Carole C. (Upper Marlboro, MD)
Ghosts and Rocks can Speak
Murder, miracles and mysticism are as prevalent in Melanie Sumner's "The Ghost of Milagro Creek" as complex characters, consuming love, and a landscape so compelling that it becomes a character. Although the author tells the story through the many voices of her characters, witness statements, police reports, interviews, letters, and petroglyphs, the voice that speaks most eloquently to this reader is that of Abuela Ignacia, a deceased woman who, like other characters, defies simple definition. "Whatever I was: Spanish or Indian, nurse or nutcase, dead or alive -- I would be remember." And, she will.
Non-linear in its structure and haunting in its release of detail, this book would be an excellent choice for book clubs and for anyone who loves flawed but compassionate characters, subtle symbolism and hidden meanings, and a tale whose open-ended conclusion challenges the imagination of the reader.
Sharon W. (Two Rivers, WI)
The Ghost of Milagro Creek
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. One of the reasons that I wanted to read this was that it had Native American Indian in it. I have some Native American in me so I could relate to parts of the book. It was interesting to read about the different things that were done to help someone get better.
Linda W. (Riverview, Florida)
Original a story that lingers long after reading.
This is one of those books that at first seems confusing and difficult to follow. Then as I read on the story wove an amazing tapestry through character, culture and the mixture of languages This book grabs hold and takes you on along with it. Great story.
Debra C. (Vienna, Georgia)
A Beautiful Tapestry
Like a beautiful Indian tapestry, Melanie Sumner, gently weaves the tale of Ignacia, her turbulent sons, their families, and those searching for hope and redemption in Taos, New Mexico, with golden threads of Indian lore to create a shockingly realistic novel that is impossible to leave. The reader, like each of Sumner's unforgettable characters, will find himself enmeshed in the ghosts past and present of Milagro Creek. A must read from a promising Georgia author!
Beth C. (Sioux Falls, SD)
The Ghost of Milagro Creek - Who is the ghost?
Melanie Sumner has created a fascinating novel set in the barrio of Taos, New Mexico and the surrounding area. It is a story that is both simple - best friends growing up together and loving the same girl, and extremely complicated. She tells the story from multiple viewpoints and includes elements of magical realism, shamanism, Jicarilla Apache mythology and Hispanic Catholicism. The many characters in the novel each exemplify a combining of these philosophies.
Because the story is told by many characters, it is often tricky to follow. While the main plot takes place over the course of a couple weeks in April, 2001, there are time shifts as various twists in the story are revealed in flashbacks. There are also pieces of conversation that take place in Spanish and a version of barrio-speak that includes Apache words, Spanish and slang.
I found it to be a engrossing novel and I would highly recommend it to book groups. There are many points that could lead to good discussions and reading group questions have been included at the end of the book.
Jill S. (Chicago, IL)
Haunting, Mystical, Riveting
I expected this book to be a somewhat light reading about star-crossed lovers in the barrio of Taos. In reality, it is so much more. The reader is immersed in the mysticism of the Jicarilla Apache barrio of Taos, where Native Americans, Hispanics, and whites live together, and where a tragedy will affect the community. This is not a linear book; the story is narrated by Ignacia, a medicine woman (some would say a witch), before and after her death...and police reports, witness statements, and short-story snippets, and more help advance the plot. The terrain itself -- the ancient myths -- all set a very realistic atmosphere. I loved this highly original book.
Patricia H. (Norman, OK)
The Ghost of Milagro Creek
The landscapes are haunting, the characters are tragic figures, the story is heartbreaking. The book is superbly written. If you love reading and learning about non-white cultures, you will find excellent descriptions of living in the desert areas around Taos. There is a great loneliness that such living can bring, which makes relationships in this setting so much more central to the story. The book hard to put down.