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A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither...
A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt—nor her new life—comes easily to Frankie. Nick Vandergriff, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. He’s half-Lakota but Christian, and Frankie can see no good coming from that faith after her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian school. Can Nick convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren’t all bad? And will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient—for her son’s quilt and life itself?
Posted February 16, 2014
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.
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Posted June 20, 2014
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)
Posted April 1, 2014
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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.
Posted March 30, 2014
"Sew love into every stitch and remember: a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars."
Frankie Chasing Bear is Lakota and raising her son, Harold, alone. Frankie lived with drunken men her entire life, her father and then her husband Hank, so she was very leery of men in general. She had a determination rarely seen. She wanted her son and herself to get an education and would do whatever it took to make it happen. She was a proud woman that embraced her heritage and wanted her son to embrace their heritage just as much. She wanted to do things on her own without help and she was very brave. She listened for her grandmother's wisdom in every situation and she had a habit of covering her mouth when she laughed or smiled because the Lakota women were taught that from early on. I admired Frankie. She was determined to finish the Lakota star quilt for her son because she knew in her heart it was an important aspect in her son's future. I loved Frankie's character and I would love to meet the real Frankie Chasing Bear.
Nick Parker is part Lakota and part white. In both worlds he is referred to as a "half breed". He works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs trying to convince the Navajo to become farmers and give up their sheep herds. Nick has ten years of sobriety but the urge to drink continues to hit him hard when tensions run high and he's frustrated over the beautiful Frankie Chasing Bear. I could feel Nick's battle raging inside of him when the urge to drink came and I smiled each time he won the battle. I loved Nick and the way he wanted to take care of Frankie and Harold. He had a protective nature and a great love of God where Frankie had a very hard time believing in the white man's God.
There were several aspects of this story I loved. First, God and Christianity were woven throughout the story in such a way as to get you thinking but it doesn't overtake the story. Second, the characters. Frankie and her son Harold, Nick and his friends, Monny and Reverend Honest Abe, Netty and Lucie. Third, I loved the storyline. The entire story was intriguing and engaging and I couldn't stop reading until I found out what would happen with Frankie, Harold and Nick. Finally, I loved the way quilting was such a big part of the story. For centuries quilting has been a huge part of some families and cultures. Quilting represents traditions, family and love and I think all three are very important. Frankie really struggled with trusting men because of her past but she struggled with trusting God even more. It was so great when she finally realized she needed to trust God for her son to come home safely but she also had to accept the fact that she needed help. Help from others because she couldn't do everything on her own. He character really blossomed by the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book. I have read a few other books in the Quilts of Love series and I enjoyed each of them immensely. If you love stories of faith and love, you'll love A Sky Without Stars. If you love quilting, you'll love this book. If you just love an entertaining story that keeps you turning the page, you'll love it also. I highly recommend this book!
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
Posted March 30, 2014
Lakota Star Quilt
In 1951, Frankie Chasing Bear is determined to give her son Harold a better chance at life. Frankie convinces the Navajo School Board to allow her to earn her school diploma. Her son is also enrolled in the same school to continue his education. She becomes aware of prejudice against the Indians especially from Mrs.Green. Then school is robbed and Frankie is not comfortable at all the finger pointing.
Harold at age ten becomes restless about their move and is anxious about his Lakota heritage needing to be near his deceased father and wanting to seek his rights to manhood. Frankie is very aware of her son's desire to go back to his Lakota home.
On several occasions when she was having problems with her son a Federal Agent Nick Parker for the reservation comes to their rescue. His shadowing her is appreciated but she will never trust another man especial not one that is only part Lakota and a Christian.
Frankie Chasing Bear even refuses to trust the God her grandmother so wanted Frankie to know was her only hope.
Frankie promised her grandmother she would make her son a Lakota Star pattern quilt which would reveal a great secret for life. As she worked on the quilt she could feel the wisdom of her Grandmother coming through to her.
I read this book in one. I did not want to put it down. This was a new look into the lives of American Indians in the nineteen-fifties. I was very aware of my anger at the prejudice they were faced with in the guise of their best interest.
Then there was the misplaced and misunderstood person that was not full blood Indian. They were often looked down upon causing them not to know which world they belonged.
The author created some unforgettable characters which I would love to revisit their lives.
I highly recommend this book.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group/Abingdon Press for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
Posted March 26, 2014
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.
Posted March 25, 2014
Linda S. Clare in her new book, “A Sky Without Stars” Book Fifteen in the Quilts of Love Series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Frankie Chasing Bear.
From the back cover: Can a quilt bridge the gap between the two cultures?
After her husband is killed on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, Frankie Chasing Bear wants a fresh start. But in 1951, relocating through the US government’s Relocation Program didn’t just mean a new town; it meant a new way of life. Frankie quickly learns that raising her son, Harold, to revere his Lakota heritage will be a challenge in the white man’s world.
Searching for a way for her son to respect his ancestors but also embrace a future of opportunity, she begins a Lakota Star-pattern quilt with tribal wisdom sung, sewn, and prayed into it—something that will not let him forget where he came from. A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt nor her new life come easily to Frankie.
Federal Agent Nick Parker, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. She’s already struggling to understand Nick’s culture, how can she embrace his Christian faith? Will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient for her son’s quilt—and life itself?
This is a story about race: The Lakota Indian, The Whites, Bi-Racial and all the wonder and value there is in them. It is also a story about racial prejudice. Harold has his problems at school, Nick seemingly gets away with it because he is a Federal Agent but does he? There is so much to embrace, all the rich heritage that is brought to the table and the poison that is discrimination. Ms. Clare has done an outstanding job of bringing history to the table, the time is 1951. She very deftly handles all the cultures and their values. And at no time does she ever drag the story down to either heavy or soapy. On top of everything Ms. Clare even packed in a romance. There is a lot in this book, much to think about and it just interesting and exciting as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted March 10, 2014
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.
Posted March 6, 2014
About the Book:
Frankie Chasing Bear is caught between cultures. She wants to raise her son Harold to revere his Lakota heritage, but she also thinks he will need to learn the white man’s ways to succeed. After the untimely death of her husband, Frankie joins the U.S. Government’s Relocation Program and moves to Arizona. There she begins sewing a Lakota Star pattern quilt for Harold with tribal wisdom sung, sewn, and prayed into it. A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, but neither the quilt—nor her new life—comes easily to Frankie.
Nick Vandergriff, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. He’s half-Lakota but Christian, and Frankie can see no good coming from that faith after her own parents were forced to convert at an Indian school. Can Nick convince Frankie that white men and Christians aren’t all bad? And will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient—for her son’s quilt and life itself?
About the Author:
Linda S. Clare is an award-winning author and coauthor of several books and has also published many essays, stories, and poems in publications, including The Christian Reader, The Denver Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. Her most recent book is A Sky without Stars, the newest release in Abingdon’s Quilts of Love line. Born in Arizona, Linda and her husband now make their home in Eugene, Oregon, where Linda has taught college-level creative writing classes, and writes, edits, and mentors other writers. She also is a frequent writing conference presenter, a church retreat leader, and mom to four grown children and five wayward cats.
A book based on family but also based on hate. The characters in the book find themselves stuck between two worlds. Two worlds; one being the white mans world and the other being the world of the Lakota Indian tribe. Frankie's grandmother passed on the art and family tradition of quilting and made her promise should would carry it on and pass it down to the next generation. Frankie meant well when she agreed to the promise but her son is not really all that interested in quilt making and frankly, he doesn't understand why you would need a quilt when they live in Arizona.
Frankie and Harold are trying to rebuild their lives in an alternate location when she starts quilting to make her feel better. Life in the 1950's shouldn't be this hard for Native Americans, should it? But it is a hard life, they are definitely racial intentions and slurs directed their way but with God's help, they plan to succeed.
**Disclosure** This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest review from Litfuse Publicity.