That’s truly the best way to start this review.
Lucia St. Clair Robson creates a world from a world that already exists and makes it fascinating. In this particular instance, she’s given us a view of the Cherokee Nation when they still made their home in the areas of Virginia, Tennessee, and the Carolinas. The books focuses on two characters; Tiana Rogers and Sam Houston.
But this isn’t a so-called mash-up like the books that are so popular now. It’s true. It’s true that Sam Houston, who was integral to Texas being a part of the United States – and had the city of Houston named after him – fell in love with a Cherokee woman, became a member of her Nation, and married her. It’s true that that woman was Tiana Rogers, who was considered a ‘Beloved Woman’ by her tribe. We don’t learn that in school, but it is most certainly a story worth knowing.
As with historical fiction, there are liberties that must be taken and things that must be expanded artistically. Some of the dates and facts Robson gives in the book don’t match up exactly with other research I’ve been able to do on Tiana Rogers and Sam Houston. It doesn’t really matter, though, because the details of what Robson writes are enough to carry the reader in away into a world you don’t usually get experience with such vivid clarity.
The story starts when Tiana is just a child and spans time until she dies in her forties. The focus of the story is primarily on the Cherokee but it is also a history lesson on how the government dealt, or tried to deal with, the Cherokee. For a history lover like me, it’s the perfect balance of history and romance, hope and heartache, love and hate.
One of the best things about the book, something that will make me go back and read it for a third time, is the way Robson so carefully makes Tiana her own woman; not like the majority of the white women at the time, while keeping her in line with who a Cherokee woman would be.
Read this book if it at all sounds interesting to you. It will catch you and keep you.