The people of Bethel, Missouri, seek to live with simplicity and generosity, existing in the world of the 1850s but remaining set apart from its distraction and vanities.

Rather than finding peace in the would-be utopia, spirited young Emma Wagner chafes at the constraints of a culture that values conformity over independent thought, especially women.

When Emma’s outspoken ways growing skepticism lead to a clash with the colony’s beloved leader, she finds new opportunities to pursue her dreams of independence. But as she clears a pathway West to her truest and deepest self, she discovers something she never expected: a yearning for the warm embrace of community.

 Based on a true story.

The first book in the Change and Cherish trilogy.

Awards:

  • Finalist, 2006, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA)
  • Finalist, 2007, WILLA Literary Award, Historical Fiction, Women Writing the West 

Other books in this series: #2) A Tendering in the Storm, #3) A Mending at the Edge

Reviews: 

A Clearing in the Wild is a joy to read as a coming of age story, a story of the western frontier, or as a spiritual quest. It satisfies on every level.”—Historical Novel Reviews

A Clearing in the Wild is Jane Kirkpatrick at her finest. The story is quickly paced and engaging from the first to the last. One of the most difficult tasks for a writer – and Kirkpatrick’s specialty – is to contemplate the lives of real and to re-create a believable episode in those lives that is accurate yet interesting, to both inform and entertain. The dialog sings masterfully with perfect tone, building characters and pushing the storyline in succinct phrasing that never overstates.  Emma Wagner Giesy’s story feels a genuine as if she herself were telling it.” —Nancy E. Turner, best-selling author of Sarah’s Quilt and The Water and the Blood

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