A historical novel that portrays the tensions that surrounded the Civil War in the South.
Historian Roe (The Gaelic Letters, 2010, etc) delivers yet another sweeping tale of war-torn lands and coming-of-age. River Hunter, the son of a Cherokee mother and Scotch-Irish father, is a 16-year-old boy with a fourth-grade education. He moves with his family to Alabama to escape the ordered removal of Native Americans during the Civil War. River grew up without his father, who disappeared in the Carolina mountains, and he’s stuck with an abusive, alcoholic stepfather. In order to provide for his family, River turns to nature and hunts only what he needs, determined to pay nature the same respect it shows him. Nature responds in kind—the animals that River needs to feed his family gather around him, making the hunt swift and fruitful. As he pursues higher education, River continues to dress in his traditional Native garb, wearing deer skins despite his joining a society of strangers. The young man has to confront the reality of the times: Many people are suspicious of his Native American background, and they make no effort to hide it. Soon enough, however, River wins them over with his honesty and strength of character. Unfortunately, he isn’t successful in charming the family of his first love, Sarah, who, because of her family’s disapproval, marries another. River studies at the university, where he makes friends with the unlikeliest of people and advances farther than anyone predicted. The Civil War soon disrupts his academics. River and his friends join the Confederate Army, where the higher-ups notice River’s bravery and promote him through the ranks until he makes captain. A heartwarming tale of courage and triumph, this well-written, lyrical story ties together the physical war of the time and the wars within ourselves. River’s achievements, brought about through determination and hard work, inspire and captivate. Through his integrity, he appeals to everyone around him, as well as to the reader. This love story stands out for its historic richness and memorable protagonist.
A heroic tale of a man’s journey to success despite the challenges of his time.