Steal the North

Finished Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstrom.  I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

A novel of love in all its forms: for the land, for family, and the once-in-a-lifetime kind that catches two people when they least expect it

Emmy is a shy, sheltered sixteen-year-old when her mom, Kate, sends her to eastern Washington to an aunt and uncle she never knew she had. Fifteen years earlier, Kate had
abandoned her sister, Beth, when she fled her painful past and their fundamentalist church. And now, Beth believes Emmy’s participation in a faith healing is her last hope for having a child.

Emmy goes reluctantly, but before long she knows she has come home. She feels tied to the rugged landscape of coulees and scablands. And she meets Reuben, the Native American boy next door.

In a part of the country where the age-old tensions of cowboys versus Indians still play out, theirs is the kind of magical, fraught love that can only survive with the passion and resilience of youth. Their story is mirrored by the generation before them, who fears that their mistakes are doomed to repeat themselves in Emmy and Reuben. With Louise Erdrich’s sense of place and a love story in the tradition of Water for Elephants, this is an atmospheric family drama in which the question of home is a spiritual one, in which getting over the past is the only hope for the future.”

Note to readers: this book has a slow pace.  This isn’t a bad thing.  It’s languid-slow, not  boring-slow, and it takes the book time to tell you its secrets.  Be patient; you’ll be amply rewarded.

I absolutely loved this story.  It’s told from different perspectives.  I loved Emmy’s chapters the most, but enjoyed hearing things from the other perspectives, too (especially Bethany’s and Reuben’s).

The characters in this book became friends and I rejoiced and suffered along with them.  And now I miss them.

I know the synopsis compares it to Louise Erdrich (which I can see, especially in Reuben’s chapters) and Water for Elephants, this book is completely itself and I can’t wait for this book to find its audience.  It’s a rare, beautiful thing.

Highly recommended.

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