Title: News of the World
Author: Paulette Jiles
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: November 3, 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins
What's the Story?:
From Goodreads.com: "Captain Jefferson Kyle
Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from
newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly
widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the
captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her
relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders
killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they
raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the
ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving
terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten
the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away
her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the
two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a
bond that marks the difference between life and death in this
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither
happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and
uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted
burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice:
abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a
My Two Cents:
In "News of the World," Captain Kidd is a news reader. He brings the news of the world to the people of Texas who otherwise may never know what is going on in the world. To some degree, he enjoys his solitude as he travels from place to place. His world is up-ended when he is asked to return a young girl, Joanna, to her family many years after she was stolen away from members of the Kiowa tribe.
The relationship between Captain Kidd and Joanna is at the center of this book. They develop a really amazing friendship that illustrates why our connections to other people are so important as we make our way in the world. No man is an island and we get so much out of interacting with others as the Captain and Joanna show in this book. Joanna doesn't speak much English at all so Captain Kidd dedicates himself to trying to teach her all sorts of different words so she will be ready to go back to her family. While teaching her words, he teaches her a lot about the way the world works and she becomes fascinated with his work and gives him the support that he didn't realize he was missing.
This is a very quietly written story that packs a big punch. For history and historical fiction lovers, it gives a lot of insight into the time period in the United States just after the Civil War. The country is still trying to rebuild as it expands westward. Texas is the proverbial "wild west" with outlaws and bandits and very few restrictions as we see with some of the things that happen to Joanna and Captain Kidd throughout the book. This is a great historical fiction!