It's not quite time for Captain Jefferson Kidd to hang up his saddle ... he may be getting on in years, but there are still plenty who will pay to hear him read the news of the world. However, it's not itinerant news-reading that is going to keep him on the road, but the request to escort Johanna Leonberger, a ten-year-old liberated captive of the Kiowa. Their 400-mile journey south will be through hostile territory and will culminate with a family faced with a child, a now stranger caught between two worlds.
This convincingly rendered story of 1870s Texas, complete with appealing characters and an evocative landscape, brings to the fore the price of honour and the rewards of nurturing trust.
Overall, our group enjoyed the book. However, we felt the final chapter was a bit rushed in an attempt to provide a kind of "happy ending." Also, the author's interpretations of Johanna's feelings and thoughts would have been better portrayed by Johanna's voice. This would have given more authenticity.
Well written, captured the times very well. Beautiful descriptions of the landscape. Uplifting to read that there are such good people in the world. Conveyed the relationship of the Captain and the girl sensitively.
Easy read, thought-provoking, nice to read a book with a happy ending. A nourishing, comfortable book with a great storyline.
CHCH 320, to a man, rated this book highly. Having a Western genre was a welcome change. But more importantly our Group found the writing style of Jiles to be descriptive, informative, and interesting; and while simple in style, she used many quirky and quaint turns of phrase in the text. The author was accurate on so many things, eg. the firearms used back then, the landscapes of Texas etc. So she had researched well. While the overall plot was pretty simple and not unique, it was the relationship and trust that developed between the two main characters which was the 'coup de grace' of the book.
Mixed reactions to the book, particularly the timeframe for the ending. However we all agreed that a happy ending was needed in these turbulent times. Beautiful descriptions of the land, nature and endurance of people on the edge of the West. We all loved the character of Captain Kidd. His traits of humanity, kindness and wisdom resonated with us.
An insight into a different place and era, an unlikely friendship and a great story.
Loved this book. A little slice of history!
Easy to read, interesting, great character development. Highlighted the issues faced between indigenous people and newcomers. The contrast between information distribution at the time this book was set and now is immense. Provided insights into the strife and corruption of post-Civil War in Texas and the harshness of life for the pioneers in those days. Highlighted the plight of the children caught between two cultures,who couldn't adapt back to European life. Some found the middle section a bit boring, and the last few chapters felt unrealistic.
This book scored 10/10 from one member. Several others rated it highly. Some enjoyed the straightforward story and prose, others found it too sparse. An interesting read which opened up a new chapter in American history to many.
A gem of a book, deserves to become a classic in American literature.
Group enjoyed this book and found the writing excellent - lovely relationship between the Captain and Johanna. The era of this novel was very interesting and so refreshing after so many Hollywood western films and books.
We all enjoyed reading this book. It is a fascinating piece of history. Those who had already seen the movie were pleasantly surprised.
Everyone loved this book. I think that because we live rurally, everyone felt a connection to it. This has also been the easiest read as well.
The internal dialogue of Jefferson Kyle Kidd was interesting. He was a caring man. Members found this very easy reading. Unfortunately as it was our holiday read, many members didnt bother with the book. Those that did really enjoyed it.
Descriptive and majestically written, taking the reader on a journey through American history and a simpler time. Well researched and well worth the time. Lovely little book.
Most enjoyed this as a beautifully and simply written story encompassing some interesting and relevant themes. Many of us actually researched further into children adopted by Indians and how it was they lost their home language so quickly and fully. Is it trauma, or is there something more organic to human existence that made the simpler and wilder lifestyle so consuming Beautifully cut pages and even though it was not a book some would have chosen, we are all the better off for having read it and we enjoyed time together in conversation around it.
Despite the old fashioned appearance of the book, this turned out to be a little gem, with a simple story that was easy to read. Fully drawn characters whose relationship changes from wariness and hostility to trust and friendship. Beautifully written, where lack of punctuation allows the words to flow. A glimpse of American life and history which made us keen for more. The author's other book in the catalogue has now been added to our list.
Most enjoyed this book, great story, we enjoyed the historical context and imagery. We liked the actual pages of the book! We found it an easy read.
We all enjoyed this book to varying degrees. One of our ladies had travelled through this area recently and could picture it in the book. Loved the characters and storyline but we all felt that it was wrapped up too nicely and too quickly - but we still enjoyed the story before that. To be honest, it was hard to get our heads into it as we talked about Coronavirus and agreed this would our last 'physical' meeting for some time.
First impressions showed that half the group loved the book and the rest felt it was a straightforward, simple story. However, as we went through the questions, which were probably the best set we had had all year, very good discussions developed. These ranged from trauma in childhood through to politics in the USA, both in the past and the future. A well worthwhile read.
Those who read it loved it. Very evocative narrative - incredible sense of time and place.
We cared about the characters and enjoyed the happy ending. Very descriptive, informative and sympathetic. Readable and enjoyable.
Marvellous book, beautifully written, and such an important topic to discuss. And a great follow up to "The Color of Lightning", which we read in 2017.
To begin with, members were dubious about this book, but all became hooked and enjoyed it! The idea of bringing news to the illiterate, and the child with her mixed upbringing both appealed. A much more real picture of the West than most books and films portray.
We all enjoyed this book and had a lively discussion about how the dissemination of news has changed through history. The adoption and acceptance of captives in Indian life is fascinating and this too generated interesting discussion.
We all enjoyed this book - good writing and research. We learned more about the Ozarks area of the US and black/white/Indian relationships in the late 1800s. We found the ending weak - a quick, rushed tying up of what obscure characters were doing, and too 'happy ever after". We wondered if this was possible.
Everyone in the group loved this book. The story is compelling and the style succinct but beautifully descriptive. The only niggle for 2 of us was the lack of punctuation for conversations which makes the reader look hard to sort out who is speaking.
Loved it. Great book! Interesting with great historical context; it showed us how one person can turn someone's life around. Highly recommend it!
Most members enjoyed the book, though a common comment was that it could have contained more background information to help the reader.