Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Under a Blackberry Moon

Under a Blackberry Moon by Serena B. Miller

Publication Date: 10/15/2013
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
Imprint: Revell Books
Genre: Christian/Inspirational Historical Romance
Pages: 352
ISBN-10: 0800721187
ISBN-13: 978-0800721183

(Received for an honest review from Revell)

Purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBook, IndieBound

Serena B. Miller on the WEB: Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Pinterest

Excerpt from Under a Blackberry Moon, courtesy of Amazon's Look Inside feature.

Synopsis:

Just a few days after she gives birth alone in the Northwoods, a recently widowed young Chippewa woman stumbles into a nearby lumber camp in search of refuge and sustenance. Come summer, the camp owner sends Skypilot, his most trusted friend, to accompany Moon Song and her baby on the long and treacherous journey back to her people. But when tragedy strikes off the shore of Michigan's Upper Peninsula wilderness, Moon Song and Skypilot must depend on each other for survival. With every step they take into the forbidding woods, they are drawn closer together, until the tough questions must be asked. Will she leave her culture to enter his? Will he leave his world to enter hers? Or will they walk away from a love that seems too complicated to last?

With evocative descriptions of a breathtaking landscape, Under a Blackberry Moon will sweep readers into a wild realm where beauty masks danger and only the truly courageous survive, even as the sweet love story along the way tightly grips their hearts.


Thoughts:

Author Serena B. Miller takes readers back to the Post Civil War Northwoods of Michigan in her latest book, Under a Blackberry Moon. Miller takes on Native American culture, mixed race relationships and wilderness survival in this novel that will thrill readers. Miller's knack for simple, yet beautiful storytelling is showcased against a riotous lumber camp, the serenity of the Michigan back country and the culture of the Chippewa Indians. With great historical detail that is a feast for the senses, Under a Blackberry Moon will capture the reader from the first page and won't let go! 

I was really happy when I received this book for review. Having read Serena B. Miller's previous books set in the same area of Michigan, around the same time period, I knew I was in for a treat. The cover of Under a Blackberry Moon is beautiful, the eyes of the model are beautiful and unassuming and I think it captures the idea of a young Chippewa mother, seeking direction. 

There is quite a bit going on in this book and the author does an excellent job with the pacing and keeping the story on track. It was definitely not predictable. There were times when I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen only to be completely surprised in the next chapter. That is a mark a true artist when it comes to plotting and keeping the story current and engaging. Miller added plenty of twists and turns and elements to the story that will keep readers turning those pages long into the night.

Moon Song is a young Chippewa mother who is forced to find a way to to survive a harsh Michigan winter after her husband dies. She wanders into the Bay City logging camp and finds peace and friendship, but realizes this is not a place to raise her son. I liked the fact that the author made Moon Song a strong woman. She is a survivalist in every sense of the word. And she has that fierceness of a mother protecting her child when she needs it. I also enjoyed the fact that she keeps her feeling for Skypilot inside and cherishes them for a time before she lets him know. She was a very wise character and I loved reading about her.

I think one of the most fascinating parts of the book was all of the cultural information we learn about the Chippewa Indians in this novel. Miller has certainly done her homework. The historical detail is rich and fulfilling. Readers will find out how the Chippewa lived, from what they ate and how they cooked to how the lived off the land and survived in wilderness. I loved all of the interesting details and back story that Miller provided for Moon Song and her people, it was a joy to read.

Skypilot was an interesting hero as well. Though Moon Song stole the show as the main character. Issac is a very moral and spiritual man. He is resilient and has such a beautiful heart. As his feelings for Moon Song started to grow, readers begin to see all of the obstacles that this couple has to face. I liked the fact that Skypilot doesn't worry about what other people will think of his relationship with an Indian woman, his concern is for how difficult it would be for one or the other of them to leave their own culture. I also liked the subtle way he talked with Moon Song about their beliefs and how he was tolerant and accepting and did not judge or condescend. It was just a beautiful relationship.

I wasn't quite sure how it would all turn out with the grueling journey, the need to survive the elements and the love growing between the two main characters. There were a lot of twists and turns and plenty of things to try to keep straight but it was an effortless process because of the beauty of the story. It was really a feast for the senses, you could smell the sawdust from the lumber camp and hear the birds twittering in the woods. It was just a wonderfully written story. Simple and full of love.

Available October 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

(The actual release date is October 15th.)

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!



About the Author:

Serena B. Miller is the RITA Award-winning author of The Measure of Katie Calloway and A Promise to Love, as well as numerous articles for periodicals such as Woman's WorldGuidepostsReader's DigestFocus on the FamilyChristian Woman, and more. She lives on a farm in southern Ohio. Please visit www.serenabmiller.com for more.


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