Sophia Makinoff is certain that 1876 is the year that she’ll become the wife of a certain US Congressman, and happily plans her debut into the Capitol city. But when he proposes to her roommate instead, Sophia is stunned. Hoping to flee her heartache and humiliation, she signs up with the Board of Foreign Missions on a whim.
With dreams of a romantic posting to the Far East, Sophia is dismayed to find she’s being sent to the Ponca Indian Agency in the bleak Dakota Territory. She can’t even run away effectively and begins to wonder how on earth she’ll be able to guide others as a missionary. But teaching the Ponca children provides her with a joy she has never known—and never expected—and ignites in her a passion for the people she’s sent to serve.
It’s a passion shared by the Agency carpenter, Willoughby Dunn, a man whose integrity and selflessness are unmatched. The Poncas are barely surviving. When U.S. policy decrees that they be uprooted from their land and marched hundreds of miles away in the middle of winter, Sophia and Will wade into rushing waters to fight for their friends, their love, and their destiny.
I really liked this book. I confess I finished it at least a week ago, and am still thinking about it.
As you know, I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and this one is based loosely on the Ponca Indian tribe. Near the end of the book, there’s a speech by Standing Bear, which is one of the only sources of documentation of the tribe’s removal by a member of the Ponca tribe. I also especially appreciate how the ‘substantial paper trail’ left by government employees was woven into the storyline.
The reality of the conditions these folks endured is humbling. It’s also a needed reminder of the treatment of the US government during this particularly dark time in our country’s history.
Character development was sound, and knowing the storyline was based on some factual evidence really makes this one that leaves you thinking long after you’ve put the book down. I am always so intrigued when the author gives background information. I love that this author gives additional sources to check out.
I give this 5 out of 5 stars, and will definitely make a point to seek out other titles by this author.
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