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Mid-August 1951 Outside Phoenix, Arizona
Frankie Chasing Bear eased the old Chevy pickup to the side of the rutted dirt road. If she hadn't run out of quilting thread, they'd have stayed home on a day this hot. A plume of steam rose from the radiator and disappeared into the pale sun-bleached sky.
She slapped the steering wheel with the heel of her hand. "Not again!" A stab of guilt penetrated deep, an ache she'd carried since Hank's death. At the time, leaving South Dakota for the West seemed to be the only answer. But now, Arizona looked a lot like the moon, dry and far away. And life here wasn't any better.
She squinted out the driver's side window. Dotted with the gray-greens of mesquite and cactus, the desert went on for miles. She swiped at her cheeks—her son shouldn't see her cry. Was getting stranded out here worth a few spools of thread?
Ten-year-old Harold shifted in his seat. Frankie already knew how he felt about the Lakota Star quilt. As far as he was concerned, quilts were for babies. And why, he'd asked, would you need one in a place this hot?
She'd told her son the story again and again. Before her death, Grandmother had made Frankie promise to finish the coverlet depicting stories once told around tribal fires. Grandmother had been adamant—the quilt should also reflect faith in God. Today, Frankie wasn't sure about any of it, but she'd promised. If nothing else, her son should learn to keep his word.
"Rotten luck," she said, smiling at her son.
Harold's smooth face remained impassive. "We should've checked the water back at the store."
Her son had wisdom beyond his years. She patted his hand. "Good thing we wore our walking shoes, eh?" Her eyes closed, she sighed. "I'll get the cans." Harold shook his head and stared at the floorboard.
Frankie got out of the cab and went around to the truck's rusty tailgate. The blue cotton dress she wore was no match for the wind, which kicked up her skirt unless she held it down. She used her free hand for a visor and searched the road, hoping to spot the dust cloud from another vehicle. The heat of summer combined with a light wind to blast every inch of her as she scanned the horizon, but the only movement was from a couple of dust devils twirling in the distance.
She hefted the empty cans out of the bed and tapped on the truck's back window. "C'mon, it's only a mile or so to the gas station."
Getting out of the cab, her son moved like a tortoise, the way he did when he was being stubborn. With the heat bearing down on the crown of her head, she was crankier than usual. "Harold. Come on."
They started toward the gas station Frankie had hoped they could avoid. The fabric store had been bad enough. Elbow to elbow with a bunch of ladies wearing shapeless dresses and face powder the color of dust. All scooting away from her and Harold.
She'd figured the old truck had enough water in it to make it home, but she'd figured wrong. Now Stu, the sassy guy who manned the pumps at the Texaco might taunt her son—call him little Hiawatha, like last time. Stu's kid Orval, a pudgy boy with an ax to grind, had already jumped Harold once after school. Bully. Her mouth was dry. She ran her tongue across her teeth.
She glanced at Harold. He was a good boy and handsome, too, or at least he would be in a couple more years. Tall for his age, he could outrun the kids back home. And he hardly ever complained. Frankie had been thankful for it, all the way here. She smiled as she tried to match his stride. The kid probably weighed as much as the empty gallon can which knocked against his knees.
She pushed her damp bangs off her forehead. "Want me to spot you?"
"Naw. I got it." Harold's face glistened with sweat that dripped onto his brown plaid shirt.
Harold's stick-straight hair was cut short for summer. Even without braids, he looked like his father, Hank Sr. But she was determined he wouldn't turn out like his old man: prone to drink and violence. She shuddered at the memory of Hank's murder only six months before, still ashamed of the small ways she was glad. He could never hurt her or Harold again. If there was a God, her husband's passing was a gift.
Frankie kept a bright look on her face and began singing one of the Lakota songs she'd learned as a child. "C'mon, it'll pass the time," she said, and started again. In Pine Ridge, Harold was always a good sport about these things. But now he stared ahead, as if he didn't want to associate with his own mother. She walked on the road's soft shoulder and hummed to herself. Like it or not, Harold was growing up.
Ahead, the station shimmered, mirage-like—the red Texaco star a gleaming beacon. As they walked across the blacktop, heat radiated through the bottoms of her cheap sneakers. She glanced at Harold, who ran up to the concrete islands in front of the pumps. She walked faster.
The smart-mouth owner was on duty. Stu, dressed in white from head to toe, a cap sitting sideways on his pathetic crew cut. "Hey," he said to Harold. He turned to Frankie. "It'd be nice if you bought something now and then." He wiped his hands on a rag. The place reeked of oil and gas.
She pulled out her charm, the same charm she'd used to get that radiator filled a dozen times. She brushed her bangs aside. "Hey, Stu. You wouldn't mind helping a lady out would you?" Maybe she should've worn the red top with the ruffles again. Gas station attendants seemed to like red. She laughed behind her hand, an old Lakota habit she'd grown up with. When she was nervous, she couldn't stop.
But Stu's jaw muscles worked side to side. "Dry radiator, again?" He scowled at her. "I can't keep giving out free services to you people," he said. Harold stood in back of Stu, narrowing his eyes at Stu, the same way he'd seen his dad do when other men looked at her.
"All's we need is a little water to make it home," she said. Stu was such an ornery cuss—he got maybe three customers on a good day. The wind came up and gusted against her cheeks, then died. Frankie tasted dirt.
They all turned back toward the road. A rumble and dirt-colored cloud trailed a government truck. Stu waved them back. "I got a real customer. You'll have to wait."
Frankie and Harold moved a couple feet and set down the cans. She poked Harold and pointed to a drinking fountain. "Go get a drink," she said.
The white pickup, with "Bureau of Indian Affairs" in raised letters on the door, braked to a stop. She folded her arms. Let Stu attend to Mr. Important.
A light-skinned but dark-haired lanky man stepped out. His eyes were hard to see under his hat's brim. He wore cowboy boots and an agate belt buckle. The buckle gave him away. Most of her male relatives wore the same type of agate buckle. He had to be part Lakota—and who knew what else. The man, in his tan government uniform and all, sparked something in Frankie. His voice was deep, melodic. "Can you fill it up?" The man wasn't sarcastic the way Hank Sr. always was. No, this guy was more than polite and didn't let Stu's attitude chase him up a tree. The man nodded at the most expensive gas pump. "I reckon the government can spring for ethyl," the man said.
Stu nodded, although he seemed a tad disappointed he was serving another Indian. Stu went to work, the gas pump dinging. "Can't say I've seen you 'round here." Stu pulled a squeegee across the bug-encrusted windshield. "You new?"
The stranger smiled; his teeth were white and straight. "Nick Parker," he said, touching his hat's brim. "Just transferred down from Nebraska." He took off the hat and used his forearm to mop his brow. "I'm still getting used to the heat."
Harold snorted. Frankie elbowed her son, but it was too late. The man turned. "You from the Rez?"
Frankie and Harold looked at each other. The local Pima-Maricopa reservation?
Harold shook his head. "Nope." He raised his chin. "Lakota."
Frankie's throat burned, but she couldn't force herself to move away from the stranger. "Go on, son, and get a drink." She pointed again to the fountain.
"Ma! Stop treating me like a kid." He sat on the curb.
Nick seemed interested in the boy. "Where you from, then?" He sat next to Harold, arms resting across his knees.
A guy who likes kids, Frankie thought. She watched out of the corner of her eye as the man spoke with her son. Nick's thick, coppery hair swept back from his forehead. But the handsome ones could be dangerous.
Stu pulled the gas nozzle out and hung it on the pump. He came over. "Want me to check the water and oil?" He shot Frankie and Harold a look. "You can overheat pretty easy on a day like this."
Nick laughed, and his eyes brightened and sent a chill up Frankie's back. "Sure," he said. "Don't want to overheat out here, right?"
Right. Her breath caught, as if she were viewing the Milky Way for the first time. Whoa. She didn't believe in love at first sight anymore, especially when love later grew fists.
An awkward moment passed, as if he'd heard her thoughts. He stood up and turned to the pair. "Are you here to stay or just passing through?"
Frankie drew her shoulders back. The man stood straight, proud; his eyes were a whiskey shade of brown. It would be easy to get sucked in, too easy. She locked her heart. But in the next moment, Frankie let the wind take her caution. "We're hoping to make our home here." She laughed, forcing her hand to stay at her side. "It's the wrong time of year to be snowbirds." She wished again she'd worn red. "As Harold said, Lakota," she said. "We're Lakota."
Nick's eyes lit up. "Not many Lakota this far from South Dakota. What made you want to come live in the desert?"
Frankie shrugged. Why they'd left South Dakota was complicated—too complicated to talk about. "We thought we'd like the nice, cool Arizona summers," she said. "I'm Frankie and this is my son, Harold."
Stu barged into the conversation again. "That'll be three dollars," he said. Nick dug out a bill and handed it to Stu.
"I'll get your change," Stu said.
Nick turned to Frankie. "Huh." He paused. "What a coincidence. Growing up, I spent my summers at Pine Ridge." He used his hat like a fan. "It's got to be a hundred and ten."
Stu corrected him. "Hunert and eleven."
Nick grinned. "Hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk."
Slouched beside a gas pump, Harold broke his silence. "Ma overheated the truck 'bout a mile back," he said, pointing to the water cans. "She just had to buy thread. Today." Frankie gave him a look, but this was a good sign. If Harold said more than two words, it meant he liked you.
Nick picked up the cans. "Let's get these filled," he said. He looked deep into Frankie's eyes and held her gaze steady. "Could I give you a lift back to your truck?"
* * *
Nick spooled out the water hose and filled up the cans, studying the young woman and her son. Prettiest girl he'd ever laid eyes on. Her free-falling black hair danced in the wind as she said, "Oh, no, we can make it all right. But thank you." She looked away, giving Nick a moment to appreciate her profile. Water overflowed onto his boot. It's what he got for gawking. He prayed for forgiveness.
She spoke softly. "Harold, get a drink before we go, OK honey?"
Harold dragged himself to the drinking fountain attached to the side of a soda pop cooler outside the repair bay. For five cents, the cooler's top slid open and you could pull out an ice cold drink. Summers in Pine Ridge, Nick and his buddies had pilfered a soda or two from a machine like that. Then, got beat up by a bully named Moose.
He let the water hose reel itself back in and picked up the full cans. He faced the woman named Frankie, the wind pressing her thin blue dress against her body. "These things weigh a ton," he said. Her figure was better than the Rodeo Princess up at Prescott. He said, "You got a bum radiator?"
Frankie shrugged. "Got to get that thing fixed."
Nick hoped he wasn't too pushy, but he didn't try to stop himself from being drawn in, either. "Your old man won't help you?" He set down the water, which sloshed onto his boots again.
She ran her fingers through her hair. "Not exactly." Her hands were plain, capable and strong, not fancied up with polished nails or jewelry or even a wedding ring. Nick liked simplicity. A practical sort, not like his ex, Carolyn. She'd about driven them into the poorhouse with her beauty parlor treatments and whatnot. He preferred her story to Carolyn's version, hers blamed Nick and a friend named alcohol.
The bottle had claimed his dad and half his relatives at Pine Ridge. Nick had nearly ten years sober, and had broken the Parker family tradition—Carolyn hadn't give him enough credit.
He tried to make eye contact, but Frankie stared at the horizon. "You planning on staying out here?"
Her gaze flitted to Harold at the drinking fountain and back again. "The kid's dad died in South Dakota." She paused, as if thinking up a good explanation. "Hank Sr., that's my husband, used to say he had relatives here, so I thought, 'Why not?'" She took a breath, and finally returned his stare.
He took off his hat and got lost in her deep brown eyes. He said, "Sorry. Got to be tough on the boy." He wanted to ask if she was seeing anyone, tell her he liked her simple beauty, offer to cook her dinner sometime. His tongue balked.
Before he could say anything, Stu's voice rang out. "You thievin' injun, pay up!"
* * *
Harold raced past Frankie and Nick, with Stu in pursuit. A wet stain down Harold's shirt looked suspicious. Frankie fingered the spools of thread in her pocket, wondering if Stu was in a bartering mood as Harold hid behind his mother.
The attendant wagged a finger. "All right, Frankie Chasing Bear," he said. "That'll be a nickel. And I've got a mind to charge you for the water. That boy of yours is getting to be a real headache."
Nick gave Frankie a puzzled look, but dug into his pocket. "Here," he said, producing a nickel. "Indian head, no less."
Stu took the money.
Frankie pulled Harold around to face her. She spoke in a low, even tone. "You did this?"
Harold looked ready to cry. "No, Ma." He raised his tee shirt to reveal his waistband. "See?"
Frankie nodded. "Look Stu, my kid didn't take anything."
Stu narrowed his eyes. "How do I know he didn't stash it somewhere?"
Nick stepped toward Stu. "The kid says he didn't steal it." He dug out more change. "But we'd like cold ones for the road." Nick strode to the cooler and brought back three bottles.
Stu glared, but nodded and straightened his cap.
Nick handed a cold, sweaty bottle to Frankie. "Thank you." She wouldn't let on, but RC Cola tasted like heaven. She elbowed Harold. "Where are your manners?"
"Thanks." Harold tipped back his soda and began walking back down the road.
But Harold waved her off and kept walking. The kid could be as stubborn as his dad.
Nick brought her attention back. "Let me take you back to your rig."
Frankie hoped her son's moodiness wouldn't embarrass the both of them. "Harold's got a mind of his own," she said. "Some days I think one of us won't live to see Christmas." She smoothed her bangs with her palm. "Sure, I'll take a lift."
Nick smiled too. His forehead and cheekbones had a noble hint that tugged at Frankie. She wanted to ask him which Lakota band his mother was from, was he related to any of the famous chiefs. He tilted his head toward the truck. "C'mon, let's get that rascal." He held the driver's side door open.
Frankie climbed into the cab and slid across the bench seat, still gripping the soda bottle. Nick got in after her and started the truck. When he slammed the door, she picked up a whiff of sage.
Excerpted from A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare. Copyright © 2014 Linda S. Clare. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
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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.