I now see for myself what my father has maintained all along to be true. Native people may live in a different world from ours, but it is not an inferior one. I admit that I have been quick to condemn Joseph for what I have perceived to be his primitive beliefs, but he and his wife are not savages, as their detractors would have us believe . Or at least they are no more savage in their world than we are in ours.
--Alexandria Bartram writes about sheltering from a storm in a tipi with the wife and children of a Crow Indian who has accompanied their expedition.
From the cover: "In the spring of 1898, A.E. (Alexandria) Bartram - a feisty young woman with a love for botany - is invited to join a field study to Yellowstone National Park. Its leader, a mild-mannered professor from Montana mistakenly assumes she is a man, and is less than pleased to discover the truth. Once the scientists overcome the shock of having a woman on their team, they forge ahead on a summer of adventure, forming an enlightening web of relationships as they move from Mammoth Hot Springs to a camp high in the backcountry. But as they make their way collecting amid Yellowstone’s pristine beauty - threatened even a century ago by misguided tourism - the group is splintered by differing views on science, nature, and economics.
This delightful epistolary novel captures an ever-fascinating era and charts one woman’s dramatic journey to a greater understanding of herself and her place in the world."
My thoughts: I loved this book! The characters were believable, well-rounded individuals that I really cared about, the writing was convincing in style and historical detail and each character had a natural, easily distinguishable voice. I had tears in my eyes toward the end, as they were breaking camp. There are quiet moments during which the characters describe botanical life or scenery as well as some tense action. The death of one character's beloved pet had me grieving right along with him and at other moments I smiled and a couple of times laughed out loud. Excellent historical fiction.
Letters from Yellowstone was copyrighted in 1999 and I was hoping to find more by this author but haven't located anything at all. What a disappointment! Because the dominant protagonists frequently refer to the expedition of Lewis and Clark, I'm now reading The Essential Lewis and Clark, edited by Landon Y. Jones.
And, in other thoughts, I hope this blog hasn't become terribly dull along with its recent infrequency of posts. My eldest son was, shall we say, not so "involved" in high school as the youngster who has just begun 9th grade. I am stunned at how little time I have to myself, these days. My reading time has not only been shot to hell by all the taxiing; but, also, it's been so darned hot that when I'm sitting by the pool during swim team practice or in the car while waiting for band to end (with an umbrella propped up on my side-view mirror, as there are only two shady spots and I've opted to create my own shade rather than fight for a spot under one of the trees), I can't concentrate long enough to get anywhere on my reading.
Note to God or Mother Nature (or, maybe Tony the weather guy, if he has any influence): Send cool weather soon!!