A Sky without Stars can lead to a Darkness of the Soul
November 29, 2014
Debs Dozen: 12-Word Summaries Transplanted Lakota Indian mom and son. Hard times, new family, Gods love.
Frankie Chasing Bear and her son, Harold, have come to Arizona from their home in South Dakota hoping to find a new life after the death of her husband. Eking out a bare existence by working in the kitchen at the Indian School is hardly sufficient to make them successful. Enter Nick Parker, the Federal Indian Agent for the area (and half Lakota). He wants to help Frankie, but she is leery of Indian men many of the ones she knows are alcoholics like her husband was. What keeps Frankie going and gives her hope is a quilt her grandmother taught her to make a Lakota Star pattern. Her grandmother had often told her; A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars.
How Frankie and Harold scrape their way to a better life, and how Nick fits into the picture, as well as learning how Indians are sometimes treated by the white folk in the area, makes an interesting and informative read. Youll be fascinated by the discussions of Indian life.
Linda S. Clare has written many books, essays, short stories, and poems. An award-winning author, she edits and mentors other writers and frequently speaks at conferences and church retreats. She and her husband live in Eugene, Oregon with their three wayward cats.
I was given a copy of A Sky Without Stars by Abingdon Press for my unbiased review.
"Sew love into every stitch and remember: a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars."
Frankie Chasing Bear is Lakota and raising her son, Harold, alone. Frankie lived with drunken men her entire life, her father and then her husband Hank, so she was very leery of men in general. She had a determination rarely seen. She wanted her son and herself to get an education and would do whatever it took to make it happen. She was a proud woman that embraced her heritage and wanted her son to embrace their heritage just as much. She wanted to do things on her own without help and she was very brave. She listened for her grandmother's wisdom in every situation and she had a habit of covering her mouth when she laughed or smiled because the Lakota women were taught that from early on. I admired Frankie. She was determined to finish the Lakota star quilt for her son because she knew in her heart it was an important aspect in her son's future. I loved Frankie's character and I would love to meet the real Frankie Chasing Bear.
Nick Parker is part Lakota and part white. In both worlds he is referred to as a "half breed". He works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs trying to convince the Navajo to become farmers and give up their sheep herds. Nick has ten years of sobriety but the urge to drink continues to hit him hard when tensions run high and he's frustrated over the beautiful Frankie Chasing Bear. I could feel Nick's battle raging inside of him when the urge to drink came and I smiled each time he won the battle. I loved Nick and the way he wanted to take care of Frankie and Harold. He had a protective nature and a great love of God where Frankie had a very hard time believing in the white man's God.
There were several aspects of this story I loved. First, God and Christianity were woven throughout the story in such a way as to get you thinking but it doesn't overtake the story. Second, the characters. Frankie and her son Harold, Nick and his friends, Monny and Reverend Honest Abe, Netty and Lucie. Third, I loved the storyline. The entire story was intriguing and engaging and I couldn't stop reading until I found out what would happen with Frankie, Harold and Nick. Finally, I loved the way quilting was such a big part of the story. For centuries quilting has been a huge part of some families and cultures. Quilting represents traditions, family and love and I think all three are very important. Frankie really struggled with trusting men because of her past but she struggled with trusting God even more. It was so great when she finally realized she needed to trust God for her son to come home safely but she also had to accept the fact that she needed help. Help from others because she couldn't do everything on her own. He character really blossomed by the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book. I have read a few other books in the Quilts of Love series and I enjoyed each of them immensely. If you love stories of faith and love, you'll love A Sky Without Stars. If you love quilting, you'll love this book. If you just love an entertaining story that keeps you turning the page, you'll love it also. I highly recommend this book!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is determined to give her son Harold a better chance at life. Frankie convinces the Navajo School Board to allow her to earn her school diploma. Her son is also enrolled in the same school to continue his education. She becomes aware of prejudice against the Indians especially from Mrs.Green. Then school is robbed and Frankie is not comfortable at all the finger pointing.
Harold at age ten becomes restless about their move and is anxious about his Lakota heritage needing to be near his deceased father and wanting to seek his rights to manhood. Frankie is very aware of her son's desire to go back to his Lakota home.
On several occasions when she was having problems with her son a Federal Agent Nick Parker for the reservation comes to their rescue. His shadowing her is appreciated but she will never trust another man especial not one that is only part Lakota and a Christian.
Frankie even refuses to trust the God her grandmother so wanted Frankie to know was her only hope.
Frankie had promised her grandmother she would make her son a Lakota Star pattern quilt which would reveal a great secret for life. As she worked on the quilt she could feel the wisdom of her Grandmother coming through to her.
I read this book in one. I did not want to put it down. This was a new look into the lives of American Indians in the nineteen-fifties. I was very aware of my anger at the prejudice they were faced with in the guise of their best interest.
Then there was the misplaced and misunderstood person that was not full blood Indian. They were often looked down upon causing them not to know which world they belonged.
The author created some unforgettable characters which I would love to revisit their lives.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group/Abingdon Press for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
Linda S. Clare in her new book, "A Sky Without Stars" Book Fifteen in the Quilts of Love Series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Frankie Chasing Bear.
From the back cover: Can a quilt bridge the gap between the two cultures?
After her husband is killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Frankie Chasing Bear wants a fresh start. But in 1951, relocating through the US government's Relocation Program didn't just mean a new town; it meant a new way of life. Frankie quickly learns that raising her son, Harold, to revere his Lakota heritage will be a challenge in the white man's world.
Searching for a way for her son to respect his ancestors but also embrace a future of opportunity, she begins a Lakota Star-pattern quilt with tribal wisdom sung, sewn, and prayed into itâ€”something that will not let him forget where he came from. A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt nor her new life come easily to Frankie.
Federal Agent Nick Parker, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. She's already struggling to understand Nick's culture, how can she embrace his Christian faith? Will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient for her son's quiltâ€”and life itself?
This is a story about race: The Lakota Indian, The Whites, Bi-Racial and all the wonder and value there is in them. It is also a story about racial prejudice. Harold has his problems at school, Nick seemingly gets away with it because he is a Federal Agent but does he? There is so much to embrace, all the rich heritage that is brought to the table and the poison that is discrimination. Ms. Clare has done an outstanding job of bringing history to the table, the time is 1951. She very deftly handles all the cultures and their values. And at no time does she ever drag the story down to either heavy or soapy. On top of everything Ms. Clare even packed in a romance. There is a lot in this book, much to think about and it just interesting and exciting as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
I think I should have read the synopsis a bit better before I started reading this book. LOL!
It took me about three chapters to really get into it but confusion was a big part of that. I will tell you I was intrigued by the time I read through the second paragraph.
Not having been alive during that time myself, I can't say with absolute certainty that the writing is accurate but it certainly rings true.
It was a bit of a difficult read for me actually - I am part Cherokee but that was never a problem for me. My problem was being poor.
My mother was determined to live in the best part of town that we could possibly afford and so we went to school with children who were firmly seated in upper middle class or lower upper class at the very most. And you can guess there were plenty of young girls who were happy to torment a big-boned girl who cared nothing for makeup or fashion and would rather bury her nose in a book while sitting high in a tree - than just about anything else.
And that is why I can say that the parts of this book that talk about bullying are very true to life. I sincerely hope that Linda S. Clare does not write from experience but you wouldn't be able to tell if she didn't. It's very realistic.
Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review.