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A Sky Without Stars: Quilts of Love Series

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  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Pine Ridge, South Dakota Frankie Chasing Bear I did not come t

    Pine Ridge, South Dakota

    Frankie Chasing Bear

    I did not come to quilt-making easily. The urge to piece together shapes and colors wasn't my gift.

    But when I was twelve, Grandmother said soon the quilt might be all that was left of what we once were. By the time your children wrap quilts around themselves, she told me, the star and all it stands for may be a dim memory, lit only by the fire of ancestors, clouded by ruddy smoke hanging in the sky.

    Just before she died, Grandmother and I sat together one last time. She stopped to smooth a small wrinkle in the quilt top. "Lakota were favored among tribes," she said. "Our people stood at the top of the hills. The buffalo and the deer bowed to our warriors, and we lived together in peace. The peace pipe showed us how to live, and the stars helped us find good hunting grounds. One day, the sun rose on white men. They brought their religion, but they often did not listen to their God's teachings. We were brought low and herded like animals. They had no explanation, except to point to their Book. We were to love their God and love each other."

    Grandmother laughed. "Lakota need no instruction on love." Tears glistened in her tired black eyes. She'd seen something terrible in the smoke, she said for the hundredth time. A red rose, unopened. Blood, a river of blood. Another day was coming, she said, when words from the Book would take place: We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

    I dared not remind her she prayed to the God of the Bible. That she stood in two worlds, fully Lakota, fully Christian. I worry it's not possible for me. Indians who go to the church are shunned by their kin and by the whites. Outcasts, their feet in no world at all.

    Before we traveled to Arizona, Grandmother made me promise to make this Lakota Star for my son. Sew love into every stitch and remember: a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars. The quilt will help this child remember who he is, she said. The star will tell him how much he is loved and the light will save him at the last day." (excerpt Prologue).

    A Sky Without Stars is the latest novel in the Quilts of Love Series by Linda S. Clare as she takes a Native American turn at storytelling. We meet Frankie Chasing Bear who has begun the task of trying to make it on her own as a single mother leaving her to care for her son, ten-year-old Harold. After growing up among men who drink, first her father and then her husband, Frankie knows that she must do all she can to make sure her son does not follow in his families footsteps. But Harold is facing his own challenges being bullied by a white boy named Orval who finds picking on the Indian child to be his lot in life. No matter how much Frankie tries to help, somethings can only be learned by going through life and enduring the tough trials. Soon Frankie and Harold find an ally in Nick Parker, a Federal Agent who is half Lakota as well and both will find that learning to embrace new challenges and giving up some of the past prejudices are just what is needed for them both to move forward to a new life.

    I received A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare compliments of Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed are strictly my own unless otherwise noted. I love this take on the Quilts of Love series with the Native American twist for the 15th book in the series. I love how they embrace their heritage and the ways that have been passed down from generation to generation much like the quilt that Frankie is creating for her son, Harold. Quilts are like that in that they generally tell a bit about the person who handcrafted it with love and blessings as pieces are stitched together creating a beautiful work of art, much like how God uses our circumstances to create the person He has in mind as we grow and mature. I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars and it even includes a reader discussion guide at the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2014

    This book is set in the 1950's, when assimilation was still goin

    This book is set in the 1950's, when assimilation was still going on and racism was common. I found the perspective and struggles of Frankie Chasing Bear fascinating (especially since my husband and I are in the process of adopting our baby daughter who has Native American heritage and will be a registered tribe member). Frankie's generation was caught in the middle of transitioning between two worlds and cultures, wanting the best of both for her son. Since Nick is half-Lakota, he understands the feeling of not completely belonging or being accepted in either culture, but helps Frankie realize that what is most important is belonging to God and being accepted by Him.

    (Thank you to Abingdon Press for providing a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review)

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  • Posted April 1, 2014

    A well written story that gives a good glimpse of what life wa

    A well written story that gives a good glimpse of what life was like for a single Native American mother in the 1950's. I like reading about this era in US History. Linda Clare did a really good job with story. You usually don't think of quilts when you think of Native Americans, but the quilt in this story kept the culture of the Lakota's alive.

    I received a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

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  • Posted March 26, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    This is my favorite of the QUILTS OF LOVE series of books.  Set

    This is my favorite of the QUILTS OF LOVE series of books.  Set in the 1950s, I especially liked the undercurrent of Lakota and other native heritage.  Tensions between the Native Americans and the white man were handled realistically, but no one was painted with a heavy hand.  While all the novels in the QUILTS OF LOVE series in some way are connected to quilts, I felt the connection a quilter feels towards quilting (the importance it can place in one's life) was portrayed strongest in this story.  Frankie is designing and making a quilt for her son that she hopes will represent their Lakota tradition, just as her grandmother taught her.  As she works on the stars in the sky, she begins to finally understand how her grandmother could claim a place both in the Lakota world and in God's kingdom.  This would be a good addition to church libraries or as a gift to someone who enjoys Christian fiction.  I believe it would entertain a wide age range.  

    I received a copy of this title from LITFUSE for my review and participation in the blog tour.  All opinions are mine.

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  • Posted March 10, 2014

    Lakota Star A young Lakota Indian woman and her 10-year-old

    Lakota Star

    A young Lakota Indian woman and her 10-year-old son moved from a painful past in Pine Ridge, South Dakota to a different type of volatile situation just outside Phoenix, Arizona. Frankie had dreams that she and her son could receive an education and a chance to better themselves. The Indians living in the "white" world were scorned and looked down upon, oftentimes with a despairing outcome. Having no family or friends, and being bullied by the community, they were suspicious of anyone and everyone. Taught to quilt by her grandmother, Frankie spent her free time constructing a Lakota Star quilt for her son, a tradition in the Lakota community for a boy's coming of age. As she quilted she spoke to her grandmother, her spiritual connection. Although her grandmother was Lakota, she also believed in God which Frankie found impossible to understand. She saw no need for God in her life. 

    Nick Parker from the Bureau of Land Management was light-skinned with dark hair, wearing a belt buckle with an agate, representing Lakota heritage. He offered help to Frankie and her son, although Frankie wouldn't trust a halfbreed who also happened to be a Christian. She kept up barriers to any type of relationship with the man, having no trust for men due to her past experiences.

    Detailed and authentic, this is an accurate accounting of the Indian community versus the white community, and the misconceptions that each presumed about the other. The story of the Lakota Star quilt, otherwise known as the Bethlehem Star in the Christian context, is pivotal in this representation of the differences and adversities between the Indian and the Christian community. Pictorial and well documented, I found this to be an interesting story in the Quilts of Love series. Linda Clare has done her research and presented a detailed and personal account of two separate worlds attempting to coexist. Learning to forgive and rely on others is a valuable lesson to be learned in this story of suspicion, apprehension and mistrust.

    Disclaimer: I received copies of this book from LitFuse Publicity and Wynn-Wynn Media in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.

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