characters. I loved how complex all of the characters were, from Eliza herself, to both of her parents, and her husband. Although this story is based on real-life characters, I was not familiar with them, or the horrible incident that changed Eliza's life forever. The author did a wonderful job bringing the history to life in a way that was both realistic and heartfelt. This book really deals with not just trauma, but family relationships, as Eliza stumbles through her interactions with her father, stepmother, husband, and sisters. The friendship between Eliza and Nancy is especially welcome, as two survivors who cope in different ways, and the close bond a shared history gives them.
I recommend this book for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. As someone who loves the details, I was especially gratified that the author had a note at the end explaining what was fact and how she fictionalized a real account. Her attention to detail and compassion for the characters were evident throughout the story.
I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of a review, but all opinions are my own.