A River Too Deep by Sydney Betts

Reviewed by Martha Artyomenko

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About the book:

In the spring of 1817, Alcy Callen and her father visit a step-uncle they have long presumed dead; but instead of enjoying a loving reunion, they are plunged into treachery and deceit. Nothing is as they expected and little is what it seems. Even the man who helps her escape is not the reliable suitor he appears. Alcy is caught between gratitude and fear, unable to avoid her rescuer’s attentions or understand the responses they stir. Neither can she tell what sort of man he is or what he intends to do with her in the strange place they are going. Will he keep her for himself or will he sell her to the highest bidder? Of one person only is she certain, but will he come for her before it is too late?

My Review:

This book is set at a time in history that is not often written of. I think it would be a good novel for a older high school student that is studying the era, to get the feel for Native American life. I say older high school students as there is hints of impropriety between some of the characters, as well as some minor details of violence towards women amid the tribes. I am not familiar with some of the accuracy surrounding the tribes of that time, but it does give you a great glimpse into their daily lives and rituals.

I really enjoyed how this book, told in the first person, when it spoke of how she brought the gospel message to the Native Americans, but was seeking to becomes assimilated with them. I am not sure how often that happened in that time period.  There were a few things that were hard to follow in the telling of the story, but overall a interesting historical fiction story. I checked for any historical documentation on the story, but it was not included with the book. I would have loved to see that!

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1 Comment

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One response to “A River Too Deep by Sydney Betts

  1. Sydney Tooman Betts

    Martha, the missionary approach Alcy successfully employed was modeled after an endeavor in the 20th century to reach a people in Papua New Guinea with an extremely similar tribal structure–as was their amazing response. I believe it was called the Jacob Project. Regarding Alcy’s assimilation, two well-documented historical instances spring to mind: one was Cynthia Parker, who mourned deeply–in fact dies of a broken heart–when she was forcibly parted from her husband and his tribe in the later 1800’s. The other took place during the French Indian War. Given the choice, a woman (I’m sorry, I cannot remember her name off the top of my head–Mary, I think) who was offered the opportunity to return to her people refused it. She did not want to leave her adopted people. What her motives were, I can only speculate, but she left a diary of her life.

    Thank you very much for reviewing this book, and I hope the above response answers some of your thoughtful questions.
    Sydney

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