Book Review: Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick

everything she didn't say jane kirkpatrick book review

The synopsis on the back of the book:

In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn't Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.

Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn't insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.

  • Genre: Christian Historical Fiction

  • Published: 9/2018

  • Publisher: Revell

  • Pages: 352

  • Goodreads Rating: 3.94

Everything She Didn't say Jane Kirkpatrick book review
Tell all the truth but tell it slant... The truth must dazzle gradually. Or every man be blind.
— Emily Dickinson


Why I Chose This Book:

I am part of the Revell blogger program and I chose this book to review for the month. I was intrigued that this was based on a true story so I thought I would give it a go.

First Initial Thoughts:

This book is based on the real lives of Carrie and Robert Strahorn. Robert was a railroad investor and writer. He was hired by the Union Pacific to go out west and write about the pioneering life to entice people to move out west. The story starts off when Carrie is just 24 years old and a blushing bride. She is excited about her marriage with Robert and the adventurous life they will live afterward. I didn’t really feel a connection with Carrie or Robert in the beginning- and I will get to that later on as well. Though I do commend Carrie for braving the west and the unknown.

They set off to the wild lands of Wyoming to start their adventure. I really enjoyed reading all their adventures - especially to the remote areas of the west. Jane did an excellent job emphasizing what it was like to go out west and make a life. It was hard, really hard. The land was harsh at times and there were dangers everywhere (animal and human alike).

A memoir is no place to whine but rather give us wisdom we can all share without having to go through the pain ourselves.
— Carrie Strahorn

Setting:

Jane really did her research on the time periods it was written in. We get a sense of what the west was really like before we industrialized and colonized the land. I really found it interesting that they went to places like Wyoming and Idaho and even made a home in Idaho. I appreciated that it was described accurately - especially their visit to Yellowstone and their bone chilling experience.

Final Thoughts:

First off, this book takes patience. This book doesn’t really move all that fast. It really does read like a memoir. While some books I have read that are written like this grabbed my attention from beginning to end, this one did not. I felt it hard to keep focus as the story took a while to develop.

One of the issues I found was that it was hard to feel attached to the characters. We start off with the characters getting married. We never get a background on their relationship or how they even met. It would have been nice to get somewhat of a background on their relationship- if not brief because of the issues they experienced in their marriage.

Carrie desperately wanted children and a place to call home. However, Robert’s job demanded constant travel. We also find out that he suffered Mumps before she married him and is possibly infertile. This devastates Carrie and she is torn between the desire to be a homemaker and traveling the west with her husband. She gives up everything to be with Robert but in the end we get a sense that she is really not that happy. Robert did want to have children but I think he had other priorities in his life, such as having a successful career first.

This book emphasizes that earthly possessions does not make one happy. I think overall they had a good marriage. However, the money, all the travel, etc. in the end didn’t make Carrie fulfilled inside.

Everything She Didn’t Say is the perfect title for this book. Carrie wrote her memoir of her life in 1911 and it included everything she really couldn’t say during this time. Women were expected to be quite about intimate issues in a relationship. They were expected to obey their husbands.

Would I Recommend?:

Yes and no. While it was an entertaining read it wasn’t what I expected it to be. I think others might enjoy it, especially those that don’t mind a slow paced book.



You can purchase the book —-> HERE

Would you go and travel the US and give up everything if someone asked you to?

the caffeinated bibliophile

Note: I was sent a copy of this book to review by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

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