Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A SKY WITHOUT STARS, by Linda S. Clare

The year is 1951. Frankie Chasing Bear and her son, Harold, left the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota following the death of her husband. Her luck doesn't get any better when they find themselves stranded in Phoenix after their rattletrap pickup breaks down. Her plan was to go to Los Angeles as part of an Indian relocation program. Instead, she battles heat, poverty, and prejudice in a town that has little sympathy for Indians.
 She's determined to help her son survive the bullying he receives by sewing a Lakota Star pattern quilt to remind him to be proud of his heritage. But Harold is having none of it. He decides he wants to return to Pine Ridge, where at least he had friends.
 Nick Parker is a federal agent assigned to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. He’s attracted to Frankie's determination to survive in her hostile environment. For her part, Frankie believes Nick already has two strikes against him--by her definition he's a half-breed (part Lakota, part white) and he works for a Bureau that has never had the Indians' best interests at heart. She wants to trust Nick, but can she?
 Sky Without Stars really grabbed my attention. Linda Clare has done a wonderful job of reminding us how poorly Indians have been treated, while at the same time she's crafted a suspenseful story of a mother's love for her son.
 Readers will feel the heat, dust, and fear that Frankie experiences as she tries to make a life for herself and Harold. Her determination had me cheering her on as I read.
 I highly recommend Sky Without Stars.