#ThrowbackThursday ~ In The Blue Hour by Elizabeth Hall #ContemporaryFiction #NativeAmerican Culture

Throwback Thursday this week features In The Blue Hour, an audiobook that was released in 2016 and narrated by Joyce Bean.

My Thoughts

Elise is depressed and in mourning since the death of her husband. She’d dreamed of a car accident involving her husband months earlier, which she believed to have been more of a prophecy. Guilt and blame for failing to interpret the dream are added to the swirling mix of emotions as Elise struggles to make sense of her loss. Michael, Elise’s husband, was a Native American wood carver whose work was in high demand, more especially since his death. His last piece was a beautifully detailed carving of a raven.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ The Great Law of Peace (The Peacemaker Series #3) by @ZoeSaadia #NativeAmerican #HistFic

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that have been waiting on the ‘to be read’ pile for however long, and are finally getting an airing.

This week I’m revisiting the third book in the Great Peacemaker series, the story of the founding of the Great League of the Iroquois.

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#ThrowbackThursday ~ Two Rivers (The Great Peacemaker Series #1) #HistFic #NativeAmerican

Renee at It’s Book Talk began this meme as a way to share old favourites, as well as books that were published over a year ago. Not to mention those that are languishing on the to be read pile for whatever reason.

This week I’m revisiting one of Zoe Saadia’s books ~ Two Rivers, the first of the Great Peacemaker series.  Continue reading

In The Blue Hour ~ A Novel by Elizabeth Hall ~ #Audiobook #NativeAmerican #FridayReads

  • 30112503Author: Elizabeth Hall
  • Performed by Joyce Bean
  • Released: November 2016 by Brilliance Audio
  • Category: Contemporary, Supernatural
  • four-stars

Elise Brooks dreams of a car accident on an icy road. Weeks later, her beloved husband, Michael, is killed in just such a crash. Now, overcome with grief and uncertainty, Elise believes his spirit may be following her in the form of a raven, trying to tell her something from beyond the grave.

Elise is depressed and in mourning after her dream of a car accident involving her husband months earlier which she believed to have been more of a prophecy. Guilt and blame for failing to interpret the dream are added to the swirling mix of emotions as Elise struggles to make sense of her loss. Michael, Elise’s husband, was a Native American wood carver whose work was in high demand, more especially since his death. His last piece was a beautifully detailed carving of a raven. Continue reading

The Peacekeeper ~ The Peacemaker Series #4

  • PeacekeeperAuthor: Zoe Saadia
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Historical Fiction, Native American
  • five-stars

With the Great Peace established, new laws delivered, and important agreements reached, Two Rivers and Tekeni could now sit back and enjoy the fruits of their work, watching the union of Five Nations alive and kicking, functioning, maintaining the Peacemaker’s wonderful vision. Or so they thought…

The League of Five Nations is recognised and accepted and the clans are gathering for the second time. Although Tadodaho is the appointed head of the Great Council, he is still unpredictable and very much distrusted by Teneki. Two Rivers, mistakenly, is less concerned. Tadodaho, devious and full of contempt for Two Rivers and Teneki, is determined to sabotage the Great Peace and the Second Gathering. Not content with causing unrest, he plots to discredit Two Rivers after he learns the truth behind the miracle of Two Rivers’ test of the falls.

When the Crooked Tongues people cross the Great Sparkling Water and attack a hunting party after fresh meat, it takes much self-discipline from Tekeni and Two Rivers to avoid the threat of a bloody confrontation and contain the conflict the attack provokes. Hainteroh poses a much greater risk had they but realised; he has despised Tekeni ever since Teneki and Yeentso had come to blows during the sacred ball game.  More so when it became evident Seketa had feelings for Teneki. After he and Two Rivers acted on their decision and fled the land of the Crooked Tongues, Hainteroh seized his chance with Seketa. But she refused his marriage proposal and ran away to find Teneki, taking with her the captive, Sgenedu and his sister. Hainteroh finds it hard to believe Seketa’s actions, and what he sees as her betrayal. His hatred and jealousy of Teneki burns fiercely within him.

Had it been so long since he had left his settlement, his clan and his longhouse, fleeing, disillusioned and hurt, blind with rage, her betrayal cutting into his soul, tearing it to ribbons, leaving nothing but an empty shell?  It seemed like an eternity, but at the same time, he felt as though no more than a moon or two had passed since he had seen the last of her, perched on that lonely cliff, weaving her ornaments, aloof and ethereal  and yet warm and enticing, as beautiful as always, maybe even more so because of the change.

Kahontsi, Teneki’s cousin, desperately wishes to attend the Second Gathering and when Anowara, ready to set sail, asks her if she wants to go with him she jumps at the chance. I love the way all the main characters are eventually brought together at the Gathering in the Onondaga lands, none of them aware how much their lives will change. The Gathering is not destined to run smoothly, there are disputes, clashes between individuals and attempted murder.

The Peacekeeper is an excellent end to the Peacemaker series. I’m so glad Zoe Saadia decided to take Two Rivers’ story in the direction she did, it makes perfect sense and gives a very satisfactory ending. It’s interesting, and a little sad, to learn the Peacemaker’s name wasn’t passed down or included in the members of the First Great Council. Who knows the toll the whole process would have taken but one thing is for sure, the importance and consequence of the Peacemaker’s efforts to unite the clans has resonated down through the centuries. Perhaps it’s true, and I hope it was the case, that the man who could foresee the wisdom of a peaceful existence wouldn’t be content to stay in one place in order to govern, rather he felt the need to carry on his work and spread the message further afield.

These stories bring history to life so enjoyably and realistically, weaving together fact with fiction. The huge amount of research shines through the whole of the series, along with the cultures of the clans, their everyday lives and the wonderful characters who people the stories.

My grateful thanks to Zoe Saadia for this review copy.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

Author links ~ TwitterFacebookGoodreads

The Great Law Of Peace ~ The Peacemaker Series #3

  • TheGreatLawofPeaceAuthor: Zoe Saadia
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Historical, Native American
  • five-stars

To survive the test of the falls was only the first step. Climbing the tree and letting them chop it down, falling straight into the worst of the rapids, gained him their attention, made them listen. But the main part of his work was still ahead of Two Rivers and his most loyal follower, Tekeni. The task of organizing the people as a whole, of making them talk to their hostile, warlike neighbors, demanded time, too much time. 
Their private desires had to wait as they traveled to more places, convened more gatherings, convinced more nations. The Great Peace demanded their full attention. 

Following the test of the falls, the miracle of Two Rivers’ survival and the struggle to convince the clans that living together in unity is the answer to their problems, at last they are ready to listen and agree to the message of peace. Two Rivers’ capability and patient self-control is rewarded. The clans realise the time for change is upon them, their hunger and desperation fueling the decision, and the knowledge that Two Rivers’ goal is the last chance for them to change their fortunes.

So with the message received well, Two Rivers and Teneki, along with a group of supporters, travel back to the Onondaga people to convince them to join the alliance. It proves as difficult as they expected. Tadodaho, the war chief of Onondaga town, is far from interested in a message of peace. He is feared among his people and suspected of  having evil powers. An opportune natural phenomenon, the like of which Two Rivers, or anyone else, had never seen occurs to lend weight to his words as he is regarded with awe.

Meanwhile Seketa, who has taken to spending time on Two Rivers’ favourite cliff, realises how he must have felt and why he enjoyed the solitude away from the disapproval and intolerance of the town. She makes a momentous decision.

And the Frozen Season was only some moons away, she realised suddenly, her heart missing a beat. If Tekeni didn’t hurry, she would be forced to spend yet another dreadful winter here, with no favourite cliff and no privacy…….

…..And another thing was sure, too. She would not stay here to endure another winter. Not if she could help it.

Onheda also has an insight into the reality of her situation, as she sees it, when she hears some news from travelling warriors at Jikonsahseh’s camp. Frustrated at her forced inactivity she decides to act.

“I want to find Hionhwatha. I want to help him. I know I can’t do much, but I think, at this point, he needs all the help he can get.”

Feeling stronger and calmer, she smiled reassuringly. “I will be back, and when…when the Messenger comes, tell him I went away to help.”

So, both Seketa and Onheda settle on a plan of action, having waited long enough, and begin their own journeys to find and help their men. They are full of courage, strength of character and have lost patience with standing by and doing nothing. Neither of them have any idea how desperate a situation they will find themselves in.

This story kept me in suspense wondering how it would play out. Will Two Rivers’ crusade cost him the woman he loves and is Seketa’s determination and spirit enough to find Teneki. Although the main thrust of the story is the peace process, which is incredible, I did like the added personal aspect which just gave a heightened sense of feeling to the story and that, along with the ending, is very emotional. The characters are wonderful and their development is brilliant, especially Teneki, grown now into a formidable warrior.

Another excellent instalment of the Great Peacemaker’s initiation of the Great League of the Iroquois. I just love the way Zoe Saadia breathes life into this amazing story, it’s a fascinating and refreshing change, and because this period of history is new to me, the different nations and their lifestyle, customs and culture are a revelation. 

My thanks to Zoe Saadia for this review copy.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

Author links ~ Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads

Across The Great Sparkling Water ~ The Peacemaker Series #2

  • AcrossAuthor: Zoe Saadia
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Historical, Native American
  • five-stars

To live in captivity, adopted by the enemies of her people, or to break the law and tradition by running away? 
That question did not occur to Onheda until after she fled Little Falls on the spur of the moment, against any better judgment. If she was to die in the woods, making her way back to her people, accused, even by them, of breaking the ancient custom, it was still the better choice. She would not live among the enemies. Two moons of that had been more than enough.

The incredible journey of the Great Peacemaker continues with more action and adventure. Two Rivers and Teneki have crossed the Great Sparkling Water (Lake Ontario) but fighting the currents and rapids has left Two Rivers injured. They find refuge in a clearing in the woods where an old woman, Jikonsahseh, lives. She also wants peace and helps anyone passing through her clearing who is in need. Staying with her is Onheda, a runaway captive from Teneki’s tribe. Onheda has been travelling for days trying to reach her own people. Jikonsahseh found her, too exhausted and weak to continue and nursed her back to health.

“I’m yet to hear how you got to that riverbank, starving and half dead with exhaustion. I know there is more to that story than just you being lost. You are not a local girl.”

From Onheda and Jikonsahseh, Two Rivers and Teneki learn of Hionhwatha, the former leader who wanted to stop the feuding and unite the Onondaga people. The gatherings were peaceful until those who opposed Hionhwatha resorted to violence and after the death of his wife and children Hionhwatha left to live alone in the woods. It takes some persuasion from Two Rivers and Teneki to convince him to take part in the peace talks.

The story is developing wonderfully and moves along at a great pace, with characters, old and new adding depth, to an atmosphere I can all but feel, and sense of place. Two Rivers from the start has been, and is, a highly developed and charismatic character. Teneki and Two Rivers are now faced with the task of seeking meetings with tribes, whose members are very wary and view strangers as a possible threat, with their message of peace.

“I heard your story, repeated by different people. I know what you intended to do. And I know what happened. You tried to achieve what I am trying to achieve, but for different reasons. We think more alike than differently, and who knows? You may still see beyond the obvious….You have a destiny to fulfil and it is time.”

The chemistry and growing attraction between Two Rivers and Onheda is a touching romantic addition which I hope will continue. But for the moment Two Rivers is totally focused on his task and destiny, even to the point of fulfilling the part of his prophecy which requires him to carry out a life or death act.

Facts presented in fictional form really bring history to life, making the people and situations a reality and creating a fascinating insight into the past. Zoe Saadia has achieved this brilliantly.

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1Many thanks to Zoe Saadia for sending me a copy for Rosie Amber’s book review team

Book links ~ Amazon UK and Amazon US

Two Rivers ~ The Great Peacemaker Series #1

  • TwoRiversAuthor: Zoe Saadia
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Historical Fiction, Native American
  • four-half-stars

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1

My thanks to Zoe Saadia for sending me a copy of the book for review as part of Rosie Amber’s book review team.

Having survived the failed raid on the enemy lands, Tekeni had no illusions. He was nothing but an enemy cub, adopted into one of the clans, but not accepted, never for real. To fit in was difficult, to run away – impossible. To get into trouble, more often than not, was the only available option. They did not expect anything else from him, anyway.
However, when a meaningless row during a ballgame grew out of proportion, resulting in a fight, Tekeni has found himself in a truly grave trouble. Neither he nor anyone else could have foreseen the chain of events the consequences of this fight would release, when the highly esteemed but controversial Two Rivers decided to help Tekeni out.

Set in twelfth century upstate New York and South Eastern Canada, the story centres around three main protagonists. Tekeni, who was taken captive and adopted into the Wolf Clan after his father was killed, but has always been considered an outsider. He finds an ally in Two Rivers, an enigma among his people and also on the fringes of his society. I love the way Two Rivers is portrayed and the way his feelings and thoughts which he’s not afraid to express, along with the doubts and resistance against the prophecy, are described. 

Two Rivers knows the time for change is fast approaching, and questioning his people’s need to war with each other he advocates a more peaceful existence. The clans are stuck in an endless cycle of fighting with nothing to show for it. Even so, the majority of the clans dislike and distrust what they perceive as Two Rivers’ extremist ideas and principles. 

For the first time through the afternoon, Two Rivers’ eyes sparkled dangerously. “You will not tell me what to talk about and where. My ideas may be strange to you, but they make perfect sense, if only you and your likes would deign to actually listen instead of closing your mind to simple good sense.” He shrugged. “And, anyway, I talked no politics. All I did was simply point out that this boy should be treated fairly, as one of us. He has been adopted formally, at the request of the Wolf Clan’s Council. According to our ancient laws and customs, which you are so fond of bringing up every time I suggest a slightest change, it makes him one of us, his origins notwithstanding…

Tekeni’s real troubles begin when a fight with a cowardly bully results in serious injury and Tekeni is compelled to atone with a task unheard of for any lone person never mind someone so young. Two Rivers’ choice to assist Tekeni further alienates him from most other members of the clans. 

Tekeni is very taken with the beautiful Seketa, a young girl of the Turtle Clan who proves to be both brave and resourceful, but the path of true love does not run smoothly and Two Rivers, Tekeni and Seketa fight almost overpowering odds as they each begin to realise the inevitability of their futures. 

I really enjoyed this first of the Peacemaker series, the man who was destined to form the constitution of The Great League of the Iroquois is an intriguing character and I look forward to following his story. The life and distinct culture of the Native American clans is brought to life vividly and realistically by Zoe Saadia, their politics, everyday life and struggles. Along with the dramas, jealousies and rivalries that can escalate into dangerous situations, showcasing others’ loyalty and courage. There’s some great action and a lovely budding romance.

The basis of the story is obviously very well researched and it combines the facts with an entertaining and enjoyable narrative and the three main characters are strong, very likeable and well defined, drawn with insight and warmth. The fascinating beginning of the Peacemaker’s journey is a really great read.

About the author

ZoeSaadiaZoe Saadia is the author of several novels of pre-Columbian Americas. 

Having researched various pre-contact cultures of this continent for more than a decade, she is convinced that it’s a shame that such a large part of history was completely overlooked, by historical fiction most of all. 

Both Americas has an extremely rich, diverse, fascinating history long before this continent was discovered by other civilizations. 
So her professional motto is set. America has not been discovered, not yet. Not in her novels 🙂

Please click on the book cover for Amazon UK and here for Amazon US. Zoe can also be found on Twitter and Facebook