EVERYTHING SHE DIDN'T SAY by Jane Kirkpatrick, reviewed by Trixi Oberembt
“A memoir is no place to whine but rather give us wisdom we can all share without having to go through the pain ourselves.”
“This book is lovingly dedicated to my dear husband Robert E. Strahorn whose constant chum and companion it has been my greatest joy to be for more than thirty years in the conquering of the wilderness. ~ Carrie Adell Strahorn (dedication page from Fifteen Thousand Miles by Stage, volume 1.)”
While this is a true account of Robert and Carrie “Dell” Strahorns' life, it is also written with the literary license to bring these two people to life. Following along their many years of traveling to birth towns and rail lines from 1877 to 1925. Kirkpatrick has the wondrous ability to spotlight figures in history that you would not otherwise read about.
From various research sources she gleans fact and turns it into fiction. It's mostly from Dell's point of view and her inner musings as she travels along with her husband. There are things she would never speak aloud to him and the title of the book is a perfect fit. You'll glimpse her disappointment, heartache, broken dreams, and most inner desires of her heart. But you'll also see her courageous and adventurous spirit and the unconditional support of her husband. Their love is strong and can cushion anything life throws at them.
I loved following along with them and learning how their vast influence formed the various railroads around the country. Making history in our own modern world! I also loved how the author incorporated snippets from Dell's memoir before each chapter. You got a feel for what she was like and how she felt. This makes me want to search it out to read myself! In short, Kirkpatrick is one of my top favorite historical writers and I've never read a book I didn't like by her. She always breathes life into dusty books, diaries or memoirs for me!
*I received a copy of this book from Revell and Netgalley and was under no obligation to leave a favorable review. All opinions are my own. *
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.
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