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.
Esther L. (Newtown, PA)
Good Historical Fiction
The main character of Bone River, Leonie, is well crafted and I was drawn into discovering her story and her future. When Leonie discovers an Indian mummy she starts having recurring dreams that invade her daily life. While I enjoyed these dreams, I believe that my book club ladies will not feel the same way.
Amy H. (Benbrook, TX)
Interesting concept but predictable
I requested an Advanced copy of this book because I love Historical Fiction, and the synopsis sounded fresh and interesting. I was frustrated at the slow pace of the character development and tired very quickly of Lea's "my father/husband know what's best for me" defense. I realize this took place in the past when women were more submissive and less educated than men but Lea prides herself on being an ethnologist like her father and yet she can't put 2 and 2 together to figure out why she's not getting pregnant? The best part of the book lay in the description of the setting including landscape, weather, and time. I liked Bibi and felt like she was the most genuine character in the novel. I enjoyed learning about the superstitions and beliefs of the Native American people. Overall, an interesting concept but average effort.
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.
Helen M. (Petaluma, CA)
Bone River is a very well constructed historical novel which I found fascinating. The author left me wanting to know more about life in the Pacific Northwest in the late 1800's. Life was very hard for Leonie Russell and her family. The unfolding of truth which is central to this book, even harder. What I feel is one of the strongest messages.......listen to your inner truth. Listen. The freedom will be worth it. To watch truth out over the length of the novel was a moving experience. I can also still feel the bite of the rain, the churning of the waves. It was a really good read.
Marion T. (Palatine, IL)
I became lost in this book right from the start. Though slightly dark, it is a good mix of romance and history with a suspenseful twist. The characters were well written and real and the description of the landscape they lived in was so real that I was cold all the way through the book. This will make a wonderful read for a book discussion group, hopefully there will be a discussion guide.
Jim S. (Austin, TX)
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.