Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Beneath The Bending Skies By Jane Kirkpatrick

Beneath the Bending Skies
by Jane Kirkpatrick
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 9780800736125

This is the first Jane Kirkpatrick book I've read in years. And the cover, isn't it absolutely stunning? I received my book for review from Revell. 


Bound by duty--loosed by destiny

Mollie Sheehan has spent much of her life striving to be a dutiful daughter and honor her father's wishes, even when doing so has led to one heartbreak after another. After all, what options does she truly have in 1860s Montana? But providing for her stepfamily during her father's long absences doesn't keep her from wishing for more. 

When romance blooms between her and Peter Ronan, Mollie finally allows herself to hope for a brighter future--until her father voices his disapproval of the match and moves her to California to ensure the breakup. Still, time and providence are at work, even when circumstances are at their bleakest. Mollie may soon find that someone far greater than her father is in control of the course of her life--and that even the command to "honor thy father" has its limits.

My Review:

Initially when I started Beneath the Bending Skies, I didn't realize it was going to read like a diary. It actually took me a long time to get into it because I thought the author was setting us up for the story. I'm conflicted by my thoughts on the book. If I were able to separate out the "story" part from the "telling/info" part, I think I might've really enjoyed it more. I also think the separated chunks of writing in each chapter just didn't flow well for me.

The story is a very heavy, oftentimes depressing story. We initially meet Mollie who is a young girl, whose father is domineering and inconsiderate. He is constantly moving her around and springs a new mother & sibling on her after being separated from her for almost a year. His overbearing & controlling ways with Mollie is creepy and possessive. And I don't mean in the "doting father" kind of way. He never has a nice thing to say to her or his wife it seems. Kind of funny since he's never around, but demands they do as he says.

When she finally meets Peter, who is kind, loving, and her father's friend they fall in love, but because of her father's controlling ways, he forbids it and moves them away again. One of my issues with this story is how negatively Scripture is used to force Mollie to be obedient to her father. And it's not just from him, it's from their priest as well. I didn't get a faith message in this story other than it being wielded as a weapon.

Mollie moves so often we never really get a chance to know many of the secondary characters who pop up throughout the story. When Mollie and Peter finally settle in, we're able to get to know a handful of people. Mollie is a likable character who my heart goes out to from beginning to end. Peter is wonderful and patient. Together, they're a force to be reckoned with. Once Mollie has charted her course with her own family I feel a sense of rightness for her. I was certainly able to enjoy the story more once she was out from under her father's thumb.

This is based on a true story so for lovers of American history, specifically during those gold rush years, I think this will appeal to you. If you like first person, diary style writing, then this will be right up your alley! While this story wasn't for me, I have no doubt it will be enjoyed by other readers of this genre!

About the Author:

Jane Kirkpatrick is the New York Times and CBA bestselling and award-winning author of forty books, including Something Worth DoingOne More River to CrossEverything She Didn't SayAll Together in One PlaceA Light in the WildernessThe Memory WeaverThis Road We Traveled, and A Sweetness to the Soul, which won the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Center. Her works have won the WILLA Literary Award, the Carol Award for Historical Fiction, and the 2016 Will Rogers Gold Medallion Award. And been short-listed for the Christy, Spur, and Oregon Book Awards. Jane divides her time between Central Oregon and California with her husband, Jerry, and Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Caesar. Learn more at www.jkbooks.com.


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