Although I had a little trouble in the initial pages I was quickly involved in the story and stayed that way until the final pages. The story set in the Pacific Northwest opens with the death of Leonie's father, an ethnologist, in the late 19th century. Leonie accepted her father's dying wish for her to marry Junius, a 37 year old ethnologist, who is 20 years her senior. The other main character is "Lord Tom" an area American Indian who has been with Leonie since she was a child.
Then the story fast forwards 20 years after Leonie and Junius are married. She finds a "mummy" in a basket that is uncovered on the banks of the river they live by. It had been uncovered by a recent flood.
Soon thereafter Junius' son Daniel appears. He was unknown to Leonie until Daniel appears saying he works for a San Francisco newspaper and has arrived to write a story about the mummy. His mother, Junius' wife, has recently died.
From the appearance of Daniel who is in his late 20s the story becomes more involved and exciting parts happen.
Leonie's life changes with the finding of the mummy with dream visions. She longs to find her origins and relationship to the mummy. Trying to be the ethology scientist that her farther trained her to be she struggles with her artistic and spiritual side.
The ending is unexpected. It was an enjoyable read.
Rated of 5
by Priscilla M. (Houston, TX)
An Intriguing Read
Although the story got off to a slow start, it wasn't long before I was completely engrossed. As atmospheric and moody as its setting in the 19th century Pacific Northwest, the story of Leonie and her inexplicable connection to the mummy discovered in the riverbank after a storm will keep you turning turning the pages. Leonie and her husband Junius are ethnologists, forerunners to modern day cultural anthropologists. Junius wants to give the mummy, an Indian woman, to a museum, but Leonie begs for more time to study it. As the story unfolds, the characters' true natures are revealed, layer by layer, just as an archaeology site might yield its secrets. The relationship between Leonie and her husband is complicated by her stubborn desire to learn more about the Indian woman's life and, more specifically, by the appearance of her husband's son by a previous marriage. I thoroughly enjoyed Bone River and found myself rooting for Leonie to find not only the identity of the Indian woman, but her own in the process.
Rated of 5
by Yvette T. (Boca Raton, FL)
A Great Read
Although I guessed some of the trajectory of the plot, that did not diminish my enjoyment as it unfolded. Beautifully written, with exquisite detail, this book was engrossing from beginning to end. The background of ethnology in Indian territory was very informative. Enjoying a book and learning new things is the best of reading for me! The author did provide a few surprises at the end that made up for the ones I easily surmised. I also enjoyed the author's earlier book, An Inconvenient Wife. I smiled when she repeated almost verbatim one description from that novel in the current book. Research says, I guess, that a good wife in the 19th century was a harlot if she moved during sex! I highly recommend Bone River as an enjoyable read.
Rated of 5
by Carole P. (Framingham, NA)
Leoine Russell was raised in the Pacific Northwest during the mid-nineteenth century. Her father had devoted his life to studying the native culture in that area. She grew up surrounded by artifacts, burial grounds and ancient myths. She accepted her life as first her father, then her husband dictated. Then she found the mummy. Everything she knew changed. Why is she so drawn to the mummy? How is it connected to her? She now begins to question all of her life. Who was her father? What kind of man is her husband?
Bone River has something for everyone who likes a great read. History, love and betrayal, mysticism and mystery. Beautifully written with an intricate plot, I cannot recommend it enough. I gave it a five, but really I want to give it a 6.
Rated of 5
by Janet P. (Spokane, WA)
"Something Was Coming"
I am from the Pacific Northwest and spent some years living on the Yakima reservation where I enjoyed museums, discussions and classes focusing on Native American culture. Megan Chance caught the slow moving sense of the tribes of the Northwest in the narration of a late thirties female resident of Shoalwater Bay in Washington Territory. Leonie, the heroine, struggles with her past, present and future as layers of her reality slowly peal away to reveal a past that is much different from the false past that those she has trusted and loved dearly created for her. Leonie's mystical connection to a mummy she finds in a riverbed brings about conflicts within her psyche and within her household. The book is a mystery, a love story, and a psychic journey which moves very slowly while the river, the Sound, and the Pacific Northwest, as well as local Native Americans and lastly the mummy all become characters that influence Leonie's discoveries of self. She is a 19th century woman struggling to become who she is "meant to be." I struggled with my rating: should it be 4 or 5? But the pace of the novel, which bothered me when I wanted to move fast, did what studies of Native American cultures has done for me also. One must slow down and listen to find one's own truth.
Rated of 5
by Colleen T. (Lakewood, CO)
Bone River by Megan Chance
The Bone River is an extremely well told tale of Leonie Russell, a woman who through a series of astonishing events learns that her reality is not what she thought it was and comes to understand what her true reality is. The author is exceptional at drawing you into the story and getting you involved with the characters and the country where Leonie lives. This story was a powerful statement of what is real and not real in a setting that had you mesmerized from the start. I highly recommend this book.
Rated of 5
by Maureen C. (Ardsley-on-Hudson, NY)
Another Winner by Megan Chance
I read "An Inconvenient Wife" by the author, and "Bone River" repeats some of the same themes but uses a wildly different setting. This time, Leonie's new-found awareness of her self is reflected by the wildness and unpredictability of the place where she lives. She's a wonderful character, and the author does a great job maintaining enough twists and turns to keep me reading. The Pacific Northwest is a character in itself, and adds to the atmosphere of tension and mystery.
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