cover image No Eye Can See

No Eye Can See

Jane Kirkpatrick / Author Waterbrook Press $13.99 (400p) ISBN

Christian novelist Kirkpatrick follows her well-received All Together in One Place with this rich and engaging sequel that could easily stand alone. She picks up the story of 11 women who have banded together to travel west on the Oregon Trail after losing their menfolk. Kirkpatrick's gifts as a writer are most evident in the surprising complexity of her female characters and in her ability to weave historical details into her story without overwhelming it. The fascinating moments of daily routine on the trail and in California's mining towns fit effortlessly with the plot and include the varying experiences of different races (Chinese and Indian) as well as of men and women. The author brings her heroines alive with full complements of both endearing and frustrating qualities, keeping them on even footing with each other and leaving the reader unsure what they might do next. Kirkpatrick is convincingly insightful about the conflicting emotions these women experience during dramatic life changes, allowing them to struggle, change their minds, make mistakes and start over on different tracks. The novel's chief flaw is that the male characters are far less developed, especially the villainous Zane Randolph. He provides a gripping, driving tension to the novel, but he is too one-dimensionally evil. Even so, this second installment in the Kinship and Courage trilogy satisfies overall as entertainment, as historical fiction and as a thoughtful exploration of human character and community. (Feb.)