Burning Sky by Lori Benton
WaterBrook Press (August 6, 2013) 416 pages
"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 Rating: 4.5/5 stars
The Native American aspect of this book is what pulled my interest its way. I didn't know much about the plot before I began reading other than that. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't more to the Native American aspect. There are a few main characters that are Native American, and a couple background characters that are so, but we don't get to see the true Native American lifestyle within its pages. There are references to certain traditions and customs made, though, which I enjoyed.
All of that said, my disappointment with anything in relation to this book was very slight! This is a beautiful novel! It was very different that what I expected, but still a gorgeous story. There IS a love triangle within this book. I know some people hate those things, but as long as the triangle consists of 2 worthy "opponents", I love a good love triangle included in a book. It keeps me guessing and breaks up the predictability of the story. The two men vying for Willa's affections couldn't have been more worthy! As always, I was also disappointed that my pick didn't win. My pick in a love triangle almost *never* wins. ;) Willa still gets a great guy, though!
While the romance IS a big part of this story, there's so much more going on. It's not a "light and fluffy" read by any stretch. There's hate and evilness and violence that Willa(and others) have to deal with. There's a great deal of side stories happening alongside Willa's story. Her childhood, and now adult friend, Anni, is expecting. She's worried! There's Francis, Anni's brother, that has many secrets, but can't express himself the way others would expect. Then there's Richard, the young man that Willa would have married if not kidnapped. The war and violence he's seen since Willa's parting has changed him, but everyone is having a hard time accepting that change.
If you're looking for a light and fluffy romance, you won't find it within these pages. If you're looking for a complex story full of healing and forgiveness, with a side of romance, then this might just be a great pick for you. I give it a highly recommended!
*I was provided an ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.