Thursday, September 4, 2014

Review: Losing St. Christopher by David-Michael Harding

Title: Losing St. Christopher
Author: David-Michael Harding
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Q&CY Books
Publish Date: June 4, 2014
Source: I received a copy from the PR; however, this did not affect my review.

What's the Story?:

From "In Losing St. Christopher, Totsuhwa, the revered shaman of the Cherokee Nation, struggles against the assimilation of his people into the white world of men he sees as invaders. The colonists, along with Cherokee who are trying to bridge both worlds, see him as a barbarous threat. When Totsuhwa’s visions show him the outcome, it is as black as his deep set haunting eyes. Chancellor, his son, takes a white wife following study at a missionary school and the shaman’s fears seem realized. Conflicts between cultures and within the family erupt when Totsuhwa’s only grandchild is forced onto the Trail of Tears. In the chase that follows, an estranged love fights to stem the ugly flow of racism that is moving in two directions."

My Two Cents:

"Losing St. Christopher" is the second book in Harding's excellent series about the Cherokee Indians and one of the most difficult, disheartening, and saddening times in American history. While in the first book, "Cherokee Talisman," is the story of shaman, Totsuhwa, coming of age in a rapidly changing world. Most of this book is about Chancellor, Totsuhwa's son. The stakes are even higher for the Cherokee's this time around and their world is changing even more than before.

Like I said, this book is the second in a series and while "Losing St. Christopher" is very much a standalone novel, it would be really helpful for you to read "Cherokee Talisman" to provide a little bit more context to this story. Aside from the history intertwined in this book, the second largest theme is probably family. It was very interesting to me to see how Totsuhwa's family changes and forms between the previous book and this one. It definitely gave you an appreciation for how rapidly things changed for the Cherokees.

Most of this story is taken up with the events that followed the Indian Removal Act of the mid-1800s. If you know anything about history, this act is part of one of the most difficult parts of American History. Chancellor, Totsuhwa, and their family are swept away by this act. What they go through is so heartbreaking. I really thought that Harding captured it well.

Overall, this book is well written. There are a lot of characters and it gets really difficult to keep track of everyone but in the end it works out. I loved the historical detail in this one! This is a good pick if you don't mind heavy stories with true meaning.



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