Title: Everything She Didn’t Say
Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Publishing Date: September 4, 2018
About the Book:
In 1911, Carrie Strahorn wrote a memoir entitled Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, which shared some of the most exciting events of 25 years of traveling and shaping the American West with her husband, Robert Strahorn, a railroad promoter, investor, and writer. That is all fact. Everything She Didn’t Say imagines Carrie nearly ten years later as she decides to write down what was really on her mind during those adventurous nomadic years.
Certain that her husband will not read it, and in fact that it will only be found after her death, Carrie is finally willing to explore the lessons she learned along the way, including the danger a woman faces of losing herself within a relationship with a strong-willed man and the courage it takes to accept her own God-given worth apart from him. Carrie discovers that wealth doesn’t insulate a soul from pain and disappointment, family is essential, pioneering is a challenge, and western landscapes are both demanding and nourishing. Most of all, she discovers that home can be found, even in a rootless life.
With a deft hand, New York Times bestselling author Jane Kirkpatrick draws out the emotions of living–the laughter and pain, the love and loss–to give readers a window not only into the past, but into their own conflicted hearts. Based on a true story.
Ever read a story that leaves you both infuriated and heartbroken at the same time? That was me with this book. In the beginning of the story I was sympathetic towards Carrie and her dreams, but also believed that Robert was trying to make the means to support them and their future family financially. Their situation appeared temporary. As the story continued, my dislike for Robert grew rapidly.
It’s been a long time since I’ve loathed a character as much as Robert. Initially I didn’t question his love for his wife, but as time went by his selfishness and love of money took on a life of its own. His wife had only two life desires, which she had placed on hold in order to support her husband, but never in their lives did he appear to consider her. Anything he appeared to do for her, was merely a flaunting of his temporary financial successes. He did what he wanted without consideration of his wife.
Yet as much as I hated Robert’s character, my heart went out to Carrie. She did all she could in life to maintain a positive outlook and support her husband despite his selfishness. She’s certainly a stronger woman than I could be! I can’t even imagine being in her shoes. Without explaining, I resonate with Carrie’s feelings towards her dislike of a nickname being forced on her (however my feelings are more extreme). Her husband nicknamed her “Dell” because he didn’t want to be reminded of another love who shared her name. Her middle name was “Adell” but for some reason he refused to use that full name either. It felt like Carrie’s life was compromise after compromise for a man who ate it all up and refused to give anything of himself. The longest time he appeared to spend with his wife was his many illnesses where she nursed him from the brink of death. This wasn’t merely a story of hardships in pioneering, it was an old-school tale of a woman being used and abused.
I always say that I appreciate a book that can make me feel something. Well, this book certainly made me feel a whole lot! Jane Kirkpatrick has done an amazing job of capturing history in it’s raw, factual state. As mentioned in the book description, the real Carrie Adell Strahorn wrote and published her own memoir in 1911 and this is a work of Jane’s imagination to “read between the lines” of what the original memoir shared. It appears she has captured Carrie’s history masterfully. I recommend this book to fans of both historical fiction and non-fiction.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through JustRead Publicity Tours. I was not required to give a positive review. Thoughts and opinions expressed are mine alone.
Age Appropriateness/Content Warnings:
Generally speaking I would consider this a clean read, however there are several moments where “marital activities” are alluded to without any actual descriptions or scenes. The story itself is more about the historical truth while sharing the emotional struggles. While it’s about a woman’s life and marriage, I wouldn’t consider it a romance. While it’s probably safe for younger readers to read, it also doesn’t paint marriage in the best light and I’m sensitive about that in a recommendation. I could recommend for ages 13 and up with parental discretion.
Stop by my Twitter page for your chance to enter a special social media blitz giveaway!