Emma Wagner Giesy was the only woman sent west from Missouri with nine male scouts to find a new home for their 1850s German-American religious community. What they eventually establish is the only successful utopian colony to survive for more than twenty years west of the Mississippi. A Clearing in the Wild (Book I ) was a finalist for the WILLA Literary Award for Historical Fiction; A Tendering in the Storm won the WILLA Literary Award. A companion book, Aurora: An American Experience in Quilt, Community and Craft, provides a history told through quilts and crafts of the actual colony in Oregon.
A Clearing in the Wild
Young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of 1850’s Bethel colony, determined to remain untainted by the world. Passionate and independent, she resents the limitations placed on women and finds it difficult to rein in her tongue. (2006)
A Tendering in the Storm
Determined to raise her children on her own terms, Emma suddenly finds herself alone and pregnant with her third child, struggling to keep her family secure in the remote coastal forest of the Washington Territory. Loss and disappointment soon threaten to consume her and she makes a series of poor choices that take her into dangerous relationships. (2007)
A Mending at the Edge
Based on the life of German-American Emma Wagner Giesy, the only woman sent to the Oregon Territory in the 1850s to help found a communal society. While set in the historical past, it's a story for our own time answering the question: Can threads of an isolated life weave a legacy of purpose in community? (2008)