This book intrigued me for one reason—it sounded different. This is an ‘Own Voices’ book so I loved that it would be more about people on the fringes and as a historian this book held a lot of appeal to me.
It weaves Native American culture with a more traditional family narrative all set in a post Civil War world to create something unique and new. Based on that promise, I was eager to read this and see how it all worked together.
I haven’t read a lot of books set on the frontier or with Native American culture mixed in, so something like this book appealed to my curious side. Not to mention this cover is beautiful and eye catching so I didn’t want to miss out on it!
It also helps that the author was a finalist for the Pulizter Prize which says to me that it would be a well written book.
It’s the early spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West. A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash, and a preacher have all gone missing. Cherokee America Singer, known as “Check,” a wealthy farmer, mother of five boys, and soon-to-be widow, is not amused.
In this epic of the American frontier, several plots intertwine around the heroic and resolute Check: her son is caught in a compromising position that results in murder; a neighbor disappears; another man is killed. The tension mounts and the violence escalates as Check’s mixed race family, friends, and neighbors come together to protect their community—and painfully expel one of their own.
Cherokee America vividly, and often with humor, explores the bonds—of blood and place, of buried histories and half-told tales, of past grief and present injury—that connect a colorful, eclectic cast of characters, anchored by the clever, determined, and unforgettable Check (summary from Goodreads).
This book had a lot going on. It was dense and tedious at times. There were a number of characters to keep track of so that was a bit of a distraction for me and it started a little on the slow side. I felt like I was so worried about who was related to who for the first third of the book until it finally became familiar. I have seen a few others comment on the same issue and I will admit, it was a struggle at first.
But eventually the characters became familiar and the list of how they are related helped a lot, and then the story started picking up and eventually I became engrossed in everything that was going on. I loved the backdrop of a post Civil War era. As I am sure many of you know, I am a huge Civil War buff, but mostly as it pertains to the South and nursing. I have done some research on frontier America but my research into Indian culture is extremely limited, so with this book I found something new and fresh to relish in during one of my favorite eras of American History.
This isn’t a book that you want to rush through. I did aggressively read this one admittedly, but mostly because I was eager to make headway with it. I thought the research the author poured into this book was commendable and did the time period, culture, and character justice. I especially loved Check, I thought she was an interesting character, she was strong and independent in a time when women had to rely on their man, she didn’t and I found her character fresh and invigorating. However, there was just so much going on for me that I periodically stalled in my reading efforts. I think it would have helped if all of the plot points to characters ended up connecting some how but sometimes it just didn’t have any bearing on the overall narrative.
In the end I went with 3 stars for this one. It was good and definitely worth a read especially if you are looking for an Own Voices type of book, but just be prepared that there is a lot going on in this one.
Book Info and Rating
VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR AND GIVEAWAY
Tuesday, February 19
Feature at Coffee and Ink
Tuesday, February 26
Review at Jennifer Silverwood’s Blog
Wednesday, February 27
Review at The Lit Bitch
Thursday, February 28
Review at Tar Heel Reader
Friday, March 1
Feature at View from the Birdhouse
Monday, March 4
Review at Amy’s Booket List
Friday, March 8
Interview at The Old Shelter
Monday, March 11
Interview at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, March 13
Review at Passages to the Past
During the Blog Tour we will be giving away five copies of Cherokee America by Margaret Verble! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
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