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Linda S. (Oceanside, NY)
An improbable journey
In 1747 Katie O'Toole is living in Lancaster, Pennsylvania when 'savages' attack her home and two Indians take Katie away. One of these men tells her that he is a seer and he has been seeking her, a creature with hair of fire and eyes of ice.
Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
The Spirit Keeper is a journal written by Katie as she recounts her travels with her two captors, Syawa and Hector. I'm a fan of fiction that features Native Americans, but this book fell a little flat for me. The books is not labeled young adult but it seems like a book that would appeal to a teenage girl. I found the story to be repetitive and I never connected to the three main characters. The overall story seemed rather improbable and although the tale picks up after the first half it wasn't until the last hundred pages that I became pulled more into the story.
The ending was also disappointing, it seems as if there is the possibility for a sequel as there isn't a satisfying ending to the quest that Syawa and Hector embarked on, although at this point I'm not sure I would read it.
I hope this is the first of many by Ms Laugheed. She has created a fun and compelling story with a strong heroine and vast travels across unsettled lands. There are many important themes, including the power of communication both practiced and withheld, the transforming influence of belief, and the peaceful logic of the divine natural world. My favorite lines, spoken by a Native American, are these: "Life is not perfect anywhere. People are not perfect. But my people do not seek perfection. We strive for balance. We enjoy life as we find it, the good and the bad. We are grateful for all." I'm grateful for this book and would like to read more of Katie O'Toole's adventures, for which the tale is well established.
Nancy H. (Eagan, MN)
The Spirit Keeper
I enjoyed this book. It is somewhat of a fantasy and there is nothing wrong with that. It is fun to get away to another era. Katie did not have a happy home life, being the thirteenth child of a poor Irish family. She felt being taken by the two
A Ruminative Tome of Introspective Freedom
Indians could be no worse. I liked reading about their travels across western America and the people they met along the way. I would recommend this book.
The inertia of reality that besots you as soon as you enter into the world of The Spirit Keeper, is quite a hard bullet to bite, because before you can wrap your eyes and heart around what your visually aware of, you are inched into the story! I credit this to the author, as Laugheed endeavors you to jump straight out of your comfort zone, wholly free-falling into a brutal, raw, and untamed section of the American Frontier in the mid-1700s and take a quest towards unraveling the complexities of building a new life in a foreign land. The thematic that are entrenched in the story parlay an exposition on language, translation, and sense of being. She readily elevates our awareness that our words can draw an impact that is not always aware to us, but like the life paths we are walking, we are not always in charge of their meaning or purpose of use.
Carole A. (Denver, CO)
...on the other hand
The beauty of the outside world envelopes you from the jump start, as the open wilderness is the footing for setting this story outside the reach of our known world. Even for those of us who are akin to the natural environment and the inhabitants therein, there is still so much of that world that is readily just outside our scope, outside our understanding. The Native Americans who are on the forefront of the story, evoke a cultural education into accepting stark differences of living, as much as embracing traditions that hold merit (such as the menstrual huts for women).
The art of story-telling plays a center part of The Spirit Keeper's heart, but it's the transformative power of understanding the words that are imparted throughout the story, that turn everything into a new light once the conclusion arrives. What the reader first mistook as a course of events, was truly a resounding precognitive journey that guided two characters forward into a future they would not have been strong enough to embrace otherwise. It's the redemptive nature of grasping a hold of the essence of those who pass forward and away from our living world that is truly the most remarkable arc of the story! For we all have the ability to be a keeper of a spirit whose touched us deeply and left us remorseful for their presence! We only need the strength to transcend our perception and view our experiences from a different angle to see how the threads stitch together the pattern of our living tapestry!
My own discerning discomfort was having this novel end on a cliffhanger, which nearly wrecked my enjoyment of the reading! I felt short-changed and disappointed, as I had embarked on this journey with the wholeness of my heart and as fearful as I was with the brutality of certain imagery, I was holding onto the Hope of what was yet to come and what I hoped would be! Prior to turning in my review, I wanted to visit the author's website to see if I could unearth a bit more of the story; whereupon I was given the Hope I sought, and my spirit smiled, knowing all was for naught!
The Spirit Keeper was, for me, an easy book to read. It flowed with the prose and enabled me to read the book in less than a 24-hour period. Usually A book that allows this I can finish and go WOW. This was not the case. On the one hand I enjoyed the read and ON THE OTHER HAND I kept trying to sort out how I did feel about the book - so I read the book again. While the main subject has been written by others many times - Indians capture white woman ON THE OTHER HAND there was a mystical component which gave a slightly altered twist. It was another novel about a strong and focused woman ON THE OTHER HAND was this truly the only path she could see her life taking? I am torn between giving this a 3 or a 4 rating and would like to do a 3-1/2 but since that is not an option I did round it up. If the sexual attack and desires could be more subtle or simply alluded to I would think this a good book for a young teen. ON THE OTHER HAND there are 60-second commercials that are as descriptive and certainly T.V. and movies.
Lisa B. (Denton, TX)
The real test of a good book to me is how much I think about it after I read it, and whether it compels me to keep reading it. I found this book passed that test. Once I started I wanted to keep reading to discover what was going to happen to Katie O'Toole. However, I think it could have used a little more description in places (what is a "dress in the French manner?") and the whole story line was a unbelievable. I liked the characters enough and the story was compelling enough that I was able to ignore that. It was more of a romance than I usually read, but I think that it would especially appeal to more of a YA audience.
Heather Z. (Celina, TX)
The Spirit Keeper
I enjoyed the book, didn't have any trouble following the "old fashioned" language, thought it added to the story. Also liked reading about the details of daily living way back then.
Mary Jane D. (Arlington Heights, IL)
The Spirit Keeper
I seldom read historical fiction from this place and time period so was looking forward to a good adventure story with interesting details. I was disappointed somewhat. While it certainly tells about a great adventure for Katie, Syawa, and Hector I felt the characters were not wholly believable and the physiological interpretation of their feelings and thoughts was overdone. The story seemed to move rather slowly. The plot was good when the story progressed and there were some good twists and surprises. The book would be good for teenage girls because of the love story. Although the book is well researched anyone interested in details and history of this period would do better to find something else.