America has a dark history that many of us either are unaware of, choose to ignore, or do not see the importance of remembering and understanding. In other words, it’s easy to deny a violent past when the people who suffered were standing in the way of European colonization and later the imperialism of the United States.
This book dives into the latter part of my statement, and more specifically at the Manifest Destiny that occurred once the United States was free from their English overlords.
The research that went into developing this book is truly amazing. The thoughtfulness and the integration of various themes and historical facts that are not well-known was brilliant.
The characters themselves are not entrancing. They were not terrible, but they were not the highlight of this book. Rather the twists and turns this story took were what made it a joy to read. From exploring the once great nation of the Cherokee and how many of its people attempted to assimilate to the white man’s way as a means of ensuring their continued existence. How this constantly backfired, with the white man breaking promises at every turn. The forced relocation of the tribes and the atrocities and continued genocide they experienced during their journeys; the Trail of Tears. The intermixing that occurred between the Cherokee and African slaves. The refreshing “lack” of antisemitism in the United States that was characteristic of Europe at the time. The “push” and “pull” factors that made many people leave Europe for the promise of better opportunities in the U.S. The traditional ways of the Cherokee, the matriarchal values that clashed with the patriarchal values of Western culture.
I would definitely recommend this book to any lover of historical fiction, particularly one who is looking to expand their knowledge of the history just preceding the Trail of Tears. Although I did not fall in love with any of the characters, there is a lovely love-story that is intertwined into the novel that I appreciated. You discover the secrets of this love story sooner than one would expect, but the early resolution of the love story does not take away from the remaining part of the book.
As a fun plus, this book’s setting is primarily in North Carolina, which is a state I feel often gets forgotten in these historical fiction books of the early days of the United States.