By Linda Ulleseit
Published by: She Writes Press (Available June 2023)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Note: We received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
“The tears of nations run in the river, and the river remembers.”
Kimber: So, can we just cut to the chase here and recommend plopping down with this book and a hot cuppa – or maybe a nice rib eye steak? Huh? Huh? Can we? Can we?
Mom: Hang on a min, Kimmi! Let’s get to the review first.
Kimber: Here a min, there a min, everywhere a min, min…
Wait. Where were we? Oh yeah. The Michigan Territory. 1830s-ish. Three women. Three backgrounds, cultures, and stories. All yearn for freedom:
- Harriet Robinson is a slave in a free state.
- Samantha Lockwood fled west in defiance of her father’s matrimonial wishes and winds up trapped in a loveless marriage to a jerk.
- Day Sets is a proud and independent Dakota or “Mdewakanton.”
At the confluence of three cultures, each woman longs for a brighter future for her daughter.
Interweaving the lives, loves, and POVs of three distinctly different female characters into a fascinating tale of historical fiction ranks right up there with rushing in to where angels fear to tread. But Ulleseit pulls it off. What emerges is a skillful and compelling portrait of three strong women facing the unique challenges of frontier life in the 1830s.
The women battle loneliness, isolation, hunger, cold, disease, pestilence, ignorance, betrayal, despair, and galactic ineptitude on the part of pretty much everything related to “government.” Resilient and resolute, each woman finds the strength and courage to not just survive but to thrive in an often overwhelming and sometimes hostile new land in this richly textured and well-crafted work of historical fiction
Pssst! Make sure you read the Historical Notes on page 335 – 338. There will be a quiz on Friday. Bonus points is you try the recipe for Samantha’s Honey Cookies.
Kimber: This story is really about my new hero, Nero. He’s a 100+ pound black Newfoundland. (But I can take him any day of the week and twice on Sunday. Just sayin’. Mom: Good thing that big fella’s such a sweetheart. Insert eye roll here.)
One of us found this book slow going at first. Probably cuz she kept getting distracted by a sweet little furry face. But it gathers steam quickly, racing toward an unforgettable ending. Or maybe it’s a beginning….? (Alert readers will recognize a number of historical figures who figure prominently in later years. These include “Jeff Davis” and Harriet’s husband, Etheldred.)
Epic in its sweep and breathtaking in its beauty, The River Remembers flows as swift and strong as the Mississippi, “the mother of rivers.” Yea, verily. This one’s a keeper.