A Light in the Wilderness: A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick is a fictionalized account based on the true story of Letitia Carson, a freed slave who went west with wagons on the Oregon trail.
In 1842, Letitia leaves Kentucky for Missouri and the hopes of a better life as a freed slave. A few years later, she marries a white man and realizes life was not as carefree as she hoped. She and her husband join a wagon train heading toward Oregon. Even though she was free, Letitia knew her freedom would always be suspect. She knew she had to protect her papers showing her freedom at all costs, especially since she was unable to read.
A Light in the Wilderness spans several years and an arduous journey in a wagon train as it traces the life of Letitia Carson.
At times, the narrative seemed a little heavy handed, with more of a telling rather than showing the story. At other times, the account appears disjointed, mentioning random characters early on, before introducing them much later in the book.
Overall, Jane Kirkpatrick does a fine job of mixing a well-researched history with a fictional basis to create an interesting story for a history buff.