A Tendering in the Storm {book review}


Jane Kirkpatrick's A Tendering in the Storm

Jane Kirkpatrick’s A Tendering in the Storm

A Tendering in the Storm is the second in the Change and Cherish Historical Series by Jane Kirkpatrick.  The series is based on a true story of the Bethel-ites originating in Missouri in the 1850s, who sought to live apart from the world and its lures.

A quote from my review of the first book in the series,  A Clearing in the Wild.

Jane Kirkpatrick is a master at weaving historical facts and characters with fiction, while maintaining a strong foundation of faith.

I don’t know what happened from that book to the second, but I did not find a ‘strong foundation of faith’ in A Tendering in the Storm.

My GoodReads book review is below, followed by my candid remarks (not in the GoodReads review.)
A Tendering in the Storm (Change and Cherish Historical #2)A Tendering in the Storm by Jane Kirkpatrick

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Public library copy. I had looked forward to reading this second in the series, hoping that Emma would draw near to God in spite of her circumstances. I am tempted to not finish the book, it is so disheartening… but I will plow through it, realizing that it is the excellent writing which puts me so clearly in the pov character’s shoes. I will let my faith rise above Emma’s circumstances as I read 🙂

I wonder as I read if the author wrote the book from actual journals. I was tempted just to read the chapters from Emma’s point of view, as she is the main character. It irritated me (which is good writing?) when the chapters of Louisa’s journal were mixed in, as in my mind she was unlikely to write a journal given the nature of her husband. It seemed a little forced, but then, it may have been real. Truth is stranger than fiction. In this book I would have preferred more fiction, and less history. {According to the Q/A at the end of the book Louisa’s journal was fictitious.}

To the author’s credit, writing such strong emotion into characters of Swiss and German descent is commendable. Ah, I am not halfway through yet …

Having finished the book, and continuing to be disappointed in it, for its lack of focus on God. It is rare that I read a book and think how I would have written it differently. This story is that way. I wonder if people really enjoy reading about domestic violence? This part of the story was not based on historical fact. Being an abuse survivor it was difficult to read, especially without the grace of God to balance it.

I’m sorry to give a poor review to such a good writer, but this is my opinion. I was quite disappointed in the book. It had so many possibilities.

View all my reviews

Here are my unedited thoughts from my journal upon finishing the book:

The horrid tale is ended — do people really enjoy reading about abusers?  Horrible to relive all that again.  Based on real people of the same names, but the abusive husband was fictitious.  Such a distraction from the story.  If it had sparked her faith in God, it would have been good, or rather her personal relationship with God, which is nonexistent.

Jane Kirkpatrick is an extremely talented writer, but her stories do not glorify God.  That is my biased blatant opinion.  I don’t want to read her any more.  And here’s why.  She disappoints by not giving God His place in at least one character.  I would use the character of Karl Ruge, a Lutheran, to carry the faith line much more strongly into the entire book.

It was so sad to see her son Andy distance himself from Emma, his mother, near the end after all was resolved.  This relationship is left unresolved, which seems unnatural.  The children gave up the most in this story, especially Andy who gave up his father, his childhood, his home, and his mother (more than once).

In my opinion the author changed the focus of the story from that which was intended.  Changed by the character of Jack Giesy.  The story now is about his behavior and how it affected the children and the family relationships, rather than about Emma.  Domestic violence and its aftermath complicate the lives of those affected by it, and overwhelm whatever is in its path.

If and when domestic abuse victims trust wholly (or in part) in God’s love for them and their ensuing relationship with Him, the story then is about God.  When He is so blatantly left out of the story, it continues to be about abuse, with a small window of hope.

Most stories, true and fictional, are about great difficulties encountered by the characters within. As a reader I find it difficult to read stories in which there is little or no hope.  One of the best books I’ve read is a non-fiction account by Ron Suskind, of an underprivileged student in Washington, DC, the title of which is  A Hope in the Unseen.  What a great title!

It is with heavy heart that I post this review.  I’d love to have loved the book.  I hate being disappointed, yet if I am to hold to my convictions in my reading, I must be honest in my reviews.

Have you read this book?  What did you think of it?

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