HOME AT CHESTNUT CREEK by Laura Drake

HOME AT CHESTNUT CREEK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A woman on the run is attracted to a Navajo man and wishes she could make a new life for herself in Unforgiven, New Mexico.

Nevada Sweet has been plagued by bad luck and bad decisions. A few years earlier in Houston, she crossed a cartoonishly evil cartel leader and has been on the run ever since. After a hint that he’s on her trail, she runs away to New Mexico hoping to find work at a diner owned by an old friend. Nevada plans to stay under the radar and save up some money before moving on. She believes she’s in mortal danger, but as the details of her story unfold, the plot becomes nonsensical and melodramatic. The urgency of her initial escape turns into inexplicable inaction. Determined to pay her own way, she refuses her friend’s offer of a free room, instead choosing to rent an RV from the diner’s short-order cook, Joseph “Fishing Eagle” King. Joseph (everyone else calls him “Fish”) is impressed by her determination and respects her independence. The two strike up a delicate friendship but are wary of their mutual attraction. Joseph is Navajo and doesn’t date white women because he’s committed to preserving his culture and heritage; Nevada fears being found by the cartel, causing her to be distrustful and suspicious of making long-term connections. Although Drake (The Last True Cowboy, 2018, etc.) seems to have carefully researched the Navajo culture, it’s uncomfortable to read first-person narration of a Navajo character written by a white author. The depiction of the Latinx villains as stereotypical bad guys is especially problematic; they are all violence and machismo and plan to sell “little blonde” Nevada into sexual slavery in Central America once they capture her.

Troubling in several ways.

Pub Date: July 2nd, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-5387-4645-5
Page count: 624pp
Publisher: Forever Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2019




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