A Land of Sheltered Promise


Award Winner

January 16, 2009 | ISBN 9780307551375

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About the Book

Follow three women from three eras in the Pacific Northwest as they discover a place where miracles really happen—based on true stories.

Plagued by loneliness on the Big Muddy Ranch, a sheepherder’s wife awaits the outcome of her husband’s trial for murder. He is sentenced to life in prison—and she to life without him. But a startling event could redeem their pasts and transform their future.

1984: Against a backdrop of attempted murder, federal indictments, and the first case of bio-terrorism in the U.S., one woman seeks to rescue her granddaughter from within the elaborate compound of a cult that has claimed the land.

1997: On the much-reviled, abandoned cult site, one woman’s skepticism turns to hope when she finds that what was meant to destroy can be used to rebuild—and in the process realizes a long-held dream.

For three women seekers united across time, a remote and rugged stretch of land in the Pacific Northwest proves to be a place where miracles really happen—and the gifts of faith, hope, and charity are as tangible as rocks, rivers, and earth.
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Praise for A Land of Sheltered Promise

Congratulations to Jane Kirkpatrick for her 2006 Phoenix Desert Rose Golden Quill Finalists Award for A Land of Sheltered Promise!

A Land of Sheltered Promise is historical Christian fiction at its best. The reader comes away with a clear vision of the land, of the people who occupied the land, and of a Supreme Being who ties it all together.”
--The Historical Novels Review

"A story of inspiration and courage as only Kirkpatrick can write."
--Roundup Magazine, Western Writers of America

“Classic Kirkpatrick…tightly written, honestly conceived and executed, deeply moving and exciting.”
--The Statesman Journal, Salem, Oregon

"What does this Jewish reviewer derive from this and Kirkpatrick's previous novels? In people of all faiths or no apparent faith, growth begins with a desperate step in a new direction."
--Harriet Rochlin, author of Pioneer Jews: A New Life in the Far West
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A Land of Sheltered Promise



Like tufts of cottonwood seeds fluffed by winds beside a stream, the tiny dots of white nibbled over the purple hyacinth hills. My hills, Eva Cora Thompson thinks. Those are my hills. She hears a distant crying, raises her eyes to her father in question. “Sheep,” her father says and points to the white tufts. “Motherless lambs you’re hearing. They make a mournful sound.” Eva leans forward, brushing her face against her father’s woolen vest. He smells of whiskey and soap. Her mother’s cool hand pats Eva’s. A large bird whistles above them, dancing with the wind, its shadow a reminder that they aren’t alone.

Eva shivers in the icy April breeze despite her sheltered position on the buckboard between her parents. Her father puts his arm around her mother’s shoulders, tugging both her and Eva toward him. Chin raised in pride, he pronounces: “Those hills are where we’ll make our mark in this grand landscape. The land will help us do that, Cora,” her father says. “The land and that Muddy Creek that cuts it and the John Day River that furls like a ribbon along it.”

He slaps the reins against the mules’ backs, and the wagon totters down the stage road into the valley below. Eva smells the glycerin her mother presses against her lips before running the pasty gel over Eva’s. “The air’s so dry,” her mother complains. Eva hasn’t noticed. So much to see, to hear, to feel.

“Who’s that?” Eva asks. Her father pulls up the reins and stops.

He squints.

“Good eyes,” he says. “Looks like root diggers. Hahn said the Indians move through here. It’s that time of year. We’ll have to find out which roots are edible. Supplement our supper.”

“Wild roots?” Eva’s mother asks. “Is that safe?”

“They’re eating them. First fruits of the land.” He smacks his lips to urge the mules on, and the wagon rolls closer to the small gathering.

An old brown woman with a colorful neckerchief wrapped around her head straightens at their approach. She leans against a stick. Each or her children holds a small stick too.

“So many children,” Eva’s mother whispers. Eva counts: one, two, three, five, seven.

“Hahn says when a parent dies of consumption or meets some other untimely death, aunties and uncles and grandparents fluff the Indian children under their wings.”

“I guess they never have any orphans that way.”

Her father taps his fingers to his hat. “Morning.”

The woman clusters the children around her like a hen her chicks. “Looks like a good morning for digging,” her father says.

The woman hesitates, then opens up her waist bag. She pulls out stringy-looking roots and offers a handful, open palm, to Eva.

“Go ahead,” her father says when Eva looks up at him. “It’s a gift
of the earth.”

Eva takes the roots. She watches the eyes of the children. She looks at the shining faces of her parents. Here are friends and food and family in the shadow of purple hills. She’s never felt so safe or loved.

It is not a feeling that will last.

About the Author

Jane Kirkpatrick
Jane Kirkpatrick is a bestselling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres. More by Jane Kirkpatrick
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