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review 2017-02-06 17:49
The Primrose Way by Jackie French Koller

In The Primrose Way by Jackie French Koller we find a detailed account of the first years of settlement in the Boston colony and its environs. Beginning in 1633, we find Rebekah onboard a ship from England just as they sight the land surrounding Massachusetts Bay. Rebekah is coming to join her father, an elder in the church. She is excited to reach the colony yet after leaving the comfort of a cozy home with servants she is somewhat taken aback at the conditions she finds in Boston. Things go downhill once more when she leaves the relatively civilized Boston for the new settlement of Agawam at the edge of the wilderness. Throughout the story Rebekah will deal with betrayal, loss, and love. But will she opt to return to England and the chance to be a bride or choose to remain in the colony and seek her true love?


The Primrose Way is a clever tapestry of fact and fiction that is skillfully woven by the author. Great detail into the everyday existence of both white settlers and Native Americans gives the reader a true picture of what life was like in the early 17th century. Easy reading that will move you through the story at a rapid pace but you'll want to slow down and savor each finely drawn scene. Don't gloss over the details - they add so much to the story. And while the story is placed in early America the characters deal with problems that are relevant today.


This book includes a glossary of Native American terms as well as a detailed bibliography for further reading. Teachers and students alike will enjoy The Primrose Way not only for its story but for the lessons it teaches. Highly recommended.


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review 2017-02-06 17:45
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus


One Thousand White Women is the story of May Dodd, a Chicago socialite from the 1800s, who signs on to the Federal government plan of Brides for Indians as a means to escape an insane asylum where her family has placed her because she had fallen in love with a man below her station. Through her journals May describes her life in the asylum and later her new life as a prairie bride of Chief Little Wolf of the Cheyennes. Along her journey she tells of her fellow brides who come from all walks of life. In return for their marriage to a Cheyenne and subsequent bearing of a mixed race baby or two, the government hopes to assimilate the Cheyennes into the white man’s culture. Along the way May meets an Army Captain and they fall in love but part, knowing that their love could never be. May continues on her journey, assimilating into the life of the Cheyennes as the third wife of Chief Little Wolf, all the while keeping a set of notebooks that become her journals.


The descriptions of life on the prairie are both breathtaking and brutal. But through it all May begins to question which side is the real savage – Native American or white Christian. A detailed and fast booking book, it will appear to the reader that the journals they are reading are true although the author states up front that everything contained in the book is fiction based on the true fact that such a Brides for Indians program was proposed but never acted upon.


I loved the different ‘brides’ who, although stereotypical, give much needed diversity to the story. And although we see Chief Little Wolf as a proud and courageous warrior we soon learn that he is so much more. Finely researched, cleverly written, and engrossing the reader will find this story difficult to put down.

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review 2016-08-18 04:05
Death's Gift
The City of Death - Sarwat Chadda

This is even darker than the first book. Ash's problems grow exponentially. He suffers a terrible personal loss that drives him over the edge and forces him to return to the place of origin of his dark powers: India. This time, he is following the trail of Alexander Savage, his nemesis with strange companions, the street thief John and Parvati, a half-demon girl with a very ancient heritage. Ash has to face that the person he was before will never fit again. Too much has happened, and integrating all his past selves into that mundane existence doesn't work.

I know little to nothing about Indian mythology and folklore, but this book fills in a lot of those gaps. Ash has powers endowed by the black goddess, Kali, and that means that he draws from death energies. A horrible thing when it becomes apparent that those closest to him give him even more energy. Ash is learning the cost of his abilities and what powers they give him. He gains the accumulated knowledge of his past lives, but must suffer through the violent memories of those past selves and for them not to take control of him. The people, history, and places of India are vividly illustrated in this book.

Chadda writes excellent action, and there are no opportunities to be bored. Ash is an ideal hero, likable and snarky, and while he's powerful, he has not allowed those powers to give him a sense of overpowering arrogance, knowing how flawed those abilities truly are.

This book isn't for those who balk at seeing young people in danger. Oh, there is plenty of danger for the youngsters in this book. Some blood and guts, but not over the top. Ash and his companions end up in some nasty scrapes, and the bad guys aren't afraid of harming a young boy, or anyone else who gets in the way.

The characterizations are complex and layered. There are no blacks and whites, but instead each person has a little of both inside of them. Ash has to decided what path he will take and what he is willing to sacrifice to defeat Alexander Savage and to gain his greatest hope in this book.

The narrator does an excellent job with the various accents, Indian and British, not stereotyping either. I have enjoyed both books on audiobook and I hope to continue listening to the series in the future.

This series is a distinctive one, touching on a culture that is not often explored in young adult books. While the ending isn't strictly a cliff-hanger, it ends in a way that will make readers eager and ready for the next book, myself included. I'm looking forward to more adventures with Ash Mistry.

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review 2014-11-01 18:52
The Uncommon Memories of Zeenat Querishi by Veena Nagpal

When I was asked if I would like to review this book, I immediately said yes because I thought it would be interesting to learn about the culture of India – a culture which is very different from the one in which I live. I began to read and was immediately immersed in the middle of an age-old disagreement between two Indian families – one Hindu and the other Muslim. Intriguing to me. However, as I read further I became hopelessly lost – more and more so as I continued to read. Several times I had to backtrack and reread several chapters in order to progress. This was annoying at the least. The author’s descriptions of localities and people was detailed, in fact sometimes too much so. I felt they detracted from the story trying to be told. Many times things were described and prayers or phrases offered up by characters without explanation for Western readers.


Sadly, I must admit defeat. I tried for over eight weeks to make my way through this book but only made it half way. I’m sure that the story is easily read and understood by those who have a greater understanding of the Indian culture. I can sense the depth of the story lurking in the second half of the book and hope someday to give it another chance.


Disclaimer: I was provided with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Source: marionmarchetto.com/wp/blog/page/2
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review 2011-10-29 14:43
"We are the people."
Here, Now, and Always: Voices of the First Peoples of the Southwest - Rina Swentzell,Luci Tapahonso,Tony Chavarria

"I am here.
I am here, now.
I have been here, always."
Edmund J. Ladd (Zuñi).


In 1989, the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture in Santa Fe, NM, began to put together a project designed to present Native American culture, traditions, and contemporary life from an Indian point of view: not looking in from the outside but looking out from the inside, not analyzing in the way of anthropologists but giving its Indian contributors themselves a place to raise their manifold voices. The process thus begun resulted in a fascinating permanent exhibition presenting all aspects of Native American life from its historic origins to modernity, from arts and crafts to farming and hunting, and from the sacred to the secular (if that distinction applies at all, for there is a profoundly spiritual element to every single act performed over the course of the day). Endowed with a multitude of exhibits – many of them of priceless value – and using traditional displays as well as a multimedia approach combining various audiovisual tools, from its inception the exhibition rested on one inimitable centerpiece: the multi-timbred choir of the First People's very own voices.


Bearing the same title as the exhibition and illustrated by numerous photos, "Here, Now, and Always" provides an additional forum for these voices and sends them out into the world at large. "Listen carefully. Let the stories carry you to the center created by each Native community. Here, at the intersection of sky and earth, you will find the Southwest's people," the museum's former archeology curator, Sarah Schlanger, is quoted at the end of the introductory text to the book's first part, "Ancestors." And thus, the book's Diné (Navajo), Hopi, Zuñi, Apache, Tohono O'odham (Pima) and manifold Pueblo contributors become messengers of their respective peoples; talking about Earth Mother, Sun Father, Changing Woman, Spider Woman and Spider Man, Salt Woman, the Great Spirit, the formation of the first clans and their wanderings, the sacred places marking their world and the meaning of home and community, the interrelation of the elements and man's interaction with them, the significance of clay, salt, corn, and tobacco, of minerals and precious stones, and of farming and hunting, the cycles of life, time, and the seasons, the importance of language, oral tradition, and sacred ceremonies in cultural preservation, and obstacles overcome and new challenges arising.


Read more on my own website, ThemisAthena.info.


Preview also cross-posted on Leafmarks.

Source: www.themisathena.info/west/firstnations.html#HereNowAlways
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