The Memory Weaver (Paperback)

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The Memory Weaver is a work of historic fiction based on solid research.  November 29th 1847 Eliza Spalding, only ten years old at the time, survived the massacre that took the life of Marcus Whitman, his wife Narcissa, and twelve other men by Cayuse who were convinced the Whitman Mission at Waililatpu, Washington brought deadly disease to their tribe.  Among the 45 survivors, Eliza was the only one fluent in a Native American tongue; she spoke the Nez Pearce language.   Thus the small child not only witnessed horrific bloodshed and terror, thereafter she acted as translator while not knowing if the remaining survivors held captive would be killed or freed.  What would be the effect of such an experience on a child?  Today Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is known to affect survivors of traumatic events, in 1847 not so much so.  Jane Kirkpatrick introduces the reader to a teenaged Eliza, haunted by memories of that day, tormented by conflicting emotions toward the Native Americans, unable to completely separate the Nez Pearce who were her childhood friends and rescuers from her attackers until she reached some form of peace with her experience. Eliza lived a full life, she married a man determined to chart his own course. He was also a man able to understand the strength of his wife, perhaps even a bit more than she understood herself.  The child of missionaries, faith is important to Eliza.  Kirkpatrick also weaves in diary entries from Eliza’s mother.  The Whitman Massacre is a well-known episode of northwestern history.  Eliza Spalding Warren’s history is not as commonly remembered; Kirkpatrick gives us the history of a remarkable woman, her survival of an experience of unimaginable terror, the haunting memories in the aftermath, her resilience and pluck in following her husband far from home to attempt realizing his dreams, and ultimately her courageous determination to live a good life.  This is a novel that spans a long life, giving a vivid account of the northwest as it changed from territory to statehood, frontier to farms and towns.

Kirkpatrick has many books telling stories of strong women who contributed to history in meaningful ways, stories that would otherwise be lost

— Deon Stonehouse


Eliza Spalding Warren was just a child when she was taken hostage by the Cayuse Indians during a massacre in 1847. Now the young mother of two children, Eliza faces a different kind of dislocation; her impulsive husband wants them to make a new start in another territory, which will mean leaving her beloved home and her departed mother's grave--and returning to the land of her captivity. Eliza longs to know how her mother, an early missionary to the Nez Perce Indians, dealt with the challenges of life with a sometimes difficult husband and with her daughter's captivity.

When Eliza is finally given her mother's diary, she is stunned to find that her own memories are not necessarily the whole story of what happened. Can she lay the dark past to rest and move on? Or will her childhood memories always hold her hostage?

Based on true events, The Memory Weaver is New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick's latest literary journey into the past, where threads of western landscapes, family, and faith weave a tapestry of hope inside every pioneering woman's heart. Readers will find themselves swept up in this emotional story of the memories that entangle us and the healing that awaits us when we bravely unravel the threads of the past.

About the Author

Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including A Light in the Wilderness and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the coveted Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have been finalists for the Christy Award, Spur Award, Oregon Book Award, and Reader's Choice awards, and have won the WILLA Literary Award and Carol Award for Historical Fiction. Many of her titles have been Book of the Month and Literary Guild selections. You can also read her work in more than fifty publications, including Decision, Private Pilot, and Daily Guideposts. Jane lives in Central Oregon with her husband, Jerry. Learn more at
Product Details
ISBN: 9780800722326
ISBN-10: 0800722329
Publisher: Fleming H. Revell Company
Publication Date: September 1st, 2015
Pages: 352
Language: English