cover image Everything She Didn’t Say

Everything She Didn’t Say

Jane Kirkpatrick. Revell, $15.99 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-0-8007-2701-7

In this enjoyable historical novel set on the 19th-century American frontier, Kirkpatrick (This Road We Traveled) fleshes out the story of real-life pioneer Carrie Adelle Strahorn. Raised in the Midwest within an affluent family, Dell, as she was known, moves west after marrying Robert Strahorn, a publicist for the Union Pacific Railroad. While Dell struggles with infertility, runaway stagecoaches, black bears, her faith, and long separations from her husband, she is also blessed with strong family support, luxuries unavailable to most pioneer women, and a degree of control over her own destiny not afforded to most women of her era. Filled with gumption and desire, Dell is more concerned with what she doesn’t have—a child, a stable home life—than what she does. Kirkpatrick used Strahorn’s 1911 memoir Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, as the backbone of the narrative, filling out Dell’s biography with vibrant detail. Embedded in the novel is also an illuminating history of railway expansion during the late 1800s. While Dell’s tale will appeal to those interested in stories of American westward expansion, it lacks a discernible plot, and outside of Dell, the characters are difficult to care about. However, fans of Kirkpatrick’s research-heavy style will enjoy this exciting novel. (Sept.)