Author: Robin F Gainey
Publisher: Untreed Reads
Type of book: 1860s, settlers, Wyoming, Native American, journey, hatred, siblings, friendship, secrets, philosophy
Year it was published: 2017
Fiery aristocrat, Eden Rose, uprooted from her native Scotland, has tended a foundering marriage and failing ranch at the corner of Crazy Woman Creek and the Powder River for a decade. Best friend, backwoods spitfire Maddie True, has her own woes a few miles away: widowed with a passel of young children, and caretaker to her addled father. Abandoned by her husband during the height of Wyoming Territory’s worst drought in history, Eden depends on her inept brother, Aiden, to see her through the coming winter. But when he disappears into the wild Bighorn mountains, she shuns Maddie’s fearful cautions, teaming with enigmatic Lakota holy man, Intah, to find her brother before the wicked snow holds them all hostage.
“Light of the Northern Dancers is a powerful novel of a woman’s journey, thought-provoking and unsettling in its authenticity and unflinching honesty.” — Susan Wiggs, NYT Bestselling Romance Author
“Half of what happens to us may have reason, the rest is chaos. Robin F. Gainey’s second novel, Light of the Northern Dancers, has this brand of existentialism. It’ real and it doesn’t let go!” — Tom Skerritt, Award Winning Actor, Writer, Director
Main characters include Intah and Eden Rose while secondary includes Maddy and her family as well as her suitor, Aiden and few other characters. Intah is a mixed Native American male who is apparently considered a medicine man because of his blue eyes. He is well-spoken and educated thanks to his Caucasian mother. He also has a complex character that I couldn't really figure out. Eden Rose is a settler who started seeking her missing brother and is a friend to Maddie, another local settler. Recently Eden Rose's husband has traveled to England and has wanted for her to move there back with him. Maddy is a local settler who has a big brood to take care of and is often joyful and loyal as well as resourceful and clever. Aiden strikes me as someone who doesn't see much of reality and is best described as starstruck and a bit disillusioned with America and who desires to leave the country. There are other characters, but I think it will be more fun to read about them.
There is no mercy for the weak
The story is in third person narrative from Intah's, Eden Rose's, Maddie's and Aiden's points of view. It's not a story that romanticizes, and there will be heartbreak for the decision that settlers have to undertake, and yes, there is some cruelty to animals within the pages, although the author doesn't glory in it, and its used more as character development rather than anything else. The points of views are distinct, and for me what were the strongest and most interesting were that of Maddie's and Aiden's. (I am sorry that for me Eden Rose and Intah weren't the strongest.) The strengths of the book include memorable secondary character and amazing dialogue as well as the story and how its beyond the obvious.
About the Author
Robin F. Gainey partnered in creating California’s Gainey Vineyard; presided over their culinary programs; and, with Julia Child, founded Santa Barbara’s American Institute of Wine and Food. She also oversaw the breeding and showing of champion Arabian Horses begun by the Gainey Family in 1939. She’s lived in California, Colorado, Washington, and Rome, Italy. She returned to her hometown, Seattle, to find her heart in writing. Active trustee of the acclaimed, Pacific Northwest Ballet, she enjoys reading, cooking, horseback riding, skiing any mountain, and spending three months every year cruising the wild Canadian Inside Passage aboard her boat—mostly alone. Light of the Northern Dancers, her second novel, is optioned and in development for a limited TV series.
For more information, please visit Robin F. Gainey’s website. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
This is a very beautifully written story full of charm, grace, reality and its very gritty, that is the author doesn't romanticize death and how difficult it is to become a settler in Wyoming in 1800s. In other words, this is not a Little House story of charm and beauty. Despite the grittiness and the rough life the settlers experienced, I loved the dialogue the characters have had with one another, and I loved the characters of Maddie and Eden Rose, although I admit that Maddie had stolen my heart far more than Eden Rose. What I didn't enjoy is the whole mystic aspect of the story because unfortunately portraying Native Americans as mystics or sages is more of a stereotype from the past. What I also didn't like is that I didn't seem to sense much into Intah's soul as well as his thoughts beyond his obsession with an author that his mother caused him to admire. Other than that, I loved the dialogue and the layout and the realism that the story invokes with mere strikes of words which create gorgeous and unforgettable scenes.
This is for HFVBT
4 out of 5
(0: Stay away unless a masochist 1: Good for insomnia 2: Horrible but readable; 3: Readable and quickly forgettable, 4: Good, enjoyable 5: Buy it, keep it and never let it go.)