In the isolation of Oregon’s wilderness miracles can happen. That’s what three women discover in Jane Kirkpatrick’s novel A Land of Sheltered Promise. Three women, living in three different time periods, face three crises that teach them to trust God. Ultimately, the story tells of redemption—God’s redemption of that which is bad by bringing good out of it.
Kirkpatrick divides the book into three independent sections, each inspired by a true story and devoted to a particular woman’s struggle. Trust, redemption, faithfulness, and the majestic landscape are unifying themes.
Around the turn of the twentieth century, Eva Bruner’s husband faces murder charges for a killing he says was self-defense. Eva struggles with the consequences of his actions and her own. Eighty years later, Cora Swenson is horrified by her daughter’s involvement in a dangerous cult and attempts to protect her granddaughter. In the process, Cora comes face to face with her own shortcomings and the separation between herself and her daughter. Fifteen years go by. The cult has left, but not without leaving a scar on the land and locals. Jill Hartley and her husband move to the area to help start a Christian camp. As Jill wrestles with herself and God, she discovers that He really does work all things together for the good of those who love Him.
Throughout the story, Kirkpatrick presents a variety of characters well. Readers get to know timid Eva, self-righteous Cora, and modern Jill. These main characters mature in their faith and personalities as they interact with the diverse supporting casts. These strong casts range from Cora’s quiet husband Olaf to creepy cult leader Ma Anand Sheela.
Overall, however, A Land of Sheltered Promise lacks strong narrative drive. Despite its intriguing elements, it did not continuously hold my attention. I found Part Three particularly dull. It was slow and the conflict was bland. In this section the overly ideal, unrealistic feel that haunts certain earlier scenes intensifies to an almost pathetic level. In addition, pacing problems plague certain parts of the book.
Nevertheless, Kirkpatrick does well in unifying the three stories with common themes and points of contact. The novel also has inspirational moments, such as when Eva chooses to remain faithful to her husband after he betrays her. With its female characters and largely emotion-driven plot, it is primarily directed toward a female audience. -- Jonathan Young, Christian Book Previews.com
Out of the Wilderness…
Three Women. Three Eras.
Plagued by loneliness on the Big Muddy Ranch, a sheepherder’s wife awaits the outcome of her husband’s trial for murder. He is sentenced to life in prison–and she to life without him. But a startling event could redeem their pasts and transform their future.
Against a backdrop of attempted murder, federal indictments, and the first case of bio-terrorism in the U.S., one woman seeks to rescue her granddaughter from within the elaborate compound of a cult that has claimed the land.
On the much-reviled, abandoned cult site, one woman’s skepticism turns to hope when she finds that what was meant to destroy can be used to rebuild–and in the process realizes a long-held dream.
For three women seekers united across time, a remote and rugged stretch of land in the Pacific Northwest proves to be a place where miracles really happen–and the gifts of faith, hope, and charity are as tangible as rocks, rivers, and earth.
Based on true stories.