Monday, October 13, 2008

Ride the Wind - Lucia St. Clair Robson

Title: Ride the Wind
Author: Lucia St. Clair Robson
Date Finished: October 13, 2008 #58
Pages: 595
Published: 1982
Rating: 4/5

I'm tired and worn out so I'm taking the easy way out. :)
From the back cover:

In 1836, when she was nine years old, Cynthia Ann Parker was kidnapped by Comanche Indians from her family's settlement.

She grew up with them, mastered their ways, and married one of their leaders. Except for her brilliant blue eyes and golden mane, Cynthia Ann Parker was in every way a Comanche woman. They called her Naduah - Keeps Warm With Us. She rode a horse named Wind.

This is her story, the story of a proud and innocent people whose lives pulsed with the very heartbeat of the land. It is the story of a way of life that is gone forever.

It will thrill you, absorb you, touch your soul, and make you cry as you celebrate the beauty and mourn the end of the great Comanche nation.

My Thoughts (aka Ramblings):
If you will recall from my Death of a Salesman post, I hated the first part of this book. I think a lot of it was because I was frustrated that it was taking me longer than usual to read the lengthy descriptions and I had major time constraints the past two weeks. Scott and I were headed for New England, which would eat up a weekend of reading time (although no regrets there!!), so I was stressing myself out because I was afraid I wasn't going to finish.

I talked to my friend Kari, who finished the book early (her review here), and she loved the book and urged me to press forward. I did, and I'm so glad. The book is a tough read--the descriptions are incredibly detailed and there is little dialogue. The book is long (it is no secret that I don't do well with longer books--short attention span and little patience) and spans over 50 years. The material is oftentimes graphic in terms of violence (there is a little sex, but it is minimal and tastefully written) and at points I put the book down and told Scott there is no way I could proceed.

In the end, though, I really fell in love with this book. I think I have a special connection to the book and the story because I hail from Texas and I know the landscape and the history and many of the key moments. I've been to Fort Parker, outside of Mexia Texas, where the first scenes of the story took place. I lived in the Staked Plains (Lubbock) where Naduah and her husband, Wander, roamed. But on the other hand this was a glimpse into our past that was difficult to read and really made me reevaluate the Texas history that I was taught as a child.

I think that people who like historical fiction would enjoy this book and I would also recommend it to people who are looking to read an account of Texas history as well as the Comanche history. This is just one little piece to a very large picture, but I am glad that I persevered to finish this touching and heartbreaking story.


Veens said...

I have not tried historical fiction, I think I will get it then :-)

Nice review there!!


Joy said...

For your sake, I'm glad you stuck it out. It sounds like it was a very good read in the long run.

I don't do well with long books (chunksters) either. Short attention span has never entered my mind as a reason, but little patience has! :) I'm actually a very patient person, but NOT with books. My favorite genre - thrillers and suspense - keep moving and keep me guessing. I don't have the patience to slog through page after page with no action to speak of. Not to say that chunksters aren't good (and I have read a few), it's strictly a patience problem. I do not like waiting for something to happen.

Debi said...

I was so surprised when I saw that 4/5 rating after what you'd said about it earlier! How wonderful that you stuck it out and came to love it! (I probably would have given up...bad me.)

Trish said...

*Veens - I don't read a lot of historical fiction as well but I find that I really enjoy it.

*Joy - If a book is too long and doesn't capture my attention well enough then I get bored. And I think that's why audio doesn't really work for me--can't concentrate long enough without everything else in my head interferring. When I read it is usually only small chunks at a time. I don't think I used to have the attention span problem, though.

*Debi - I know! When I said I hated it earlier, I think what I really meant was that I hated *reading* it. It was viciously violent through the first 100 pages of the book and I have a pretty tough stomach but it was difficult to read. But once I finally got past those 100 pages, it was much more pleasant to read. :)

Literary Feline said...

This does sound interesting, Trish. It's now on my wish list.

Sometimes I find myself putting off picking up the longer books, but in the end, they often end up being my favorites.

Dar said...

Great review Trish. It seems as thought it was worth it for you to stick it out. I love historical fiction so for me this will definitely go on the tbr list, not to mention that I do love a good chunkster once in a while.

Nymeth said...

This is a good example of why I tend to feel uneasy if I put a book away unfinished. You never know if your feelings about it are going to change. These days what I do is only give up if I'm less than 50 pages into it and it's really not working for me...that way, I know for sure I haven't read enough to form an opinion, and I'm more likely to try again at another time. I know there are books that I would have hated if I'd read them at the wrong moment, but because I was in the right sort of mood for them I loved them. Anyway...I'm the one who's rambling now :P I'm glad you ended up enjoying the book so much!

Ramya said...

hey trish! thanks for checking in on me!:) I am back in action now.. my blog's been restored!!:)

Natasha @ Maw Books said...

Every once in a while a book will surprise me, especially if I have such a hard time getting into it. I hate giving up books as well but am glad when I push through to find a story that I really liked.

Bookfool said...

I have a terribly short attention span, too. I hate that about myself. I'm glad you ended up enjoying the book. It does sound fun, but I'm not going to rush out to get a copy because I've got plenty of chunksters on the shelf. Now and then, I walk past them and cringe.

Kim L said...

Sounds like an interesting read. I have trouble with lengthy books myself, as it takes me too long to get into them. But sometimes the payoff is so worthwhile. Margaret ATwood is an author for whom that always seems to be true. It sounds like this is one of those types.

Trish said...

*Lit Feline - Some of the longer books I've read have been favorites as well but unfortunately I just don't read them often. If not for the book club, I probably wouldn't have picked this up. Hope you like it!!

*Dar - Definitely worth the time and great for historical fiction lovers. And you'll learn something about us Texans ;)

*Nymeth - Ramble on! :) I try not to give up on books either and if I do have to set them aside I always try to come back to them. Definitely timing plays a big factor for me with every book I read and the timing could have been better, but it worked out.

*Ramya - Glad you're back!!

*Natasha - It definitely helped that friends were also reading this at the same time so we could cheer each other on.

*Bookfool - Wish my attention span was a little bit longer as well but it also keeps things interesting. :) And in terms of chunksters...out of all the books I've read this year, this is the second longest at 595 pages. Just can't do it! ;)

*Kim - I've experience that with a few Atwood books as well--especially The Blind Assassin but I've always been glad that I stuck around. This one was kind of like that as well but definitely never a dull moment in this one!

Laura said...

I'm glad you finished it, even if it was painful for you to read such a long book! Some of those really violent scenes will probably stick with me for a long time, which I don't like, but it seems like it was a good overall picture of what life was like for the Comanches. I think I could very easily get on a Native American kick and read a lot of books about their lives! Maybe in 09, I'll switch from the Civil War to Native Americans!

Melody said...

I'm glad you enjoyed the book, Trish! Lengthy books do scare me off at first, but they're worth it if the story is good!

I hope all is well with you, Trish. :)

Trish said...

*Laura - Haha--when you put it that way I feel like such a whiner. I guess I probably am. :) It was really good, just not the best time with the vacation, etc. See--you should totally host a Native American Challenge!! :)

*Melody - The story with this one is great--especially with all the history. Glad I'm not the only one who thinks twice about longer books!

Nicole said...

This sounds like a great read.

I shy away from long books at times when I am really busy though. I don't like reading the same thing for weeks and weeks and not finishing. when I have time I don't seem to mind them as much.

Trish said...

Nicole - LOL--I don't like reading books for weeks and weeks either! I get really restless and sometimes a little bored. Sometimes I'm surprised at how fast moving longer books can be though--and some of them are my favorites! The Historian immediately comes to mind...