Friday, August 22, 2008
Allison Pittman's With Endless Sight ~ Reviewed
With Endless Sight
By Allison Pittman
Born into a life of privilege, fourteen-year-old Belinda never questions her security, even as she leaves Illinois with her family to discover new adventures in the West. But when disaster falls, Belinda is left wounded, weak, and alone. Her faith in God gives her the only strength she knows in a harsh new world.
Belinda's journey takes her to a snow-covered mining camp and a red-roofed brothel in the Wyoming mountains, but not before she must spend a lonely winter with the man who took away the life she knew. Throughout the grief and hope of a strange land, Belinda must decide if her faith is big enough to allow her to forgive.
The satisfying conclusion to the Crossroads of Grace series, 'With Endless Sight' offers a rich story of family, new beginnings, and the freedom that grace can bring.
Although this is the last book in a trilogy, this story was strong enough to stand on its own. The year is 1861. I was gripped by the story as Belinda's father packs up the family and moves them to the Wyoming Territories. They leave their family and comfort in Belleville, Illinois. Dad's a dreamer and this is an adventure of a life time; Belinda's mother is not convinced. She is a dutiful Christian wife who submits to her husband (but she doesn't have to like it). Her husband was so caught up in the new frontier and the opportunities of building something big.
The adventure began with a train ride, which was followed by a luxurious boat ride. Wow, things were grand!! Then came the wagon coach ride for days and days. Life as they had known it was over. As I read about all the discomforts of traveling this way for days on end, I never thought of all the uncomfortable things that could be encountered. It really made me appreciate what we have today which I sometimes take for granted. Even with gas prices being so high, I think I would rather ride a bike then a wagon coach.
Life as Belinda had known it, is definitely over when they get to their destination. There's nothing that she can do to bring it back. But, in spite of what her mother thought, she was determined to make the most of this adventure. Her cousin Phobe wasn't helping either. Her attitude was almost worse than her mothers.
Then something unforeseen happens to rock Belinda's world even further. It was totally a whole new world out here!! Her faith is being tested and she's really torn up to find out what she really believes. Her faith is wavering. Who is this God she has been serving? God is asking her to do the impossible. Can't He see she's in tremendous pain? She can't give any more! But, she does. She hears the Lord say "Be Still". God is asking her to forgive the very man who caused so much pain in her life. How could she? (She knew that God hadn't given her a spirit of fear, but of power, love and a sound mind.) She memorized the scripture, but putting it into practice was another story. It sounded great on paper, but now God was asking her to do the unthinkable. She had to let God work thru her it was the only way. "Be Still" she kept hearing. So, she waited.
How fast life can change. She didn't appreciate what she had when she had it. Food, nice clothing and a warm bed. It was the simple things in life that she appreciated now. Funny how that is. It was harder and harder to not let the circumstances of this life get her down. At one point she felt blessed to find shelter with "souls wounded as mine. (she thought) I didn't have to spell out my pain; they knew it all too well. And I could talk to God without opening my mouth." She learned how quickly one simple step could change your world and everything you thought you knew. Belinda was starting to believe that she had run out of choices. She had to play the cards that were dealt to her. But a friend reminds her that we always have choices – no one can take that away from you.
This is a book that helps me to be thankful for the little things in this life that I take for granted. When I was done reading this story, I was thankful that I wasn't a woman born during those times who had to be put through the hardships of daily life and how women are viewed. In many ways Allison Pittman reveals the struggles we deal with today, are not that much different from women back then. We are in a spiritual battle. We don't fight against flesh and blood put against principalities and powers – the bible says. Allison does a beautiful job of showing that struggle with the back drop of the wild, wild west. It's made me want to go back and read the other two books in this series.
Reviewed by: Nora St. Laurent
Book Club Servant Leader – ACFW Book Club Assistant