This book is also available as an e book.
As the War of 1812 approached, the Creek Indian Nation was in the middle of a civil war. They fought brutally between themselves, as well as with the white settlers who were encroaching upon tribal land.
It was during this time Elly's family moved to the eastern Mississippi Territory for the promise of low-cost land and fertile soil. She had no idea they were moving into Creek territory - into the middle of a hornet's nest. Tafv's band of warriors taunted them, stealing their property, killing their animals, and destroying their livelihood. Just when the family thought things couldn't get any worse, during one of the Indian raids as Elly's husband chased the Indians away from the farm, Tafv's young son was killed in the pursuit. Tafv vowed revenge against Elly's family, and a final showdown was imminent.
"Elly Hays" is based on the real-life story of Elizabeth Hays Rodgers and is the epic clash between a fearless warrior with nothing to lose and a young mother on the verge of losing everything.
My take on this book:
Elly Hays is a story that takes place in the early 1800's. The book opens with a speech from Tecumseh urging the Creek Village in the Mississippi Territory where Tafv and his son live to join forces with him and go to war against the white man. Thing is many of the Creek have started adopting the white man's way even marrying their women, so Tafv is torn about how to handle the problem. Meanwhile in Tennessee James Rodgers has heard about cheap government land in Creek territory and convinces his wife Elly to move their eleven children there. When they arrive they are faced with aggravation from the Creek, because Tafv's plan is to run them off instead of killing them, hoping that they will go away and tell other whites how difficult it is to live on Creek land. The Rodger's are a tenacious bunch though and don't go easily, but when Tafv's only son is killed he vows to seek revenge against the Rodgers.
Elly Hays by Lori Crane is a rare gem because it's a fictionalized story based on a real family that lived during the 1800's. What makes it so unique is the way Ms. Crane portrayed the Indians in this story. Instead of portraying them as savages she allows us to glimpse them as real people with real feelings, who grieve over losses just as the white man did. Tafv was a brave warrior, but more than that he was a caring individual that felt hurt and grieved deeply for those he lost. She provides insight into the plight that the Native American must have felt during this time period as they desperately tried to figure out a way to hold on to their way of life. Unfortunately the Rodgers family found themselves in the middle of this struggle. I often felt like James was a bit naive but Elly was such a strong character, although the author did allow us to experience her hurts and fears. Smoothly written, the chapters easily transition between the Elly and her family and the issues with Tafv and his clan. It was easy to see that Ms. Crane really did her research with this one, because she provides rich detail that truly allows the reader to feel as if they are part of the time she is describing. A historically rich tale where there are really no bad guys, instead the author allowed me to see both sides. The epilogue and author notes added to this story in my opinion because it allowed me to know what happened after the story. Historical fiction where there is plenty of truth woven in made Elly Hays a page turning read for me.
Reviewed for Readersfavorite.com