A Mending At The Edge

Christian - Historical Fiction
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 03/19/2009
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Emma Wagner Giesy and her four children journeyed from Willapa, Missouri,to the new state of Oregon. She settled in a German American Colony overseen by Brother (aka Father) Kiel . Memories of her first husband brought both comfort and sadness. Memories of her second husband Jack Giesy brought fear.

He was cruel and a threat to both her and her children. Brother Kiel made him leave the colony when he publicly threatened Emma, but he returned and “men soon forget.” Kiel built himself a house on a hill overlooking his domain. His decisions were law, and he expected obedience from anyone living under the colonies’ protection.

A three-story house was built to temporarily house the families of the commune. The men were partially separated from the women. Emma and her children slept in a corner on the floor. Emma signed a contract of loyalty to the commune; in return Kiel offered to build her a house and educate her children. She had no idea in her time of desperation that she was giving up rights to her sons. Emma was a woman with fortitude and intelligence. She sought independence. She was a woman born before her time.

A Mending At The Edge by Jane Kirkpatrick is the true story of a brave woman. Emma was an admirable person. Ms. Kirkpatrick paints a landscape of the era and culture in which Emma lived and brings this amazing woman to life on the pages of A Mending At The Edge. I admired her and found her story sad and triumphant at the same time. She struggled against the male-dominated system, and yet had to depend on it. Kiel never saw her true worth as a human being or as a productive member of the colony. Women will enjoy A Mending At The Edge.

E. B.

A Mending at the Edge, I now realize is a series beginning with A Clearing in the Wild and followed by A Tendering in the Storm. Although I read the last first, it did not detract from the story for the author has skillfully woven in the past events pertinent to this story. Set in 19th century Oregon, the story is based on the true life of a woman named Emma who finds herself estranged from an abusive husband and living in a commune that both restricts and protects her. I loved Emma's independence, her strong will, and her compassionate heart, seen often in the story, but I especially liked how she befriended another woman who came into the commune for a short time with her children. She, too, had the heart of a lioness, the strength of will to overcome that which she could not change, one being her dwarfism, and to bear it all without complaining. A woman's lot in Emma's day would be unthinkable to most women today and many of us would not, if shoved back into those times of female oppression, be able, as Emma did, to carve out a life of our own. Emma thought she'd left hope behind, but, in truth, she never really ever lost it. Eunice Boeve, author of Ride a Shadowed Trail www.euniceboeve.net

Mary Anne Latham

I have read the entire series of the Change,and Cherish Historical Series. In this final book, Emma comes into her own. She has gained wisdom through her trials. She has lost many people along the way. In this book, she shacks free from danger, but there is a price to pay. I just loved this series, as I have all of Jane Kirckpatrick's books. But this one is different. I find myself drawn to Emma, maybe because I have been through several of her trials.


Don't miss this lovely conclusion to the Change and Cherish series. A Mending at the Edge honors the American West and the roles of women who endured the hardships of the trail. This novel will inspire readers to choose hope in life. This reader highly recommends A Mending at the Edge. And be sure to read books #1 and #2 so you can learn more about Emma.

J. Brady

Based on diaries and historical records, this novel is a fictional account of the life of Emma Wagner Giesy, the only woman sent to the Oregon Territory in the 1850's to help found a communal society. She came as part of a German-American Christian community based in Missouri. The group founded Aurora, Oregon, creating a commune focused on their Christian faith and supported by agriculture and domestic crafts. The story is told from Emma's viewpoint. Escaping an abusive husband, she is given protection and support by the group but her role, along with the other women, is very narrowly defined and decided by the men. A large part of the story is her struggle for personal expression while also satisfying her yearning to be part of the community.It is also an interesting story of the personalities and politics of the group, the tension between creating a faith based community and an economic unit. This novel is part of a series but stands alone very well. The Oregon setting was especially interesting to me but it is well written and a fascinating story with broad appeal.

Connie Denny Nussbaum

what can I say? Jane has done it again with this wonderful series. i have read every series she has written so far and even tho I love them all, this is by far my favorite. Maybe it's because I live about a mile from where Willie's grave is (and Christian's) but I have always wondered about the story behind the families that settled here on the willapa. I live in menlo, WA and nearly all of my husbands family grew up here, along the river, so everyone was excited about these books. I have shared them with everyone. I hated to see them end. (as i do with all her books) I enjoy Jane's books because they take me back to a time when people really struggled to settle the lands. Jane makes History so much more interesting than I thought possible. I can't wait for her next books. love ya Jane

K. Rackleff

Jane Kirkpatrick has done it again! This is a wonderful story woven into Oregon history and is a joy to read. The characters come alive and stay in your heart long after the last page is read.

mary E. trimble

A Mending at the Edge, the third of Jane Kirkpatrick's Change and Cherish Historical Series, is the poignant story of a woman who turns grief to strength, self-denial to hope and obedience to spirituality.

Based on the life of German-American Emma Wagner Giesy, the novel weaves the lives of a utopian Christian communal society of the1850s led with the iron hand by its founder, Wilhelm Keil. As Aurora, the colony in Oregon's Willamette Valley, struggles for survival, Emma struggles to find meaning in her life, a life marked with grief over the death of her beloved husband, espousal abuse from her second husband, separation from her sons and emotional distancing from her parents and siblings. As Emma strives to find a meaningful place in this strict society, she is often criticized that she is different, doing what she feels is best over the good of the community.

Slowly, Emma finds her way through serving others. Finally getting her own place to live for herself and her four children, Emma opens her home to others in need of nurturing and comfort. She begins to weave friendships with the women of the colony through a Sunday "house church," a time for sewing and sharing. Although still occasionally accused of relying on herself rather than on God, Emma finds the path to her own salvation.

A Mending at the Edge is a remarkable novel tempered with true historical details, told with a heart for loyalty and trust in mankind. As in her other historical novels, Kirkpatrick weaves intricate characters with everyday happenings, made more powerful by the determination to find life's meaning and contentment.

Reviewed by Mary E. Trimble

Heidi Thomas

In the third of the "Change and Cherish" series, Jane Kirkpatrick continues the story based on Emma Wagner Giesy, the only woman sent to the Oregon Territory in the 1850s to help found a communal society.
Jane's writing is a delight to read, a patchwork quilt rich with metaphors, as she tells Emma's story of obstacles, loss, and conflict to find personal growth and satisfaction in giving and serving others. A Mending at the Edge is a wonderful conclusion to a woman's story of strength and perseverance.

April Mcdonald

A Mending at the Edge was a wonderful ending to a moving series. The Change and Cherish series, like all of Jane's books/series, was beautifully written. I didn't want it to end.

shirley wise

I just could not put it down. I found it grasping my total interest. I felt like I was living it with emma and her familey. can not wait to book 3