Before I announce my second place winner of 2012's best books that I read, you need to know I really struggled with naming this one. Not because the writing wasn't stellar. Because it was. Not because the characters didn't live with me a long time after I closed the book. Because they did. And not because I didn't set aside housework to park my rear in a chair and just read (which, for me, is rare). Because this one left dishes stacked in the sink and my family eating frozen pizza.
So, what's my problem?
I hesitate to recommend this one because the romantic scenes went farther than they needed to. Let's just say the author left the bedroom door open a few times. The first time took me by surprise, but after that, I could sense when they were coming and it was easy enough to skim past the steamier moments.
Now then, with that out of the way, my pick for the silver medal of 2012 is...
by Catherine Scott Crawford
Bell Bridge Books
Spring, 1768. The Southern frontier is a treacherous wilderness inhabited by the powerful Cherokee people. In Charlestown, South Carolina, twenty-five-year-old Quincy MacFadden receives news from beyond the grave: her cousin, a man she'd believed long dead, is alive-held captive by the Shawnee Indians. Unmarried, bookish, and plagued by visions of the future, Quinn is a woman out of place . . . and this is the opportunity for which she's been longing.
Determined to save two lives, her cousin's and her own, Quinn travels the rugged Cherokee Path into the South Carolina Blue Ridge. But in order to rescue her cousin, Quinn must trust an enigmatic half-Cherokee tracker whose loyalties may lie elsewhere. As translator to the British army, Jack Wolf walks a perilous line between a King he hates and a homeland he loves.
When Jack is ordered to negotiate for Indian loyalty in the Revolution to come, the pair must decide: obey the Crown, or commit treason . . .
My Official Review
I’ll be blunt here…Pre-revolutionary war sagas are not usually my chosen genre from which to read. I accepted this one on a whim. And just like Quinn, my reading life changed in ways I didn’t expect. Translation: I LOVED this story! And I totally can’t wait for a sequel.
While I was sometimes annoyed with Quinn for her super independent spirit, I also love that it made her character unpredictable. I didn’t always relate to her, but that just made her more believable.
Hero Jackson Wolf is everything a hero should be. Strong. Courageous. Yet his love for Quinn—or Mac, as he calls her—is undeniable and sometimes very sweet and compassionate. He’s a complex man, with a fierce loyalty to family and his Cherokee people.
Disclaimer: this is not a “Christian” book. There are several steamy scenes that are pretty explicit, so if that’s a turn-off for you, you might want to skip a few parts.
KEOWEE VALLEY is a stellar debut novel for author Katherine Scott Crawford. She combines breathtaking description with passionate relationships amidst some intense action. Her writing is strong. Her history lessons are real and gritty. And I am anxious to get my hands on her next book!