“Woman of Courage” by Wanda E. Brunstetter

“Woman of Courage” is aptly named as it follows the path of a jilted Quaker woman to Oregon Territory to be a missionary to the Nez Percé tribe. Actually, it could just as well be called WomEn of Courage, as there are several women (and a couple men’s) stories interwoven in it. While having more than one character’s story and thoughts revealed made for a broader perspective of the characters, it made me wonder who the main character really was. Was it:

Amanda Pearson, a Quaker by birth and missionary by choice who survives nearly insurmountable events by the grace of the God she holds dear?

Mary Yellow Bird, the young Nez Percé wife of a white trapper, who had been taken from her home tribe and sold to him for blankets and a gun?

Buck McFadden, a half-breed Nez Percé who is completely closed off to Christianity after a difficult past?

Jim Breck, the white trapper who was forced to marry an Indian woman though she could never have a place in his heart?

Or another?

The changes in perspective made the story feel it moved slowly even as it covered months of time. Sudden misfortune was a reoccurring theme (though she managed to keep some variety), but the resolution of some of the situations was the same or similar. Once in a while it felt as though a history lesson was taking place. While it is believable that a new missionary would use well-known passages and assertions to share the Gospel, I couldn’t quite believe her converts were moved by her words (more than her actions), as they seemed cliché at times given their pasts. Also, though I am no expert in how Quakers (of that day spoke), I wasn’t sure about the ‘voice’ of the Quakers; it felt like thee’s and thou’s were thrown into phrases we might use today. I suppose I assumed that someone using King James English would use it consistently.

The book does give its readers a good view of the Rockies, of the peoples that used to live there and the situations they were often forced to face; and it shows how God can take the difficult things in life and make something good come of it.

Thank you to NetGalley (https://www.netgalley.com/) and Barbour Publishing for providing me with this book to read and review.


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