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Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Sky Without Stars

Pine Ridge, South Dakota
Frankie Chasing Bear

I did not come to quilt-making easily. The urge to piece together shapes and colors wasn't my gift.

But when I was twelve, Grandmother said soon the quilt might be all that was left of what we once were. By the time your children wrap quilts around themselves, she told me, the star and all it stands for may be a dim memory, lit only by the fire of ancestors, clouded by ruddy smoke hanging in the sky.

Just before she died, Grandmother and I sat together one last time. She stopped to smooth a small wrinkle in the quilt top. "Lakota were favored among tribes," she said. "Our people stood at the top of the hills. The buffalo and the deer bowed to our warriors, and we lived together in peace. The peace pipe showed us how to live, and the stars helped us find good hunting grounds. One day, the sun rose on white men. They brought their religion, but they often did not listen to their God's teachings. We were brought low and herded like animals. They had no explanation, except to point to their Book. We were to love their God and love each other."

Grandmother laughed. "Lakota need no instruction on love." Tears glistened in her tired black eyes. She'd seen something terrible in the smoke, she said for the hundredth time. A red rose, unopened. Blood, a river of blood. Another day was coming, she said, when words from the Book would take place: We were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.

I dared not remind her she prayed to the God of the Bible. That she stood in two worlds, fully Lakota, fully Christian. I worry it's not possible for me. Indians who go to the church are shunned by their kin and by the whites. Outcasts, their feet in no world at all.

Before we traveled to Arizona, Grandmother made me promise to make this Lakota Star for my son. Sew love into every stitch and remember: a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars. The quilt will help this child remember who he is, she said. The star will tell him how much he is loved and the light will save him at the last day." (excerpt Prologue).

A Sky Without Stars is the latest novel in the Quilts of Love Series by Linda S. Clare as she takes a Native American turn at storytelling. We meet Frankie Chasing Bear who has begun the task of trying to make it on her own as a single mother leaving her to care for her son, ten-year-old Harold. After growing up among men who drink, first her father and then her husband, Frankie knows that she must do all she can to make sure her son does not follow in his families footsteps. But Harold is facing his own challenges being bullied by a white boy named Orval who finds picking on the Indian child to be his lot in life. No matter how much Frankie tries to help, somethings can only be learned by going through life and enduring the tough trials. Soon Frankie and Harold find an ally in Nick Parker, a Federal Agent who is half Lakota as well and both will find that learning to embrace new challenges and giving up some of the past prejudices are just what is needed for them both to move forward to a new life.

I received A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation and the opinions expressed are strictly my own unless otherwise noted. I love this take on the Quilts of Love series with the Native American twist for the 15th book in the series. I love how they embrace their heritage and the ways that have been passed down from generation to generation much like the quilt that Frankie is creating for her son, Harold. Quilts are like that in that they generally tell a bit about the person who handcrafted it with love and blessings as pieces are stitched together creating a beautiful work of art, much like how God uses our circumstances to create the person He has in mind as we grow and mature. I give this novel a 4 out of 5 stars and it even includes a reader discussion guide at the end.

For more information about A Sky Without Stars, Linda S. Clare or where you can pick up a copy of this novel, please click on the links below:

You can also find Linda S. Clare on Facebook to stay up to date with all her latest novels.

To read more reviews on A Sky Without Stars, please visit Christian Fiction Blog Alliance Book Tours Page. 

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