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Jane Kirkpatrick: A Land of Sheltered Promise

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Waterbrook Press (Trade Paperback), ISBN 1-57856-733-5

Book: jane kirkpatrick, a land of sheltered promise
As befits a novel based on three true stories of Big Muddy Ranch in Oregon, setting plays a major role in A Land of Sheltered Promise. It provides the glue necessary to unite events that span almost a century.

Seventeen, pregnant, cooking at the Big Muddy Ranch and awaiting the outcome of her sheepherder husband's murder trial, Eva Thompson Bruner knows loneliness but never gives up in the first section, entitled "Faith." Eva's faith makes it possible for her to be productive and even happy after her husband's sentence sends him to prison for life -- and allows her to believe in miracles.

Eighty-three years later, in 1984, "Hope," the Big Muddy (now called Rajneeshpuram) belongs to a cult that practices bio-terrorism, among other things. Cora Swensen comes to Oregon bent on rescuing her granddaughter. Cora's daughter, a true believer, wants her mother to leave the child alone, but the gun-toting, red-garbed cultists make that impossible. They will stop at nothing -- including attempted murder, poisoning and other misdeeds -- to advance their leader's strange goals. (Note: this plotline reflects real events in Oregon's history.)

The third section, entitled "Charity," sees another woman's dream come true, turning the abandoned ranch into a place of refuge for those who need it. Thus a remote ranch in Oregon unites three women, across time, and gives each the miracle they prayed for.

This inspirational novel delivers a great read, but a personal prejudice of mine kept me from enjoying it totally. I loathe and detest books written in the present tense, and this one pandered to my distaste. I realize I should always remain objective, but my reading quirks and foibles kept getting in the way, making me mutter and whine and want to set the book aside.

Patricia Lucas White

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