Wednesday 19 June 2024

Blood Sisters

Finished June 18
Blood Sisters by Vanessa Lillie

This novel follows archeologist Syd Walker, who works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Rhode Island. Syd, though white presenting, is of Cherokee heritage and was born and raised in Oklahoma, where her parents and sister still live. As the book opens, it is 2008 and Syd has just uncovered the remains of a young woman when doing a resource survey for new cables being run through the area. She has a representative from the local tribal office, who she's worked with before, and a coroner's representative attending. 
The real story of this novel though is back in Oklahoma, where a skull has been found with a link to Syd. Syd's boss flies her out to Oklahoma, where Syd is forced to face the demons of her past. When she was a teen, she and her sister Emma Lou were visiting a friend Luna, when two masked men barge in, separate them, make threats. Syd and Emma Lou survived, but Syd was able to shoot one of the men before their escape, which was followed by an explosion and a fire that destroyed the home. Syd has been haunted by the ghost of Luna, who has guided her and warned her of danger. 
Back in Oklahoma, Syd finds that Emma Lou has also disappeared, and the police seem reluctant to follow up on the disappearance. Syd goes in hot, following her instincts about old rivalries and motives to find her sister, but she finds so much more than she expected.
Lillie uses real history here, from the Trail of Tears, to the forced takeovers of Pawnee land, and the poisons resulting from mining in the area of Miami and Picher. She knows the area and the issues, since she is also Cherokee from Oklahoma. This book takes us into the lives of the people in Oklahoma, showing the reality of treaty breaking and loss of culture. It also contains elements of hope, of setting things right, and of renewing cultural traditions and language knowledge. 
This is an emotional and moving story of teenagers that went through trauma in different ways, and found ways to move forward with their lives, never forgetting their past. 

No comments:

Post a Comment