Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Red Bird's Song by Beth Trissel

Red Bird's Song. Beth Trissel. The Wild Rose Press. August 2010. 334 pp. paperback. ISBN #: 9781601548122.

Charity Edmonson is furious that her mother is insisting she marry someone she considers dull and boring. She would marry for love, but in Revolutionary America such is rarely the custom. However, this beautiful woman's life is about to dramatically change when a Shawnee war party attacks Charity's village, murdering her father and brother. Charity doesn't have much time to mourn her losses, as a Shawnee native named Wicomechee, or Meechee as she comes to call him, falls in love with Charity's beauty and spunky nature immediately.

Another native, Chaka, would have Charity for a wife, but his methods are cruel because he believes he can possess her by force and brutality. He is in for some very strong rebuffs in some very undignified scenes that increases the reader's empathy and support for Charity and Meechee's future together. Charity is not an easy catch however, and her humor and rebellious nature are amusing and anxiety-producing depending on the scene. She's one very modern woman!

But the romance is slow to spark, although the physical attraction between the two is immediate, for Charity observes over time the merciless nature of these warriors whose anger is fueled by the death and injustice they have repeatedly endured at the hands of the white men. So scalping and brutal attacks are a reality that strikes Charity as bestial and beyond the pale. For now, Charity is helping her friend, Emily, who was also kidnapped and is pregnant. Even that part of the plot is complex, when Emily meets a former lover, Colin, who escaped from a perilous situation to become a Shawnee warrior.

The story escalates when George III's red coats catch up with the natives, and all are forced to face their prejudice and hatred. Beth Trissel knows how to craft a simple but engaging story that produces mixed emotions and thoughts in the reader, with a surprising ending that the reader never suspects is coming. Very nicely done, Beth Trissel!

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