Saturday, December 21, 2013

New Review: Genevieve Graham’s SOMEWHERE TO DREAM – The Saga of the American Frontier Continues with Adelaide’s Story

The Saga of the American Frontier Continues with Adelaide’s Story. Set entirely in America, beginning in 1746, it is the story of 16-year-old Adelaide, who was taken captive by the Cherokees when her mother and younger sister Ruth were killed in a brutal attack (not the Cherokees). Adelaide and her remaining sister, Maggie, now live among the Indians who rescued them. Very soon the girls’ gifts of sight from dreams becomes known. In turn, the Indians accept the sisters into their tribe and gift them with their language, which the girls immediately understand.

After the story opens Maggie disappears without explanation and Adelaide is left alone with her life long fears, fears that her dreams will be discovered, and that she will be considered a witch. But the Indians expect her to use her gift. When a white “warrior” named Jesse Black is claimed by the tribe to replace a fallen brave, Adelaide becomes the white man’s link to the tribe he hates—and unbeknownst to Jesse--she becomes his betrothed, notwithstanding she feels she can never marry because of what happened to her.

The story is told in mixed styles, both first and third person: the first ten chapters in the first person (in Adelaide’s perspective); and then, beginning in chapter 11, in the third person (from Jesse’s perspective); and after that, alternating. In chapter 24, Adelaide’s sister, Maggie suddenly enters the picture again, now married to a Scot. If you haven’t read UNDER THE SAME SKY, this is jarring and hence, I do not recommend reading this as a stand alone. (Suddenly there are Scots in the picture and we have no prior knowledge of them or what happened to Maggie.)

This is a story of the clash of two cultures, white and Indian, and the mistrust that existed on both sides. Graham, who is a good storyteller, does not spare us the torture inflicted by both Indian and white man and some of the scenes are graphic and brutal. Jesse’s father is a cruel, twisted man who has inflicted great harm on Jesse and others. Yet there is the wonderful frontier doctor (“Doc”) who brings affection and scholarly learning into Jesse’s young life, making him a better man. Adelaide struggles with fear for much of the book, but finally is able to take her place notwithstanding, bridging both Indian and white cultures. It's an unusual romance from the American frontier.

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