Sunday, December 16, 2018

"Everything She Didn't Say" by Jane Kirkpatrick

Everything She Didn't Say by Jane Kirkpatrick is based on the true life story of Carrie "Dell" Strahorn and her husband Robert, who traveled extensively through the United States during the early 1900's as Robert determined where future towns and railroad tracks should be placed. 

Every chapter in "Everything She Didn't Say" contains a journal entry (which I assume are fictional), the chapter itself, and a memoir excerpt from Carrie Strahorn's memoir "Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage". Jumping back and forth between these three styles of writing was laborious. I would have rather read Carrie Strahorn's memoir OR read a novel inspired by her memoir.

Dell is an independent woman who gives up her up her hopes and dreams in exchange for her desire to be alongside her husband. Overall I felt that there was very little character development so it was hard for me to care about the characters. 

Much of this novel is made up of dialogue and internal reflection about ongoing themes such as: whether or not Dell should go with her husband to the next town, how cold it is, and what pseudonym Dell should write under. Mention is often made in the novel of how Robert's writing is statistical, but Dell's writing is humorous and reflects more on the people she meets along the way. That is what I would have liked to have read. Instead I found this novel to be very dry and slow moving.

One particular scene is told like this: "I learned that our horses had departed without their riders. ... My prayers were answered when the men arrived back with the horses." The in between section contains Dell's personal reflections about waiting in the cold -- instead of telling the story from the men's point of view as they gather the horses. For an adventure novel, this novel seems to lack adventure.

As far as positives go, I was interested in Dell noticing the moral obligation of Robert portraying the west in an enticing way without mentioning the challenges and dangers to possible pioneers.
While I was intrigued by the premise of this book, I found that it was not the book for me. If you enjoy historical novels based on true stories, this novel might be one for you. If you've read it, let me know your point of view.

This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~


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