Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Soaring Eagle by Stephanie Grace Whitson

"Walks the Fire", book one of the Prairie Winds series, is the story of Jesse King, young wife and mother, who sets out across the Nebraska prairie, bound for Oregon. When she meets tragedy along the trail, she is taken in by the Lakota people and becomes Walks the Fire.

Book two, Soaring Eagle, continues the story of Jesse's children, LisBeth, who lost her soldier husband at Little Big Horn, and Soaring Eagle, a Lakota warrior who was also part of Custer's Last Stand.

The Lakota Sioux have been forced onto reservations and stripped of their way of life.  Soaring Eagle leads a small band of hold-outs struggling to keep the old ways and survive through the winter.  One-by-one they give in and head for the Santee Normal School and Mission to be "retrained" or "civilized".

They are thoroughly trained from the very foundation, not only in the ordinary branches of school work, but also in housekeeping—sewing, cooking, washing, etc.,—on the part of the girls (in which, too, the boys join largely), and in farming, carpentry, blacksmithing and shoemaking, on the part of the boys.  Not only is this solid practical knowledge given them, but care and time is devoted toward grace and politeness, and all the foundation rules of etiquette. (http://www.accessgenealogy.com/native/ammissionary/santee_normal_school.htm)

Eventually, left alone on the prairie, Soaring Eagle also moves to the mission and struggles to accept the loss of his family, his people, and his culture; along with the gift of Christian faith.

To the South, in Lincoln, Nebraska, LisBeth is struggling with her own loss - her husband and mother - and searching for her own faith.  A trip to deliver donated supplies to the mission confronts LisBeth with the brother she's never met and who may have killed her husband.

Returning readers may recall from this post or that post, that I am a huge fan of this series by Stephanie Grace Whitson.  Even as a re-read, this story touches my heart.  I am fascinated with Native American ways and their plight, handed down by my "ancestors" (not directly, assumedly, but still my culture) just makes my heart ache.
This is a beautifully written story that will pull you in and not let you go till you've finished all three books.  Now on to book three - Red Bird.


  1. It sounds a little like Dances With Wolves.

  2. I love reading stories set in this time period. The things those people had to do is mind-boggling. I'm glad you've latched onto a good series.