Title: Where Snowy Owl Sleeps
Series: Blessings #9
Author: Mimi Milan
Published Date: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Eaton House
Page Count: 119 pages
Source: Own Copy
Date Read: June 12, 2020
This is the second book in the mini-series Milan wrote for the Blessings series. The other two books are Dueling the Desperado (Blessings #4) and Birth of the Butterfly (Blessings #11). I recommend reading these three books in order of appearance. Also, please note that the author makes clear that unlike her previous historical romances, this one is not an own voices story. Ms. Milan does identify as an Indigenous person but her tribe is not the one featured in the story; she did a lot of research and worked hard to represent the Miwok people. FWIW, I think she did a wonderful job.
Kela Tukumu ("Snowy Owl" in the Miwok language) is a member of the Miwok tribe that lives a few miles from the town of Blessings. She is in the running to take over for the current tribe healer, who is also like a father figure to her. He, along with her grandmother, were the ones to raise her when her parents died. She is getting pushback from other tribesman, who judge her for not already being married with kids and for wanting the healer position. Basically, Snowy Owl is the black sheep of her tribe.
Then there is Dr. Jonathan Edwards, the town's doctor and a widow with two kids. His wife died by possibly by a Native American, possibly by a white guy who made the murder look like it was done by a NA. Anyway she is dead and he is not dealing with it very well - getting drunk and working overtime. He has Emmy, a black woman who is part nanny/part cook/part housekeeper/part the person who has to occasionally kick the doctor's ass when his drinking gets out of control. Semi-spoiler: Emmy gets her own romance as the subplot with one of Snowy Owl's tribesman.
Snowy Owl works alongside Jonathan to learn more about Western medicine as well as start a cultural bridge/Old West version of diplomacy. They do clinic work as well as go on house calls, using whatever medicine/treatments work in that particular situation. As they work, they start to admire, then fall in love with each other. This relationship takes a turn when Jonathan's son gets sick and needs the help of the tribe's healer and Snowy Owl. It is waiting for the son to get better that the two make their relationship official.
The bad guys aren't an obstacle to the relationship; the bad guys are just the town's assholes and the particular bad guy gets it in the end by an unlikely ally who is just done with his shit. In fact, all the bad guys get it in the end from their own foolishness; meanwhile, the Miwok and the townspeople work together to solve issues and ignore the bad guys. That seems more realistic than the hero having to confront the bad guy over deeds done. And yet the bad guys' plotline and the hero/heroine's plotline intersect in a natural way.
We get a long look at Miguel and Chel from book four in the beginning of the book and a quick peek at the couple in the third book, yet neither felt shoe-horned; it was a seamless interaction as all the people live in the same town. Bring on book three and the end of the mystery!