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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.
Marta T. (Lafayette, CA)
Storyline not quite as satisfying as its promise
Part historical romance set in the second half of the 1800s, part supernatural mystery, Bone River brings to life an isolated, starkly beautiful area of Shoalwater Bay, Washington Territory from the viewpoint of a woman who loves the area and its dying-out native traditions. Leonie seeks, in her father's footsteps, to preserve what remains through the science of the times, ethnography, though she is also caught between reverence for traditional cultures, wanting to meet the expectations for a scientific career despite the handicap of being a woman, the desire for children that would jeopardize that career, and the inability to conceive. The story revolves around her discovery of a mummified body and her husband's insistence on sending it to a collector. Strangely drawn to the mummy, Leonie wants to be the one to discover its secrets, but she is warned off by dreams and conflicting warnings from two natives. Then her husband's long-lost son shows up. The setting and mood are strongly established, though the supernatural messages were repetitious and the mystery predictable.
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.
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.
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?
Lillian D. (Apache Junction, AZ)
Bone River by Megan Chance: A Review
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.
This book is set in the Pacific Northwest. Lea is the central character. She was trained as an ethnologist by her father. Her father who, at the end of his life, arranged a marriage for her with an older man, Junius, who is also a collector.
Mark O. (Wenatchee, WA)
Bone River (Megan Chance)
I found this book very absorbing and, after I finished it, I wished that the story had continued. Throughout the novel, the reader learns more and more about Lea. I found my frustration with her being tempered by her circumstances. This is a wonderful story about a strong and resilient woman. I would recommend this book to my friends.
Bone River will be hard to contain, leaping fences from one genre to another. Is it historical fiction? paranormal romance? a novel of ideas? The setting is late frontier on the Pacific Northwest coast, Native American cultures giving way to small settlements. The main cast is small (three men and a woman) but the bays, tides, rivers, oyster beds and rain make place a fifth character. The plot broods, becoming atmospheric and closed in, distant kin to Wuthering Heights. Fortunately, while the plot is slow simmering, there are themes to noodle: right-brain/left-brain sensibilities, gender roles, the morality of objective science. We see the story through Leonie and Leonie sees deeply by drawing in her journal. It would be nice to have these drawings, in some future illustrated edition of this book. Water carries the several plot lines along nicely, first revealing, then threatening, and finally washing away.
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.