Woman of Courage by Wanda E. Brunstetter
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
In 1837 Amanda Pearson believed that she was about to marry the man of her dreams but instead she was faced with the shame of being jilted the night before her wedding. What follows is the story of a young Quaker woman who faces danger and near-death so that she can fulfill her dream of becoming a missionary to the Indians. She leaves New York with her father and a hired trail guide to travel to the Oregon Territory but her father dies and she is left to travel alone with a guide who is often irritated by her Quaker language and the use of thee and thou; more than once he warns her to use the English word "you" when speaking to him. Soon, a tragic accident takes his life and Amanda must become a Woman of Courage if she is ever able to reach her destination and fulfill her dream.
This young Quaker woman is strong and determined and truly believes that God intended for her to teach His Word to Native Americans. Her friendship with an Indian woman is hindered by the differences of their language and culture but Mary Yellow Bird saves Amanda's life and eventually Amanda is able to lead Mary to Christ. Her mission however, isn't as easy with Mary's husband Jim and several others who have been hurt by organized religion and want nothing to do with learning more about God. One of them especially resists Amanda's efforts. He wonders "Was it possible that she really was a Christian, who lived by the Bible and not her own selfish ways? Well, even if she was, Buck had no desire to have religion crammed down his throat". It appears doubtful that Amanda will ever change Buck McFadden's mind.
Wanda E. Brustetter is best known for writing Amish stories but this book shows that she is more than capable of writing historical fiction. She offers us a view of the hardships that were endured by the people making those westward journeys and she creates several memorable characters to enhance her story. I'm sure that some poetic license may have been take with some of the events shared but I was especially intrigued with her telling of twin baby girls born to an Indian family and their belief that only one baby deserved to live. The decision that Amanda makes concerning this child plays an important part in her life. There is also romance but the main focus of Woman of Courage is the work of the missionaries who were brave enough to offer salvation to the Nez Perce Indians. This is a heartwarming story and I recommend it for anyone who enjoys Christian historical fiction. There is also included in this Collector's edition a short sequel that is set eighteen years later. Woman of Hope is the continued story of Little Fawn, one of the characters from Woman of Courage, and it relates her own desire to be a missionary to the Nez Perce Indians.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author and publisher but my review is voluntary. These are my honest opinions.
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