Sunday, August 18, 2013

Burning Sky by Lori Benton ~ review

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: WaterBrook Press (August 6, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307731472
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307731470

This book is also available as an ebook.

“I remember the borders of our land, though I have been gone from them nearly half the moons of my life. But who there will remember me? What I have seen, what I have done, it has changed me.

I am the place where two rivers meet, silted with upheaval and loss.

Yet memory of our land is a clear stream. I shall know it as a mother knows the faces of her children. It may be I will find me there.“

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?

My take on this book:
The story opens with Wilhemina “Willa” Obenchain returning to her family homestead in New York. Turns out she had been kidnapped at the age of fourteen by Mohawk Indians. She became Burning Sky, and became a part of the Mohawk tribe, having children and a family.When something happens to her Mohawk family she decides it's time to go back to the family she was taken from because time couldn't erase the memory of who she was, and now she hopes that she will be welcomed home. When she arrives at her father's farm though she doesn't find what she expects, instead she finds a wounded man, and a dog. Her parents are missing and it's obvious the farm hasn't been taken care of. As she tries to make sense of what has happened she decides to try and get the farm in order, thing is someone else wants the property. Will she figure out what happened to her parents. What path will Willa ultimately choose, will she return to the Mohawk tribe or will she find her place in the white world?

Ms. Benton creates a compelling story of frontier life that easily drew me in. The author allowed me to feel the prejudices that were often the norm during the timeframe in which this book was written.The characters literally jump off the pages of this story. Willa is such a strong female lead.To return home to find that her family is gone, and that the  farm is to be sold. The person planning to buy it is someone that she just might have married had she not been kidnapped. She returns  to a village where she is  judged because she had an Indian husband and children. I found the romantic element of the story to be well done, and I couldn't help but wonder who Willa might ultimately end up with. A story filled with historical detail that brings the time period to life, along with compelling characters,romance and an inspirational bent made this a great first novel by Lori Benton. 

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review.

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