The Ghost of Milagro Creek Summary and Reviews

The Ghost of Milagro Creek

by Melanie Sumner

The Ghost of Milagro Creek
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' rating:

  • Published in USA  Jul 2010
    272 pages
    Genre: Novels

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

The story of Ignacia Vigil Romero, a full Jacarilla Apache, and the two boys, Mister and Tomás, she raised to adulthood unfolds in a barrio of Taos, New Mexico—a mixed community of Native Americans, Hispanics, and whites. Now deceased, Ignacia, a curandera—a medicine woman, though some say a witch—begins this tale of star-crossed lovers.

Mister and Tomás, best friends until their late teens, both fall for Rocky, a gringa of some mystery, a girl Tomás takes for himself. But in a moment of despair, a pledge between the young men leads to murder. When Ignacia falls silent, police reports, witness statements, and caseworker interviews draw an electrifying portrait of a troubled community and of the vulnerable players in this mounting tragedy. Set in a terrain that becomes a character in its own right, The Ghost of Milagro Creek brilliantly illuminates this hidden corner of American society. 

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Well written, with intriguing characters, the novel illuminates a part of American society not often described in fiction." - Booklist

"Sumner’s prose hums with ancestral myths to craft a tale less about Mister and more about the wrecked history of his entire community." - Oxford American, The Southern Magazine of Good Writing

"I found this novel worth my time, and so feel it will be worth yours, especially if you have an interest in New Mexico, in American Indian cosmology, in narrative structure and approaches, in good storytelling." - The Rumpus

"The multifaceted narrative moves forward and backward in time until a picture emerges - one strand at a time, much like the basket-weaving Ignacia's tribe is known for..." - Atlanta-Journal Constitution

"An ambitiously complicated broth of content with surprisingly little flavor." - Kirkus Reviews

"Readers will be fascinated by Sumner's Taos, but may find the central drama between Mister and Rocky unsatisfying." - Publishers Weekly

"A 'ghost' story woven with teen love and tragedy ... Distinguished by its setting in the historically rich and evocative landscape of Taos, N.M. [Sumner] draws upon the area's natural beauty, and its Hispanic, Pueblo, Apache and Anglo roots, as the backdrop to an intricately woven tale of a community at risk." - Jane Ciabattari, NPR.org

The information about The Ghost of Milagro Creek shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Reader Reviews

Write your own review

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

...15 more reader reviews

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Author Information

Melanie Sumner Author Biography

Photo: Uli Gratzl

Melanie Sumner is an American novelist. She grew up in Rome, Georgia as a child and graduated from University of North Carolina and Boston University.

She is the author of The School of Beauty and Charm, a novel, and Polite Society, stories. A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she earned her MFA from Boston University and was the recipient of a Whiting award in fiction in 1995. She won a National Endowment for the Arts Literary Fellowship in 2010.

She currently lives in Rome, Georgia, and teaches creative writing at Kennesaw State University.

Link to Melanie Sumner's Website

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more novels...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Barkskins
    Barkskins
    by Annie Proulx
    Barkskins, by Annie Proulx, is not a book to read quickly. After a month of slow reading, I ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Marriage of Opposites
    by Alice Hoffman
    Alice Hoffman's latest work, The Marriage of Opposites, is a historical fiction novel focusing on ...
  • Book Jacket: Miss Jane
    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson
    National Book Award Finalist Brad Watson returns with an intimate novel about one woman's journey to...

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    All Is Not Forgotten
    by Wendy Walker

    This is fast-paced psychological suspense/thriller at it's very best.

    Read Member Reviews

  • Book Jacket

    Miss Jane
    by Brad Watson

    "Starred Review. Sensitive, beautifully precise prose. Highly recommended." - PW

    Read Member Reviews

Members review books pre-publication. Read their opinions in First Impressions

Book Discussions
Book Jacket
Sweet Caress
by William Boyd

William Boyd's Sweet Caress captures an entire lifetime unforgettably within its pages. It captivates.

About the book
Join the discussion!
Summer Stunner
Summer Giveaway

Win 5 books, each week in July!

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

W M T N, W C F All

and be entered to win..

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.

 
X

BookBrowse Summer Giveaway

We're giving away
5 books every
week in July!