I told myself I wasn’t allowed to buy/download anymore books until I made it through at least 10 of the books in my TBR. Since I have the self control of a five year old around a cookie jar when it comes to books, that rule was thrown out the window. But I justified it by telling myself I had a long plane ride ahead of me, so it was okay. Which book did I break the rule for? Burning Sky by Lori Benton.
“She was adrift between two lives, unable to grieve. Unable to hope.”
Benton’s debut novel can best be described as a symphony, each page stirring your heart. In some ways I knew what to expect, especially since I read so many beaming reviews about it, but my heart came out with more beauty than I expected.
Abducted by Mohawk Indians at fourteen and renamed Burning Sky, Willa Obenchain is driven to return to her family’s New York frontier homestead after many years building a life with the People. At the boundary of her father’s property, Willa discovers a wounded Scotsman lying in her path. Feeling obliged to nurse his injuries, the two quickly find much has changed during her twelve-year absence—her childhood home is in disrepair, her missing parents are rumored to be Tories, and the young Richard Waring she once admired is now grown into a man twisted by the horrors of war and claiming ownership of the Obenchain land.
When her Mohawk brother arrives and questions her place in the white world, the cultural divide blurs Willa’s vision. Can she follow Tames-His-Horse back to the People now that she is no longer Burning Sky? And what about Neil MacGregor, the kind and loyal botanist who does not fit into in her plan for a solitary life, yet is now helping her revive her farm? In the aftermath of the Revolutionary War, strong feelings against “savages” abound in the nearby village of Shiloh, leaving Willa’s safety unsure.
Willa is a woman caught between two worlds. As tensions rise, challenging her shielded heart, the woman called Burning Sky must find a new courage–the courage to again risk embracing the blessings the Almighty wants to bestow. Is she brave enough to love again?
Like so many during that time, Willa’s life wasn’t black and white. There’s countless stories where women were abducted, yet they grew to love and care for their life as a Native American. The internal struggle Benton showed through Willa’s character, while was sometimes painful, was real. Along with the actions of the other characters. It wasn’t an easy or simplistic time in history, but instead interwoven, messy & complex, yet when given the chance, beautiful.
Have y’all been able to read this one? How about other tales of this time period (like the miniseries Into the West)?
On a completely random side note, did you know with iBooks you can copy and paste sections?? Perfect for when I find a quote I love. I gotta say Kindle, on this aspect they got you beat.