What Once We Loved

Written by Jane Kirkpatrick
Review by Jetta Carol Culpepper

Poverty Flat, California during the fall of 1853 is where Ruth Martin’s fishing experience opens the third volume in the Kinship and Courage trilogy. It continues the daily lives of eleven frontier women traveling the Oregon Trail. The physical strength and undaunted courage of these women, who were brought together by chance in All Together in One Place, may inspire readers. Here are pioneer heroines who maintain cherished friendships as they pursue dreams. Death has robbed each of a husband, except for the wife of the insane Zane Randolph. He troubles various people throughout the story. The tale of each woman’s migration is told in a separate story, which is connected to that of the others by the women’s supportive relationships.

The narrative reflects living conditions, troubles, social inequalities, and religious faith typical of the times. Historical details, including conflicts between diverse peoples — natives, Chinese, and new settlers — is carefully woven into the plot. Travel during pioneer times is explained with such intimate clarity that readers will become enthralled. This book is highly recommended either as a single volume or as a sequel.