Thursday, December 29, 2016

Náápiikoan Winter - #BookBeginnings on Friday and The #Friday56

    Readers who enjoy stories set in the era of the Hudson's Bay Company in Canada and the western U.S. will love Náápiikoan Winter by Alethea Williams. Told from the point of view of Native Americans, as well as through the eyes of an indentured employee of the Hudson's Bay Company and others, this epic adventure kept me enthralled. The story is even more meaningful because it's based on a real person's experiences.
    Although at first the unfamiliar Native American names slowed down my reading, I soon became comfortable with them. Their inclusion adds color and authenticity to the story. (The author includes a list of "connections.") The author's meticulous research shows up in her portrayal of the characters and their way of life. No wonder Alethea Williams has won so many awards for her writing!

The author provided me with a free ebook copy of Náápiikoan Winter. I have featured other fine books by Alethea Williams on my blog before: Willow Vale and Walls for the Wind.

Book Beginning:
     Isobel, a light sleeper, woke in darkness to the sounds of her parents' habitual nighttime dispute.
     "Will you do nothing? Stupid, lazy bitch! No better than a dog in heat - you breed bastard children from different men and leave them to raise themselves. You're like a mangy cur bitch on a leash of gold. I wish I'd never set eyes on you!"

Friday 56 (from 56% on my Kindle):
All the chiefs stood, extending a hand, and Saahkómaapi and the Orator grasped each in turn. Then the Piikáni approached the Whites, a short line of oddly-dressed, stunted and pale men who reminded Saahkómaapi of the tobacco spirits, in Piikáni legend dwarfs no more than one foot tall. Every one of them looked wan and sick, the mature one’s faces matted with hair just like dogs, exactly as the Káínaawa messenger had described them.

Genre: Historical Fiction
Book Length: 295 Pages
Amazon Link: Náápiikoan Winter
Author Website: Actually Alethea

Synopsis (from Amazon):

At the turn of a new century, changes unimagined are about to unfold.

THE WOMAN: Kidnapped by the Apaches, a Mexican woman learns the healing arts. Stolen by the Utes, she is sold and traded until she ends up with the Piikáni. All she has left are her skills--and her honor. What price will she pay to ensure a lasting place among the People?

THE MAN: Raised in a London charitable school, a young man at the end of the third of a seven year term of indenture to the Hudson's Bay Company is sent to the Rocky Mountains to live among the Piikáni for the winter to learn their language and to foster trade. He dreams of his advancement in the company, but he doesn't reckon the price for becoming entangled in the passions of the Piikáni.

THE LAND: After centuries of conflict, Náápiikoan traders approach the Piikáni, powerful members of the Blackfoot Confederation. The Piikáni already have horses and weapons, but they are promised they will become rich if they agree to trap beaver for Náápiikoan. Will the People trade their beliefs for the White Man's bargains?

Alethea Williams is the author of Willow Vale, the story of a Tyrolean immigrant's journey to America after WWI. Willow Vale won a 2012 Wyoming State Historical Society Publications Award. In her second novel, Walls for the Wind, a group of New York City immigrant orphans arrive in Hell on Wheels, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Walls for the Wind is a WILLA Literary Award finalist, a gold Will Rogers Medallion winner, and placed first at the Laramie Awards in the Prairie Fiction category.

Partially based on the works of Canadian trader, explorer, and mapmaker David Thompson, Náápiikoan Winter spans a continent, examining the cultures in flux at the passing of one era and the painful birth of another.


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Twitter: @SandyNachlinger
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  1. The first paragraph made me cringe, reading that verbal abuse. It does sound like a book I wouldn't be able to put down, though.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

  2. This sounds like it could be very intriguing. I don't think I've ever read a novel set in that area...

  3. I will definitely look for this title or other books by this author. Thank you. My Friday Quotes

  4. I like the sound of this one and its descriptive language. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

  5. This sounds interesting and not an area I know much about. I'll have to look for this one.

  6. Thank you so much for your review of Naapiikoan Winter. The turn of the 18th-19th centuries was a tough time in North America, as the Spanish from the south, the English from the north, and the Americans from the east continued the relentless push to either convert Native peoples to "civilization" or to destroy them. Even though it's not a "happy" story and plunks the reader down into an unfamiliar culture, I am so pleased you liked the book, Sandra! I hope anyone else who picks up a copy is rewarded by my historical novel.

  7. I'd love to read this one. I very much enjoyed Willow Vale!

    My Friday 56 from Guarded

  8. The first paragraph introduces the narrator as a child and hints that this is a different time and culture. I agree with Laurel Rain-Snow that the abusive tone is hard to take, but does make me want to know what is going on. What's the "leash of gold" all about?

  9. The book sounds pretty good. I grew up in the northern midwest of the US and I've always been fascinated by the cultures from the Great Lakes to Hudson Bay. I might have to give that book a try.

  10. Oh my goodness! That beginning made me cringe! I do hope that the mother gets a better outcome.

  11. Sounds like an interesting book.

  12. That's already a jarring beginning. I haven't heard of this author, will have to look into her. Happy Friday!

  13. The language... lol.... sounds like a good read though. Wishing you the best in 2017!


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