Get set for another emotional roller-coaster with A Charm of Finches by Suanne Laqueur

Suanne Laqueur’s upcoming novel : A Charm of Finches will be out later this year. I was provided with an ARC and as usual I was swept away! I do not know what it is about her books and writing, but it completely sucks me in and then I move only after finishing the book! Suanne deals with many pertinent issues in her books and handles the topics, the emotions and her characters very well.

About the Book:

A Charm of Finches (Venery, #2)

“I swear. Give me one more chance and I will make the most of it.”

From the author of The Fish Tales comes the long-awaited second book in the Venery series. In An Exaltation of Larks, Laqueur captured readers with a tale of life, friendship and the bonds of love that both create and destroy. A Charm of Finches follows Javier Landes as he retires from escorting, reinvents his writing career and invites love to be his friend. Both love and friendship arrive in the form of Steffen Finch, an art therapist from Manhattan, and what starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creative and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for delicate, complex cases. While his career is full of excellence, in matters of the heart he’s barely mediocre. Openly bisexual, his committed relationships have always been with women, but at the age of forty, a failed marriage and a handful of forgotten lovers are all he can call his own. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone who inspires him to be the best he can be. Someone like Javier Landes.

Geno Caan, one of Stef’s patients, is likewise struggling to find the best of himself after a sexual predator destroyed his family. Unsure of who he is or where he belongs, Geno allows an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions on who gets to come near him and for what purpose. Living a double life within a web of protective lies takes its toll and after a suicide attempt, Geno enters a private rehab facility and starts to work with Steffen Finch. Under Stef’s patient and compassionate navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud—the crucial first step in taking back his life. But when Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually spills onto Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, three overlapping lives form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war, and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

My Thoughts:

This new story by Suanne brings together three very different people in this story, highlighting their backgrounds and characters. She takes her time to focus on each one of them, including Jav, even though we have already met him and know his story (if you have already read An Exaltation of Larks).

Geno, a rape victim, is also forced to deal with the death of his twin brother and his father one after the other in a very short span of time. The trauma is not easy to deal with and his journey to healing forms the crux of this story. At the same time, Stef and Jav form an expected bond and take an instant liking to each other. The story of their growth as individuals and together forms the other part of this story.

Suanne deals with topics of trauma, self-discovery, healing as well as acceptance all rolled into one neat story. The emotions are deep and tug at your soul. They will force you to go through the issues of the characters with them and accompany them on their journey. A story filled with hope, love and everything good, Suanne doesn’t hesitate to highlight all the bad things that can happen in life and how they can be dealt with, without sounding preachy in any way.

The teaching techniques used and the concept of art for therapy is wonderful and frankly interesting to read about. The book on the whole is wonderful and as usual written in Suanne’s unique style of being to the point, and being an emotional roller-coaster. You will love them, hate them, cry with them, but you will not be able to put down the book until you know what happens in the end!

I will stop my review here, without talking a lot about the story for fear of divulging it all! Read it and enjoy!

Book Review: Broken Branches by M. Jonathan Lee

I was provided with a copy of this book by Hideaway Fall publishers in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

Broken Branches

‘Family curses don’t exist. Sure, some families seem to suffer more pain than others, but a curse? An actual curse? I don’t think so.’

A family tragedy was the catalyst for Ian Perkins to return to the isolated cottage with his wife and young son. But now they are back, it seems yet more grief might befall the family.

There is still time to act, but that means Ian must face the uncomfortable truth about his past. And in doing so, he must uncover the truth behind the supposed family curse.

My Thoughts:

Wow! This is an intense emotional roller coaster, that will hold your attention until the end. The story is well-written and the beauty of it is that the author doesn’t give away anything until the very end! It proves to be impossible to predict the direction the  story will take and is even more difficult to figure out what is real and what is not! The title of the story becomes clear by the end and is quite apt according to me.

The story follows Ian Perkins as he tries to find out more about his family and it’s history, tracing back along the years while trying to prove the existence of a legendary family curse. The reason behind this need becomes clear only after the reader has completed the book! We are also introduced to Rachel, Ian’s wife who doesn’t believe in the curses’ existence and their adorable son Harry, who seems to have boundless energy. The emotions run deep and the descriptions are vivid, sometimes giving the reader chills at the end of it.

The author sets the tone of the story right from the first page as he describes the cottage, the iconic tree and the various people who have resided in this place. Chapters alternate between the present times and the past, introducing us to various people who were a part of or influenced Ian’s life. The author expertly describes the mental stability of his characters and brings out their thoughts and emotions, thus making it hard for the reader to completely judge until the end.

Hold on to your seats and emotions as you are in for an interesting and thought provoking time with this book! It is worth the read, touching upon some rather pertinent topics related to family, relationships and a persons psyche as a result of tragedy as the truth comes out.

Book Review: The Laws of Nature by Ashley Franz Holzmann

About the Book:

Image result for the laws of nature Ashley Franz Holzmann

There is a dark side to human nature that neither can be wished away nor completely mitigated. Ashley Holzmann details just several of these “Laws of Nature” before taking his readers on a journey through the bizarre, the terrifying, and, ultimately, the disturbingly real truths that underlie much of modern American life.

Ashley makes his debut into the horror genre with “The Stump,” a story about an afternoon trot through the woods that quickly becomes a blood bath–and, much as it does for that story’s creature, the scent of fear will only lure veteran horror readers further through the forest. A teenager’s vanity will likely cause his town to be consumed by a roaming swarm of insects that burst forth from his acne-riddled skin in “White Heads;” entire populations vanish into the void of the Alaskan tundra in “Glass Houses;” and superiority takes the form of a murdering, sadistic woman in “Lady Macbeth.”

But Ashley’s best retellings focus less on gore and adrenaline and instead take human psychology as their medium, as demonstrated in “Plastic Glasses,” where readers are brought into a world of disturbing personality and mental disorders. Ashley’s work abounds with stories in this vein, stories which grab a hold of a common failing–such as marital friction in “Hush,” or American male frustration in “Orpheus’s Lot”–and take it to an extreme that is nevertheless not inconceivable for most people.

Coming from the mind of a man who has experienced more than his fair share of humanity, “The Laws of Nature” is, at its finest, a description of universal emotions of loss, nostalgia, anxiety, and soul-penetrating terror. Ashley’s stories elicit empathy from his readers and draw them into worlds where they both acknowledge and cuddle with their fears and which leave them, ultimately, more human.

My Thoughts:

Stemming from real life experiences to stories of fiction, this anthology of short stories explores the human psych and the genre of horror. The stories are diverse and the author focuses on fear as one of the main points of many of his stories. It is difficult to pick up or pin-point any one story as they are all similar and different in many ways. The author writes in an abstract style, sometimes seeming to be impersonal. Many of the stories are in first person and the rest a narration. Murder, hate, suicide, fear, life and finally the human psych are some of the topics explored through the stories.

The author will force the reader to think and experience each of the feelings through the stories and inspire them to think. There is so much food for thought and introspection. As a result of reading this anthology, the reader will come away affected, but much more human, stemming from a realization of sorts. It is difficult to describe this as it will differ from person to person, but it is clear that the reader will experience a vast number of emotions in this collection of stories.

Read this for a rare and interesting experience.

Book Review: The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher

I received a complementary copy of this book from NetGalley.

About the Book:

The Silent Wife

Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he’d done something terrible?

A heart wrenching and gripping tale. I was hooked from the very first page.’ Write Escape

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

A heart-wrenching, emotionally gripping read for fans of Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain.

My Thoughts:

A Silent Wife is a well-written novel that brings out the secrets and lies that surround a family and the experiences of being a second wife. It highlights the fact that one can never truly know a person. The perception we may have of someone is sometimes how we want to see them and not a clear reflection of who they truly are.

The author has crafted her story masterfully, bringing it to life from the points of view of two of her key characters, Lara and Maggie. Both of them are second wives and married to brothers, Massimo and Nico. While Maggie is dealing with the new prospect of being a step-mother and trying to forge relationships while also trying to prove that she is not a gold-digger, Lara hides behind a carefully created facade. When Maggie partially discovers a secret related to Nico’s first wife, she is at a cross-roads: keep the secret or open up a can of worms that may make her lose her love and the family they have formed forever.

At times, the story seemed to drag a little and there was some repetition when it came to how the characters felt in various situations. However, in spite of this, she has created characters whom we can relate to in a modern setting. The emotions are deep and easily understood by the reader. I particularly enjoyed how Maggie handled situations and her mother stole the show for me. Her role in this story and her friendly nature serve to bring Lara out of her cocoon, thus changing the course of events slowly.

The story brings out many issues, including the role of a woman in a marriage and the man as the sole earning member of the family, contrasting the various points of views through character perceptions. Through Massimo, we see a competitive streak, the Alpha male, someone who needs to always be above everyone else. He is driven and expects his son to be macho and athletic while the child is more oriented towards the arts. Nico on the other hand is more artistic and understands a child’s need to have fun and be themselves. As the story unfolds, these differences come into prominence, further defining their relationship with their respective wives and children.

Bottomline: Read, enjoy and take away the messages embedded deep within this emotional roller-coaster ride!

Book Review: Chameleon by Zoe Kalo

CHAMELEON

By

Zoe Kalo

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Genre: YA/Gothic/Ghost/Multicultural

Word count: 55,000

Release date: February 2017

Premise:

Kicked out of school, 17-year old Paloma finds herself in an isolated convent in the tropical forests of 1970s Puerto Rico, where she must overcome her psychosis in order to help a spirit and unveil a killer.

Blurb:

An isolated convent, a supernatural presence, a dark secret…

17-year-old Paloma only wanted to hold a séance to contact her dead father. She never thought she would be kicked out of school and end up in an isolated convent. Now, all she wants is to be left alone. But slowly, she develops a bond with a group of girls: kind-hearted Maria, insolent Silvy, pathological liar Adelita, and their charismatic leader Rubia. When, yet again, Paloma holds a séance in the hope of contacting her father, she awakens an entity that has been dormant for years. And then, the body count begins. Someone doesn’t want the secret out…

Are the ghost and Paloma’s suspicions real—or only part of her growing paranoia and delusions?

My Thoughts:

A dark psychological thriller, this story has just the right amount of paranormal and psychosis to spook the reader a little. The story emphasizes on the bonds people form in life and how each one affects the person. Keeping secrets, guarding them at the expense of others’ lives also plays a major role in the plot line. The story is well written and will send chills down your spine at some places. It is easy to relate to some of the characters, their feelings and thoughts.

The author has a unique style of expression which is evident across all her works and is quite pronounced in this story. She has ensured that this book is as different from the others and that the reader will be hooked until the end. There is no stopping once you take the first step into the story.

As Paloma tries to deal with the death of her father, she encounters a group of girls who share strange bonds with each other at an isolated convent. She is sent there by her mother and step-father, with the intent of reform. Little does she know that she will stumble upon some well kept secrets that threaten to come out once she is there. Who knows to what extent a person will go to protect the ones they love and their secrets? The author also highlights the power of suggestion and how trust plays a major role in a persons life. As dark and tragic as this book may be, it has a lot of lessons that are relevant. Though a little slow on the uptake, give the story a chance and pursue it.

A wonderful read, with well developed characters, the right amount of darkness associated with them and the plot, this is worth a read!

Book Review: The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co. #1) by Jonathan Stroud

What happens when you walk into a book fair, find books that you’d once read and then discover more books by those same authors? You’re right! You cannot help but be hit with a strong sense of nostalgia!

And once it kicks in, there’s no stopping the onslaught of memories.

It was this same feeling that prompted me to pick up this book by Jonathan Stroud. After all, my mind reasoned, it will be worthwhile coming from the author of the famous Bartimaeus series.

About the Book:

The Screaming Staircase (Lockwood & Co., #1)

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.

Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again . . .

My Thoughts:

A truly wonderful book and concept, this book will ensure that you are hooked from the first page. The story is divided into parts, jumping into the middle of the plot in the beginning itself, then looping back in time to give us some background and perspective, and then charging right on. The best part? All these seemingly unconnected situations all come together in the end and wrap the plot up neatly.

The characters are brilliant, smart, funny, naughty but with a depth that will surprise the reader. There is more to them than meets the eye and it becomes rather clear as we read. Anthony Lockwood proves to be something of an enigma, not only to Lucy but to the reader as well. He is charming for a youngster, conducts himself as well as the elders and still manages to hide some things from everyone. Lucy is likeable and strong, with a talent that far surpasses both the boys. Together the trio set out to make London a safer place, protecting people from ghosts. The climax and the sequences leading up to it are intense and perhaps the best part of the entire book, but what stands out is how every seemingly random situation has a connection in the end. Everything is vital to the plot and it helps to pay attention to even the smallest of details.

It felt really great to immerse myself in this story. The author, with his wonderful storytelling ability, vividly describes each situation and haunting. Every case that the trio take up, we are given a chance to imagine what is happening, sometimes we can even see it playing in our mind. This just points to the wonderful way the author has with words. The characters are well developed and the basis of the plot along with the back story of how the various agencies came into existence makes this book all the more interesting. The ending leaves us with just enough information to want to continue the series.

Overall, not just for the sake of nostalgia, but for the beauty of the story, I strongly urge all my fellow fans of fantasy, ghosts and mystery to read this book!

Book Review: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

About the Book:

The Girl on the Train

The debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

EVERY DAY THE SAME
Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning and night. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. Jess and Jason, she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

UNTIL TODAY
And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel goes to the police. But is she really as unreliable as they say? Soon she is deeply entangled not only in the investigation but in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

My Thoughts:

Wow. This is a mind blowing, brilliantly written psychological thriller that is literally a train ride! Written in the POV’s of three of the characters, with interchanging and different dates, the author weaves a tale that slowly brings all of them together.

At first, I kept losing track of the dates mentioned at the beginning of each chapter and hence ended up rather confused about the happenings. Rachel, the main protagonist, takes the train everyday and as she passes a particular station, she sees a house and it’s occupants everyday, to the extent that she had even given them imaginary names. Her husband, Tom left her to marry Anna and this did not sit well with her. The fact that they had a little daughter only made things worse. Rachel could not stop her growing dependency on alcohol nor the many times she called or emailed her ex-husband. She also lost her job and ends up constantly lying to the lady whose apartment she shares. Little does she know that she would see something rather shocking and then their lives would eventually meet and their paths would become extremely tangled.

The thoughts run deep, the psych playing a major role. Alcoholism coupled with anger makes Rachel behave rather unconventionally. The author slowly brings out the story behind each of the three women in the story and shows us exactly how deep the hurt goes. They are broken and seeking solace and trying to find themselves in any way that they can. When Megan goes missing, Rachel tries to figure out what happened, going back in her mind to the night when all the three women were supposed to have been in the same area. The police contact her when Anna, her ex-husbands wife sees a chance to throw her name out there and thus follows the rest of the plot.

The author emphasizes a lot on the train journey too and develops the story based on this spanning a number of days. She also describes, with intricate details, the events from the past that affected the psyche of her characters. With Megan, it is always dates in the past when compared to Rachel’s timeline. Though a little confusing, the author consistently maintains this trend and this lends some more intrigue to the plot. We are also treated to a dose of domesticity and how relationships are tested when things don’t go the way we expect them to. Can you trust your eyes and the things you saw? Is it possible to imagine a whole existence and life? These are just a few of the questions that reading this book will raise in the readers mind.

An overall thrilling and compelling read, this is another book in the style of Gone Girl that will have the reader hooked until the very end with an ending to shock. The starting may seem strange, the finish line stranger and in the middle, the reader is sure to get lost on the never ending journey of life much like that of the train.

Click the link below to get the book on Amazon.

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Review: All the Breaking Waves by Kerry Lonsdale

I was provided with a free copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book:

All the Breaking Waves

From the bestselling author of Everything We Keep comes a gripping tale of long-buried secrets, the strength of forgiveness, and the healing power of returning home for good.

After a harrowing accident tore her family apart, Molly Brennan fled from the man she loved and the tragic mistake she made.

Twelve years later, Molly has created a new life for herself and her eight-year-old daughter, Cassie. The art history professor crafts jewelry as unique and weathered as the surf-tumbled sea glass she collects, while raising her daughter in a safe and loving environment—something Molly never had. But when Cassie is plagued by horrific visions and debilitating nightmares, Molly is forced to return to the one place she swore she’d never move back to—home to Pacific Grove.

A riveting exploration of love, secrets, and motherhood, All the Breaking Waves is the poignant story of a woman who discovers she must confront her past, let go of her guilt, and summon everything in her power to save her daughter.

My Thoughts:

A heartfelt novel, All the Breaking Waves brings together a mixture of psychic abilities and family drama. The main focus is on the bonds of family and the importance to forgive and move on. The protagonist, Molly, has hidden within her a secret for twelve years. This has caused her to run away from her home and from her grandmother. When her daughter turns out to have terrible visions and nightmares, she is forced to return to the very house she had run from to seek her grandmother’s help. Forced to face the demons of her past, she doesn’t expect to come face to face with the man she had loved so many years ago and still did. She also had to deal with some revelations about her grandmother and eventually her past.

The author has written the story really well, beautifully blending these various aspects of the plot. She gives her characters a rather magical look and adds the same touch to her style of writing. The concept of sea glass and jewellery making with it is intriguing. Also, the author alternates between the present time and narration of events in the past and this flow happens flawlessly, making it easier for the reader to understand the events that have crafted our characters and made them who they were. Our protagonist is also forced to deal with her abilities, apart from those of her daughter’s and to accept that she can do more good than harm if she just tried.

A wonderful story, this teaches us the importance of family and the necessity to stick together and talk things out always. Throw in some romance a charming little girl and we have a great mix! A good read, strongly recommended for those who enjoy a good romance with a character who has an interesting psychic ability.

Book Review: Someone Else’s Summer by Rachel Bateman

I received a copy of this book via NetGalley.

About the Book:

Someone Else's Summer by Rachel Bateman

Anna’s always idolized her older sister, Storm. So when Storm dies in a tragic car accident on the night of her high school graduation, Anna is completely lost and her family is torn apart. That is, until she finds Storm’s summer bucket list and decides to honor her sister by having the best summer ever—which includes taking an epic road trip to the coast from her sleepy Iowa town. Setting out to do everything on Storm’s list along with her sisters best friend Cameron—the boy next door—who knew that Storm’s dream summer would eventually lead to Anna’s own self-discovery?

My Thoughts:

 This was a quick read for me, finished off in one sitting. I really enjoyed the story and the plot is quite heart wrenching and sad but well written.

The story follows Anna as she tries to deal with the loss of her sister, who was about 11 months older than her. She finds a list written by her sister, a kind of bucket list of things she had wanted to do that summer (which was just after her graduation). Anna thinks that completing the list will be the best way to remain close to her sister and her memory. Along with Cameron, their childhood friend, she sets off on a journey of adventure , self-discovery and healing. We watch them as they try to deal with their grief and come to terms with their loss, the death of Storm affecting them each in ways they never expected.

The authors brings out the emotions and feelings very well, ensuring that the reader will empathize. Though a part of the plot seemed straight forward and cliched, the author gives us a twist at the end that will change the readers perspective entirely. We meet various people, Anna’s parents, who are trying to come to terms with the loss of their elder daughter in a freak accident when she had managed to battle cancer and survive. We also meet Piper, Anna’s best friend and Jovani, her ex-boyfriend and though he seems irrelevant to the main plot, he does say some things in the end which justify his presence. Perhaps the best character of all was Anna’s aunt, who understands her and supports her the most.

This is a bitter-sweet story with a mixed ending and an assurance that everything will be alright at the end of the day. Time goes on and is the best healer.

Guest Post by Andrew Joyce author of Yellow Hair

It has indeed been a while since I have featured a guest post on my blog, so when Andrew asked me for the opportunity, I jumped at it. He has recently released his new book titled Yellow Hair, and in the post below, he talks about the inspiration behind writing this book. Read on to know what he has to say.

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About the Author:

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Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and fifty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.

Guest Post:

My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. Namrata has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to talk about my latest, Yellow Hair.

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Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader—and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.

Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage depicted actually took place—from the first to the last. The historical figures that play a role in my story were real people and I used their real names. I conjured up my protagonist only to weave together the various events conveyed in my fact-based tale of fiction. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century. It is American history.

End of commercial. Now what I really want to talk about:

The inspiration for the book came to me when I was reading a short article and it made reference to the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862. It also mentioned that the outcome involved the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. That piqued my interest.

When I started my research into the incident, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was documenting the entire history of the Sioux, who are also known as the Dakota, vis-à-vis the relationship between them and the United States.

Because the book exists only because I read the phrase, “the largest mass execution in the history of the United States,” I’ll tell you a little about that. What follows is an extremely abbreviated version of events.

The Dakota signed their first treaty with the United States in 1805 when they sold a small portion of their land to the Americans for the purpose of building forts. It was right after the Louisiana Purchase and President Jefferson wanted a presence in the West. At the time, “the West” was anything on the western side of the Mississippi River.

In the treaty of 1805, the Dakota sold 100,000 acres to the Americans. The agreed-upon price was $2.00 per acre. But when the treaty came up before the Senate for ratification, the amount was changed to two cents per acre. That was to be a precursor for all future treaties with the Americans. There were subsequent treaties in 1815, 1825, 1832, 1837, and 1851, and basically the same thing happened with all those treaties.

In 1837, the Americans wanted an additional five million acres of Dakota land. Knowing it would be a hard sell after the way they failed to live up to the letter or spirit of the previous treaties, the government brought twenty-six Dakota chiefs to Washington to show them the might and majesty that was The United States of America.

The government proposed paying one million dollars for the acreage in installments over a twenty-year period. Part of the payment was to be in the form of farm equipment, medicine, and livestock. Intimidated, the Indians signed the treaty and went home. The United States immediately laid claim to the lands—the first payment did not arrive for a year.

The significance of the 1837 treaty lies in the fact that it was the first time “traders” were allowed to lay claim to the Indians’ payments without any proof that money was owed . . . and without consulting the Indians. Monies were subtracted from the imbursements and paid directly to the traders.

By 1851, the Americans wanted to purchase all of the Dakota’s remaining lands—twenty-five million acres. The Sioux did not want to sell, but were forced to do so with threats that the army could be sent in to take the land from them at the point of a gun if they refused the American’s offer.

“If we sell our land, where will we live?” asked the Dakota chief.

“We will set aside land for the Dakota only. It is called a reservation and it will be along both banks of the Minnesota River, twenty miles wide, ten on each side and seventy miles long. It will be yours until the grasses no longer grow,” answered the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

The Dakota were offered six cents an acre for land that was worth at least a dollar an acre. The payment would be stretched out over a twenty year period and was to be made in the form of gold coins. One year later, in 1852, the Americans took half the reservation, the seventy miles on the north side of the river. The Dakota were now reduced from a nation of fierce, independent people to a people dependent on hand-outs from the ones who stole not only their land, but also their dignity.

The Dakota were forced to buy their food from the traders who ran trading posts at the Indian Agency the U.S. Government had set up on the reservation. All year long the Dakota would charge what they needed. When the yearly payment for their land arrived, the traders would take what they said was owed them. Subsequently, there was very little gold left for the Dakota.

By 1862, the Dakota were starving. That year’s payment was months late in arriving because of the Civil War. The traders were afraid that because of the war there would be no payment that year and cut off the Dakota’s credit. The Indian Agent had the power to force the traders to release some of the food stocks, but refused when asked to do so by the Dakota.

After they had eaten their ponies and dogs, and their babies cried out in the night from hunger, the Dakota went to war against the United States of America.

They attacked the agency first and liberated the food stock from the warehouse, killing many white people who lived there. Then bands of braves set out to loot the farms in the surrounding countryside.

Many whites were killed in the ensuing weeks. However, not all of the Dakota went to war. Many stayed on the reservation and did not pick up arms against their white neighbors. Some saved the lives of white settlers. Still, over 700 hundred whites lost their lives before the rebellion was put down.

When the dust settled, all of the Dakota—including women and children, and those people who had saved settlers’ lives—were made prisoners of war.

Three hundred and ninety-six men were singled out to stand trial before a military commission. They were each tried separately in trials that lasted only minutes. In the end, three hundred and three men were sentenced to death.

Even though he was occupied with the war, President Lincoln got involved. He reviewed all three hundred and three cases and pardoned all but thirty-eight of the prisoners.

On a gray and overcast December morning in 1862, the scaffold stood high. Thirty-eight nooses hung from its crossbeams. The mechanism for springing the thirty-eight trap doors had been tested and retested until it worked perfectly. At exactly noon, a signal was given, a lever pulled, and the largest mass execution to ever take place in the United States of America became part of our history.

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