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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Love to Water My Soul by Jane Kirkpatrick

This is an absolutely remarkable, rich, beautiful writing based on a true family history. 
I don't generally post reviews on Sundays but this one fits wonderfully with the Easter message of redemption and hope!
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Multnomah Publishers (September 16, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590529499
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590529492
Also available in ebook.
Available at for $3.69

Genre: Historical Fiction, Inspirational
 My Rating: 5.0 of 5.0 

Book Description
Series: Dreamcatcher | Publication Date: September 16, 2008
Based on historical characters and events, Love to Water My Soul recounts the dramatic story of an abandoned white child rescued by Indians. Among Oregon's Paiute people, Shell Flower seeks love and a place of belonging...only to be cast away from her home.

A remakable story of God's constancy and provision for all lovers of history, romance and faith...

Based on historical characters and events, Love to Water My Soul recounts the dramatic story of an abandoned white child rescued by Indians. Among Oregon's Paiute people, Shell Flower seeks love and a pace of belonging...only to be cast away from her home.

In the years that follow, she faces a new life in the world of the white man--a life filled with both attachment and loss--yet finds that God faithfully unites her with a love that fills all longing in this heartwarming sequel to Jane Kirkpatrick's award-winner, A Sweetness to the Soul.

*Before you begin the review let me note that my first completed draft was 780 words before adding any quotes. I know that is long so I have done a Summary Version (cut to 416 words which summarizes the story but gives my reactions) and an Expanded Version (more of the storyline plus my reactions). You may read whichever description suits your mood. :-)
Summary Description of Story:
This story tells the life of a toddler white girl abandoned on a wagon train. She is picked up by one Indian tribe and used as a slave child. Later she is brought into another tribe and almost given a home.  Ultimately she is cast out and finds her way back to the white community where she matures and has a full life. The story is told in first story by Alice (also known as Asiam and Shell Flower) as an accounting of her life memories and showing how God was with her even in the difficult times.
[Skip to My Thoughts if desired]

Expanded Story Description:
Alice/Asiam was only a young child, maybe three or so, when she was left behind by a wagon train.  She is picked up by a tribe of Modocs who treat her as a slave child running errands. She doesn’t remember her own name and the best she communicates results in her being called Asiam.  She curls up in the corner of tents and hopes for scrapes of food with the dogs.  She always thinks of how she can escape and go back to the white people to find her family and a place to belong. 

At eight or so she tries to climb a high hill to look out to the sea but she falls and breaks her leg.  A small, strange ‘medicine man’, Wuzzie, finds her and brings her back to the village which is filled with several tribes who have gathered. Fortunately one widow Wadadukas woman, Lukwsh, takes her in - offers shelter and protection. She shares the tent with Lukwsh’s two step sons, Shard and Stink Bug, and Lukwsh’s daughter, Wren and learns the ways of the Paiute people, nut gatherers and weavers.

Asiam still longs to be fully accepted.  Against the wishes of Wuzzie, Lukwsh prepares Asiam for the naming ceremony that will allow her to be more of the people.  She is given the name Shell Flower and she begins to think perhaps this is her home where she can belong.  

Asiam/Shell Flower lives in the time that the Indians are being driven from their fields and directed to reservations. Tensions are high and when hardships come upon the tribe Wuzzie blames ‘the owl”, the white stranger, in their midst. Shard learns that there are plans to kill Shell Flower so he tells her to keep going out further as she gathers and he will tell her when not to return. He says they will meet again some day but she believes that he dies in her place.

The story continues with Asiam’s escape and ultimately finding a home at a white man’s way station where she is known as Alice M.  She eventually meets and marries an older doctor. One day he asks her to help with patient, an old Indian woman. Alice sits patiently with the woman each day. After weeks of silence the Indian calls Alice “Shell Flower” and she realizes that she knows her from her past. This leads Alice to search out any living members of her Indian family.

My Thoughts:
I love the historic details of this story. One passage shares how the young Indian girls played a game called jacks with a stone. Another chapter presents the sacred ritual for an antelope hunt.  The surroundings are majestically and beautifully described in harshness and in provision for the people.  The story includes some sorrowful recounting, from a distance, of the Trail of Tears, and a wonderful insight into early treatments for the insane or disturbed of mind in a asylum.

There are so many bits of metaphorical wisdom shared as in the method of using old pot shards ground to powder to add to the new clay. Lukwsh explains that the best pots are stronger which have been blended with the old and the new. The best baskets are those woven by experienced hands that have been corrected.

I loved the idea of Asiam’s leather necklace with knots to represent memories that she could recall in the future, “ notes in a song,...”  Near the end of the story she is given a cross necklace as “A reminder of who controls the circle that is our present, past and future.” (Location 6579.)

The writing is consistently evocative providing a poignant, sorrowful but beautiful tale of Asiam’s physical, mental and spiritual traveling. I loved how Ms. Kirkpatrick shared Asiam’s early recognition of a Spirit stronger than the spirits that Wuzzie relied on. Asiam learned little bits about the Christian God but as she struggled along her journey her soul cried out to Him and He answered her. The messages of God as our Creator and Guide are not preached but woven through Alice’s life journey.

Although all of the ladies in our book club enjoyed the story, some thought it a little long but I didn’t have that problem. I actually marked over 80 notes in my Kindle which is a lot. This is a story I can imagine reading again at times in my life for the very strong warmth and encouragement it gave me. I will want to read more by this author and I highly recommend this book for both it’s historical detail and it’s spiritual message.

Some quotes portraying God's reaching out to Alice:

The closest I had come to even sensing such a Spirit then had been one night when I had raised my eyes to a moonless sky dotted with blinking stars and wondered who had made it, had caused the glitter and the raven sky. Location 1367.

Asiam meets a friend trying to help the plight of the Indians who explains about Christians.
“Some are kind and wise, and their hearts do what their lips say. Others use their book to beat with.”  Location 2202.

Asiam ponders:
Hard thing to think on, having a Spirit who cares enough to warm you up, with enough to give away. Location 2218.

Perhaps this Spirit told us when and where our lives belonged, and not the wind, or our will, at all.  Location 2232.

Asiam is comforted when she feels alone:
I am here, he told me, though I heard no spoken words. Here among these people, here wherever you are, here whenever you should call my name. Location 3961.

But I was comforted, filled with joy. For he traveled with me, brought water to my soul, gave me hope and other people, work to master, and a song. Location 3964.

Newly widowed, Alice hears a sermon:
“Faith,” he said...., “is accepting that God has plowed a new field for you, torn up all the weeds and dug out all the rocks. And you can plant that field the way God wants you to, not the way you remember planting before. God makes you new to do all things with him.” Location 5545.

I chose this book for my local Book Club and I am glad that I did.
This story takes place in Oregon for my Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add it to New Author challenge list.

I loved this book so much that I want to share it. I will give a print copy - OPEN WORLDWIDE.
 1. Visit the Author's website and tell me something that interests you there. This is required for entry.

2.  For an extra entry, become a follower or tell me if you are already a follower.

It isn't necessary to use separate entries unless you want them in different chronological order.
(Two total entries possible.)

* This contest is open WORLDWIDE.
* This contest will close 10 PM (Central) on April 20, 2012.
The winner will be randomly selected from all entries and announced on April 21 with 72 hours to complete the winners' form.


  1. I learned that Jane has been in over 50 publications and has written 20books! Impressive.

    I am an email follower.


  2. I visited and discovered that Jane Kirkpatrick has written 20 books, 17 of them Historical - my favourite genre.

    LOVE TO WATER MY SOUL looks like an amazing read thank you.

    GFC: Mary Preston
    Email Subscriber


  3. I love the author's book page! edysicecreamlover18@gmailDOTcom GFC Krystal Larson

  4. email follower: Lmackesy @
    I first want to know what kind of dog that big dog is in her picture. I secondly want to find out what "homesteading" is. I've never heard of it.

  5. The author is a writer, teacher and speaker. Please enter me in contest. I would love to read this book.

  6. GFC name - Nina Crozier

    Loved the picture of the author, thought the dogs were adoirable. (And I'd love to know what breed the big dog is too!!)

  7. The first thing that got my attention was that the tittle says: writer, speaker, TEACHER and then in her Bio says that she studied social work, so we have both carears in common, which is great!

    Thanks for this giveaway!
    Follower via FCS as Ruth Benitez

  8. This sounds like a fabulous book. Thank you for the opportunity to win it!

    I found out she wrote several historical series.

    I follow via gfc - mamabunny13

    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  9. I learned that she has a master's degree in social work.

    I follow the blog.

    Thanks for the giveaway.


  10. Jane's ode to lilacs is being celebrated on April 21 for the opening of Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, the very subject of her book 'Where Lilacs Still Bloom' and we're invited :)) !

  11. Many of her titles are based on the lives of real people or incidents set authentically in the American West.
    helldog3 at


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