Individualism. Women’s rights. Personal relationship with God through studying His word. Accountability for those in authority. These are all things we take for granted today, but it hasn’t always been so. Emma of Aurora is a fictional story based on the life of Emma Wagner Giesy in the late 1800’s. Not only did the era put restrictions on what she, as a woman, could do, but so did the community she lived in – the Bethel community.
Emma grew up in a family in the German speaking community in Bethel, a communist community based on Christian beliefs. Her personality often conflicted with the views of this conservative Christian community and its leaders. The story follows a young lady from her mid-teens through about her late 30’s. Over this time she works through what it means to live a life that allows God to lead, not herself. Along the way she marries a man her father’s age, travels across country on horseback while pregnant, learns to speak English, and finds that distance doesn’t always bring the peace sought for.
After the death of her husband she becomes even less trusting of those around her, leading to her making a poor decision that will change the rest of her life and her family’s. It is this decision that forces her to return to and rely on the very group that she so desperately sought to distance herself from. In doing so, she eventually seems to begin to see and believe in God and his love for us.
In the end I had a love/hate relationship with the main character. There were parts of the story where I began to be annoyed by the main character and her whining. In other parts I understood her frustration with those men in charge around her. I enjoyed seeing was how Emma came to find a way that God could use her through her imperfections and a not so rosy past.
Emma of Aurora, The Complete Change and Cherish Trilogy is a compilation of all three books of the series. While it was nice to have all three books in one place it did make for a very big book – over 1,000 pages and several inches thick. Jane Kirkpatrick’s writing kept it moving, even through all those pages. The story of Emma Wagner Giesy is one of an era gone by, but which helped build our country. While the day to day details were the creation of Kirkpatrick’s wonderful writing, the larger details of Emma’s life is based on an actual person. Kirkpatrick has helped bring to back to life the story of this courageous, spirited woman. (Click here to read the first chapter.)
I received this book for free from Blogging For Books for this review.