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A Light in the Wilderness

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4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,258 ratings  ·  295 reviews
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
...more
Paperback, 314 pages
Published September 2nd 2014 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published August 26th 2014)
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Georgia Herod Kirkpatrick's novels are for general readership. As I think about the question, I think teens could read this with understanding and insight.…moreKirkpatrick's novels are for general readership. As I think about the question, I think teens could read this with understanding and insight. Kirkpatrick handles conflict and moral issues with sensitivity. She is not gratuitous or graphic, though she does not skirt real life. (less)

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Average rating 4.05  · 
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Christy
Feb 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical
I new well enough when I started Letitia's story it would be sad........I was right; but the journey was well worth it. These three women named Letitia, Nancy and Betsy completely define courage and most of all hope in the most trying of times. This read personifies friendship, love and fortitude. A most memorable read.
Shari Larsen
This novel is based on the life of a real woman, Letitia Carson, a freed black woman, who traveled the Oregon Trail during the 1840's along with her Irishman husband, Davey, to settle into Oregon Territory to make new lives for themselves and raise a family.


Letitia holds the dear the papers that prove that she is no longer a slave, even though she cannot read them. She agrees to go west with Davey, hoping that she will finally feel safe and will no longer have to prove herself to anyone, and be
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Tara Chevrestt
It's pre-Civil War. There's nothing more treasured to a Negro than "free papers". Unless they get in the wrong hands or a "hunter" tears them up. Letitia has these papers. She plans to take these papers all the way to Oregon with her white husband. Yep. You read correctly.

But sadly, it wasn't legal back then for mixed marriages. All they can do is promise each other to take care of each other, keep each other safe. I guess you could call this a love story, though I couldn't stand the man and
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Jo Ann
I have rather mixed feelings about Kirkpatrick's novel. On the one hand I enjoyed the historicalness of it. Following the settlers journey from Missouri to Oregon, I couldn't even imagine making a trip like that under such primitive conditions. Learning about how slavery was trying to come to an end and how the word freedom still had little meaning for people of color in 1800's. American History is abundantly filled with a shameful past sadly to say.

On the other hand I thought the story felt
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Nancee
Sep 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Nancee by: quiltcat26@sbcglobal.net
The story of Letitia Carson is a fictional characterization of a freed slave whose story is beautifully told in rich detail. Her life story is heartrending, but her strength and faith kept her moving forward through hard times and overwhelming obstacles. Her common law husband, Davey Carson, was supportive and yet not available to her in times of need. Belittled and harassed by those she traveled with from Missouri to Oregon, Letitia kept to herself and her common law husband.

During their
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Dana Kamstra
Some of the best historical fiction books are those based on true stories. The author's note at the end of this amazing and astonishing story impressed me. Jane Kirkpatrick surely knows how to tell a story and stick with the facts!

Letitia Carson is clearly the main character in this novel. Her story is wrought with struggles and the unknown. To be a black woman on the Oregon Trail would have been tough enough, but to be married to a white man surely made it even more difficult. Loneliness was a
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Trudy
Jan 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars. So, I picked up this book simply because I liked the cover. I had no idea I was in store for a lesson in history. The main character is an freed slave woman named Letitia Carson, who married an Irish immigrant and traveled the Oregon Trail in 1844.
The first 25% or so of the book seemed extremely predictable and felt like watching a train wreck. However, the book proved me to be very wrong. It is a story of heroic women enduring racism, overcoming tragedies, and surviving the
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Wanda
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A Light in the Wilderness is an informative read, historical fiction based on a true story that will simply touch your heart. This is the story of three strong women whose lives are woven together with unexpected events that changed their lives forever.

1840’s – Letitia is leaving Kentucky as a free woman, no longer a slave, and she has papers to prove it. She is on her way to Missouri where she wouldn’t have to be afraid anymore. Good things happen to Letitia in Missouri. She has earned money
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Kathryn
A Light in the Wilderness is a work of fiction based on the African American woman Letitia Carson who lived in the nineteenth century. It is a very inspiring story and left me in awe of women who lived at that time firstly, and then Letitia herself, Black African in a time where many were still slaves and women did not have that many rights.

Jane Kirkpatrick with the help of the research of others has taken the facts of Letitia and asked herself what may have been to put flesh and blood on
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Nattie
May 29, 2015 marked it as incomplete
I am not rating this book because I feel maybe I didn't give it a fair chance, what I read wasn't bad at all, but when I get irritated by certain things, my mind sort of shuts out anything else on the pages. This review is basically a gripe because I have had more than enough.

I am so sick and tired of black people in books being described as being the blackest things you can think of. I highly doubt Letitia was as black as the black keys on a piano, if she was, then perhaps somebody should
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Linda
In A Light in the Wilderness, the reader is taken on a journey West along the Oregon Trail, experiencing the drama mainly from the eyes of a Letitia, a free, Black woman travelling with her White husband. Letitia was a real person, but her narrative is fictionalized. The author, Jane Kirkpatrick, includes notes, at the end, detailing the factual aspects of the book.

Certainly, Kirkpatrick did her research. I am no expert on the topic of American western expansion, but I feel like I know a little
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Kelvey
This is more like a 3.5/5 stars for me, but I rounded it up to 4 stars for the sake of Goodreads.
Even though I found that this book was a little slow 1/3 of the way through it, I enjoyed it very much!
Jane Kirkpatrick does such a good job weaving the true events of these characters with her fictionalized version! One thing I would advise is to read the author's note at the end after you've finished the book. It tells all about Letitia Carson and all the other characters.
One of the main things
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Donna
Oct 04, 2015 rated it liked it
This is historical fiction about a former slave (now free) moving west with her white husband. The 1800's and early 1900's is one of my favorite settings for this particular genre, so I enjoyed the depiction of pioneer life. However, some of this was 2 stars, some of it was 3. I settled on 3 because the latter half was more gripping than the beginning. So it was nice to end on a good note.

I liked the MC. Her trials and triumphs were heartfelt. The other characters were a nice mix between the
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Katrina Roets
Aug 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
American history is full of things that we can celebrate and things that we can mourn. This book has a bit of both to it. Letitia and Nancy are both especially powerful characters that on some level I think that everyone can connect to. There were times where I felt their frustration, wiped away my own tears and shook my head over just how brave, strong and amazing these women were. In some ways, I think that they inspired me to keep going, no matter how hard things get.
Maya B
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: historical, favorites
Great read! Historical fiction based on a true story. This story was about three women and their journey on the Oregan trail. The main character Letitia was a freed slave that moved west looking for a better life. She married a Irish immigrant and had 2 children. The author did a great job giving the reader a glimpse of what life was like during that time period. I look forward to reading more books by this author.
Carol Kean
Jan 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great Story to Share During Black History Month - and True!

She could be a victim, or she could fight for the rights only white men enjoyed under 19th Century law. Letitia Carson, a freed slave, decided not to "put up and shut up." Her story is all the more remarkable because it really happened. The list of nonfiction books and journals that assisted Kirkpatrick's understanding of Letitia fill up several pages. A common theme is the Struggle for Civil Rights. There's Miscegenation Law and the
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Prince William Public Library System
A Light in the Wilderness is available at PWPLS as a book discussion kit with 10 regular print copies and 1 book discussion guide notebook packaged together. The discussion guide notebook contains an author biography, a summary, further readings, and discussion questions.

We also have the regular print book by itself, the large print book, and the eBook.

Click here to find the book kit at the Prince William Public Library System.

Click here to find the book at the Prince William Public Library
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Mardell
Sep 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An Amazing Story of Resilience: A Light In The Wilderness
Cover Art
I just finished reading A Light In the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick. I am interested in the great westward migration of our country through the Oregon Trail and inspired by the grit and courage of all who left so much behind to face the unknown. The journey exacted a toll on men, women and children of all ages. This alone usually gives me pause but consider the danger a free black woman making the trek with a white man. Our
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Lisa Johnson
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Title: A Light in the Wilderness
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Pages: 320
Year: 2014
Publisher: Revell
Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Light-Wildernes...
An awesome and simply moving tale that weaves fiction with historical facts about a colored woman named Letitia. Readers will follow her travels from Missouri to Oregon before it became a state. Letitia travels as the only colored woman married to a white man, though known only to a couple of people because at that time it was illegal. Most people in the
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Jalynn Patterson
Sep 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
About the 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
...more
Victor Gentile
Sep 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jane Kirkpatrick in her new book “A Light In The Wilderness” published by Revell Books brings us into the life of Letitia.

From the Back Cover: Three very different women. One dangerous journey. And a future that seems just out of reach.

Letitia holds nothing more dear than the papers that prove she is no longer a slave. They may not cause most 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
...more
Rachael
Jul 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Based on the life of a real black woman who followed the Oregon Trail, A Light in the Wilderness by Jane Kirkpatrick is a tale of injustice and the pursuit of freedom.

As with other works by the author, this one follows closely to history, even as far as the crazy laws governing the territories, the states, and even the country. Blacks could not legally marry whites, they could not testify against a white, and they could not, for a time, even legally live in the Oregon territory. It is
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The CurvyJones
When I was invited by the publisher to read this book via an offer from NetGalley, I only hesitated for a second. I'm a sucker for historical fiction, set in the US in the 1800's. Add a beautiful cover and an intriguing blurb and I am game.

That said, had this not been based on a true story, I probably would have stopped set it aside, rolling my eyes at the story of a freed slave marrying a white Irish immigrant and setting off with him across the country, where along the way they meet and
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Karen
Aug 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

This was one of those books that didn't turn out to be what I expected, but turned out to be an amazing story.

I immediately fell in love with Letitia the very first time she was introduced in this story. I woman who has lost her entire family, finally a free woman in the heart of slave country. She has obstacles at every single turn and has to fight for everything she has. She owns exactly one thing in her life, a cow named Charity.
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Edythe Hamilton
Sep 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
“A free woman didn’t have to face forward to know she headed in the right direction.” -Letitia

In 1842 in the state of Kentucky Letitia is now a free black woman after her slave owner gave the necessary paper to Letitia right before his death proving her freedom and now travelling with the son to the state of Oregon that is fighting to become one of the United States. Letitia must still cope with people who believe freeing slaves is not righteous and treat her in the same manner as before until
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Sherrey
I have said it before, and I will say it again. Jane Kirkpatrick's historical fiction never disappoints. A careful and detailed researcher as well as gifted writer, Jane shares eloquently the story of an African-American, freed slave woman named Letitia. The only one of her people travelling with a wagon train headed for Oregon.

However, Jane is also skilled at sharing multi-layered stories in her works, and here she also shares the lives and experiences of two other women: Nancy Hawkins, a woman
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Margaret Chind
I love this book cover. The book cover portrays so much. From the solid yellow tones, the the grasses underfoot and even the hands holding the skirts and basket. So much is told from these images. In recent years a trend seems to be of a crop before showing a face and I love that, especially in examples such as this because it allows the imagination so much more.

Often in this genre, Christian Historical Fiction, I find that one book is on a particular character and then a trilogy is made with
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Lindsey Silvestrini
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
A Light in the Wilderness was quite an adventure to read! I felt like I was brought back in time with these amazingly strong women and journeyed with them to the Oregon territory in search of a new beginning.

Letitia is a strong woman, freed from the bounds of slavery by her owner and striving to make it on her own in a world that doesn't yet accept her. The kindness of a stranger turns to a partnership which eventually turns to marriage and love. They keep their union a secret as bi racial
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Abbie Riddle
Aug 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The cover is enough to make you want to pick this book up for a read, but then the read itself is better than the cover.
Letitia, a freed American slave, clings to the papers that declare her freedom. Though she can not read the words they are etched in her heart. This sliver of paper is her freedom, it is her proof that she belongs to no one. But that paper does not ease the battle of proving that she should be free. It does not stop the mistreatment, the misunderstanding, the rudeness and
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Peg
Sep 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to the publisher, Revell, via NetGalley, for the digital copy of this novel in exchange for my honest review.

The talented Jane Kirkpatrick did a ton of research to write this historical-fiction novel. It's based on a true story set in the mid-1800's about Letitia Carson, a former slave living in Missouri who had been given papers indicating she was a free woman. She falls in love with a white man and decides to accompany him to Oregon where she believed she would be treated like a free
...more
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Kirkpatrick brings us a story of one woman's restoration from personal grief to the meaning of community."
“The essential code must include . . . how to crawl from the wreckage when this life falters, how to plunge to the cellar of sorrow and grope for the ladder that might bring you back into some kind of light, no matter how dim or strange.” 1 likes
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