Julia Du Val's older brother Edward a Federal Agent to the Cherokee and Captain Pierce Mason Butler a handsome soldier from South Carolina introduce her to the strange beauty of the vast prairie and she thrills at the exotic sights of the Indian villages. Nevertheless the rigors of everyday life and the expectations of her brothers that she maintain the decorum of a proper lady constantly disturb her equanimity. Julia seeks the help of a Cherokee girl Walela with her everyday chores. The two young women form a subtle bond while Edward finds himself enchanted with the Indian girl. While Edward struggles with his powerful feelings for Walela whose life is so different from his own Julia must come to terms with her feelings for a military man and the hard life he offers her. Within this one family one sees the difficult choices the U.S. government had to make with regard to Native Americans.
Nelda Hirsh lives in New York City and Boulder Colorado with her husband. After a career in human resources she turned to what she loves to do-historical research and writing. Choosing subjects of special interest to her she has written two historical novels and a non-fiction art history/biography book about a woman artist in California around the turn of the last century. The books are meticulously researched and vividly bring to life important figures in American and French history.
"Meticulously researched and sensitively written the impassioned dialogue between the two brothers personifies the national dialogue preceding the Trail of Tears. By turns the narrative is poignant moving and exuberant."- Dr. George Rose Johns Hopkins Univ.
"This is a fascinating book about a fascinating young woman the ancestor of author Nelda Hirsh. Julia Duval left the comforts of her upper-class life to pursue love and adventure in the American West and was a founding member of a remarkable family. Nelda Hirsh places you securely in the time and places of the events weaving context culture and history into the story seamlessly and grippingly. The reader learns a lot about the society and norms of the early 1800's. Particularly interesting are the descriptions of Indian life culture and beliefs and the interactions between the American military settlers and entrepreneurs and Native Americans. There is a sense of foreboding of the latters' coming tragedy.
"This book is particularly appropriate for young adult readers who will identify with Julia's inner thoughts and doubts as she navigates the complicated terrains both physical and emotional of living as a cultured young woman on the frontier with few friends and little support confronting bigotry and entitlement usurpation and cooperation love and animosity. The reader is left immensely satisfied-one comes away from this book with so much more than one brought to the reading and with a desire to learn more about this remarkable author and her family." - Dr. Emmet Hirsch North Shore University Health Chicago
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