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One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix, a Novel


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ISBN13: 9781400074310
ISBN10: 1400074312
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Sheila Deeth, July 19, 2013 (view all comments by Sheila Deeth)
Dorothea Dix just wants a better life for her family, but the grandmother she turns to for help seems to have other plans, and soon the teenage girl finds herself “standing in the light of luxury” while feeling “she belonged in the shadows.”

There are so many things for Dolly to learn in Jane Kirkpatrick’s One Glorious Ambition. But Dolly’s own ambitions might not quite match those of the kindly relatives training her. Feeling “like milkweed in a pure pasture,” she stands inches taller than the other girls--taller too than the suitors they’re supposed to attract. But fashion dictates her hair, her clothes and her learning--fashions that the author has beautifully researched and brings to life in her words.

Readers who’ve never heard of Dorothea Dix will soon find themselves drawn to her, recognizing her importance in the beginning of schools for the poor, and her concern for the mentally ill--“As I am homeless, I will create homes for the insane,” Dorothea declares in one letter. Those who know the history, meanwhile, will delight in a vividly real recreation of time, character and place. And readers interested in the politics of the era will be endlessly fascinated by the author’s depiction of senators, and process.

Chapters are short and easily read. The writing’s smooth, with convincing dialog and delightful historical detail. And the hand Dolly uses in instructing her students is matched perfectly by the author’s light touch with wise lessons learned. Boston society, politics, Southern slavery, steamers to Liverpool, and a world where women’s choices are seemingly limited to men’s protection, all come to life in this story that spans continents, revives history, and invites both question and thought.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.
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lanehillhouse, March 23, 2013 (view all comments by lanehillhouse)
Saturday, March 23, 2013
One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix ~ A Novel by Jane Kirkpatrick, ©2013

It's time, it's time! A new novel by Jane Kirkpatrick! Historical Fiction is my very favorite genre. This book is about Dorothea Dix, best known for her care reform for mentally ill patients.

As ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
--Matthew 25:40

I love the thoroughness of Jane Kirkpatrick's novels. I am eager to join in discovering the life of Dorothea Dix.

Dorothea Dix had a strong undertaking of freedom for others to the greatest of her ability. An advocate where others turned away.

My Review:
One Glorious Ambition begins sooner than she realizes. Dorothea Dix strives to find her place. She is compassionate and caring. She longs to shelter her brothers but finds that she must leave them with the knowledge of her love for them and her openness to receive them wherever she is. She was motivated in schooling young girls, to educate and train them in reaching their full potential in whatever chosen as their life goal. She wore herself to a frazzle with all of the classes she held and wanting the accomplishments for her students. In the late afternoons and evenings she opened her carriage house school where she taught those who could not pay for their education.

Give me to know that but one human being has been made better by my precepts, more virtuous by my example, and I shall possess a treasure that the world can never take from me.
--Dorothea Dix, One Glorious Ambition, 88

As much as she struggled, she was often misunderstood in her striving to elevate others in preference to herself. She became quite ill and came under the care of William and Elizabeth Rathbone at their Greenbank estate home. Regaining her health, she sees modeled in those around her:

The people hovering around the central fires at Greenbank were interested in the world around them and active in their pursuit of ministry without being demanding of others. They paced themselves in their work and thus had much to draw on for the care of others. They gave their time, their strengths, as well as their money. God's love, that's what should burn the fire in the hearth of a home.
--Ibid., 160

Places you have never imagined. Through turns of events, Dorothea is asked to take a Sunday school in an East Cambridge jail.

Perhaps these women didn't know their purpose, hadn't been given the news that they were loved by one greater than all others, a love that could help them make a better life when they left this place.
--Ibid., 184

Before leaving, Dorothea goes to the building across the way; the one she had been warned against.

If I am cold, they are cold; if I am weary,
they are distressed; if I am alone, they are
--Dorothea Dix

In that moment, Dorothea knew: it was beyond them to change by themselves. They could not help it, might never change at all, but each of them deserved to be treated with kindness, care, hope. She could see that now. They needed others--they needed her.
--Ibid., 191

It has always amazed me how the very small thing I was likely even unaware of, is what the Lord used in a larger way later in my life. Prepared in advance for what He had for me to do. Dorothea's life purpose is becoming very clear to her. What she avoided has now become her champion. She has discovered her place in His path before her.

Give me one glorious ambition for my life
To know and follow hard after You
--Mark Altrogge,
"One Pure and Holy Passion"

One Glorious Ambition - Jane Kirkpatrick
Format: Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9781400074310
Release: April 2, 2013
Fiction - Historical
One Glorious Ambition
by Jane Kirkpatrick

JANE KIRKPATRICK has authored more than twenty books, including The Daughter's Walk and Where Lilacs Still Bloom. A lively speaker, Jane is a frequent keynote presenter for conferences, women's retreats, fund-raisers, and workshops. Jane believes that our lives are the stories that others read first, and she encourages groups to discover the power of their own stories to divinely heal and transform. She lives with her husband., Jerry, in Central Oregon.
Introducing Jane Kirkpatrick, a speaking sample ~ wouldn't it be fun to sit under Jane's tutelage?
I so enjoy her blog posts. As an author, speaker, and mental health professional, she is well-versed. "To fit things into tight places." This part of the 8-minutes-only of her talk, caught my attention. This is what she has done! So many intricate, delicate words, woven into lives that thread into ours!
Thank you, Jane Kirkpatrick, for your wonderful writing style expressed through life. Strength and flexibility.

Author, Jane Kirkpatrick
Most of my novels are based on the lives of historical women and this woman, Dorothea Dix, engaged me as she was an early reformer for mental health, something I've been involved with myself for many, many years. This quote of Dorothea's is also an inspiring thought:
"In a world where there is so much to be done.
I felt strongly impressed that there must be something for me to do."
~Dorothea Dix 1802-1887.

Book Description:
One dedicated voice to the suffering of many
Born to an unavailable mother and an abusive father, Dorothea Dix longs simply to protect and care for her younger brothers, Charles and Joseph. But at just fourteen, she is separated from them and sent to live with relatives to be raised properly. Lonely and uncertain, Dorothea discovers that she does not possess the ability to accept the social expectations imposed on her gender and she desires to accomplish something more than finding a suitable mate.
Yearning to fulfill her God-given purpose, Dorothea finds she has a gift for teaching and writing. Her pupils become a kind of family, hearts to nurture, but long bouts of illness end her teaching and Dorothea is adrift again. It’s an unexpected visit to a prison housing the mentally ill that ignites an unending fire in Dorothea’s heart�"and sets her on a journey that will take her across the nation, into the halls of the Capitol, befriending presidents and lawmakers, always fighting to relieve the suffering of what Scripture deems, the least of these.

***Thank you to WaterBrook Multnomah blogging for Books for sending me an Advance Reading Copy of Jane Kirkpatrick's novel, One Glorious Ambition, in exchange for a review in my own words. This novel is available for pre-order and will be released on April 2, 2013.***
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Product Details

The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix, a Novel
Kirkpatrick, Jane
Waterbrook Press
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:

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One Glorious Ambition: The Compassionate Crusade of Dorothea Dix, a Novel Used Trade Paper
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$10.50 In Stock
Product details 400 pages Waterbrook Press - English 9781400074310 Reviews:
"Review" by , “Jane Kirkpatrick’s ability to probe the human spirit makes One Glorious Ambition a soaring novel of love, compassion, and duty. Born a nineteenth-century woman with few rights, Dorothea Dix nonetheless challenged the nation’s most powerful men to provide humane treatment for the hopeless — the retarded and insane. In Kirkpatrick’s skillful hands, One Glorious Ambition inspires like few other novels.”
"Review" by , One Glorious Ambition is a compelling novelization of Dorothea Dix’s crusade on behalf of the mentally ill. Kirkpatrick’s painstaking documentation and customary attention to historical detail shine here, and the connections between Dix’s personal relationships and her life’s work stand out. Dix is a worthy American heroine. The interview section at the end of the book adds many fascinating nuggets to the story.”
"Review" by , “Jane Kirkpatrick has the rare ability to use what’s known about historical women as the foundation for compelling historical fiction. Here, Kirkpatrick shines her light on the remarkable life of Dorothea Dix, seamlessly blending fact and fiction to illuminate Dix’s journey from a girl struggling to save her family to a woman championing all those in need. Dorothea Dix can still inform and inspire modern readers, and One Glorious Ambition is a story to be treasured.”
"Review" by , “Jane Kirkpatrick uses her considerable writing talents to bring Dorothea Dix to life in this exciting historical novel. In doing so, Kirkpatrick gives a voice and face not only to a heroic crusader but also to Americans seldom seen or heard in our society — those living with mental disorders. Her fiction reads like fact because it describes a campaign that still needs to be waged and exposes societal flaws that have yet to be addressed.”
"Review" by , “Thank you, Jane, for personally introducing me to Dorothea in your book One Glorious Ambition. It is a joyful experience to come to actually know someone I knew so much about. My admiration of Dorothea Dix and her work has been deepened by your work, Jane.”
"Review" by , “A must-read! I was moved to tears by the sense of history, tragedy, and hope of Dorothea’s life work accomplished on behalf of people with mental health challenges. Every human being should know Dorothea Dix’s story. Jane Kirkpatrick captures it magnificently!”
"Review" by , “Read this book and have Dorothea Dix transform your life. Be uplifted not simply by the grand trajectory of Dix’s singular journey but by the irresistible voice that Jane Kirkpatrick compels you to hear. A deeply sensitive and intelligent young woman overcomes trenchant pain and social barriers to fight tirelessly for those who have neither a voice nor an advocate. Her impossible life is unraveled and liberated in this novel. And read with a sense of urgency, for the battles fought by Dorothea Dix more than a century ago are very much in need of being waged again.” Charles Kiselyak, producer and director of award-winning films including Completely Cuckoo, Fearful Symmetry, and A Constant Forge
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