I loved this book! Now that I’ve got that out there, let me tell you why. Wounded Spirits by April Gardner is compelling, well written, fast paced, entertaining, informative without becoming expository, has interesting well-developed characters, and from an historical perspective, delves into an area of ‘forbidden love’ that is uncommon in this genre. Have I missed anything?
Set in the Southeastern US during the early 1800s, we are dumped smack into the middle of a conflict between the settlers and the indigenous people of the area. The ‘Creek War’ as it has been called, is told from both the point of view of a white family and a ‘Creek’ family – a refreshing take on this real historical event. In the midst of the blood and carnage, love manages to creep into the mix.
Adela McGirth is taken captive by a Creek warrior along with her mother and sister after a bloody raid. In fact, they are taken for their own safety, since the warrior had once been helped by the McGirth family when he was a child. Taking them as ‘slaves’ ensures their survival since they would have been slaughtered along with everyone else left in the fort. Adela’s father, who was away at the time, does not know the truth. Thinking his whole family has been killed, he sets off on a quest for revenge.
Meanwhile, Totka, a relative of the captor, has been put in charge of the women. He shows them kindness and patience as he takes his role as protector and provider to heart. Mutual admiration and respect soon blossom into love for Totka and Adela, but a relationship seems unfathomable. Not only are they from completely different worlds, but Adela’s strong Christian faith stands in the way as an insurmountable stumbling block.
Without revealing any more, let me just say that the end was a bit of a surprise, although it did read ‘true’. If you want to know what I mean, you have to read this book. It is a solid five stars in my books on every count. I was left wanting more – please!