News from the world of Paulette Jiles

genre: historical fiction

When Captain Kidd learns of a 10-year-old girl who needs to be returned to her family, he knows he has to let it go. Orphaned by the same Kiowa tribe that later kidnapped her and held her for four years, this girl is not only wild but clearly somewhat broken. And Captain Kidd is an old man who spends his last year traveling from town to town and reading the news aloud to anyone who is interested and has a dime to contribute. Why on earth would he take on the task of traveling hundreds of miles to deliver a child to his unaware relatives?

We discover the answer to this question as we get to know Jefferson Kidd throughout this brutal and dangerous journey. Backwoods Texas during the Reconstruction period was a lawless place and traveling with a child is less than ideal. But this girl, Johanna, will prove that she is up to the task, if she is not running from him or fighting tooth and nail against all the trappings of civilization. In a country on the edge and with the experience of an old man leading the way, the journey to return to Johanna is filled with desperate pain and a lot of heart.

I loved that. I fell in love with Johanna and, in another way, with our intrepid Captain. And actually, “fearless” is the wrong word because there WAS fear, there was doubt, and there was resignation and fierce anger at his own choices. And yet. The way their relationship evolves and the ingenuity and ingenuity it takes to survive, seeing the world through both of their eyes is a lovely and wonderful thing. The pacing is good, the setting is solid, and I love travel stories with unlikely companions. The idea of ​​being stolen from a completely different and foreign culture, and then being brought back and having to readjust to what was once second nature, is fascinating and very upsetting at the same time. While I’m not usually a “Wild West” kind of person, this one has True Grit movie vibes, which I really enjoyed. I look forward to our group discussion on the book.

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