This is Good News

"All those captured as children and returned were restless and hungry for some spiritual solace, abandoned by two cultures, dark shooting stars lost in the outer heavens."

Look out Ove, someone new is working his way into my little-old-man-lovin heart. He's 71-year-old Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, a widow, who's a bit less (okay, maybe a lot less) curmudgeonly. He says things like "stop speaking in exclamation points" and "[they'd] of had a galvanized tin hissy, one apiece" and he's as adorable as he is set in his ways. Living in post-Civil War Texas, Captain Kidd travels alone to remote towns where he gives live newspaper readings to folks hungry for news of the world.

His solitary life is upended when he agrees to deliver a rescued orphan to her distant relatives near San Antonio (a 400-mile journey). Ten-year-old Johana, kidnapped at age six by a Kiowa Indian tribe when they killed her parents, doesn't feel rescued. Instead she feels as though she's been ripped from the only family she knows and thrust into a white man's world she wants no part of.  As she and the captain navigate their way across unsettled territories as well as language and cultural barriers, they leave us all a little better for having come along for the ride.

If you're an Ivan Doig or Norman Maclean fan, I think you'll really like News of the World. It's a lovely little book (just over 200 pages) of historical fiction. I found it a bit slow at first, but that could be because I read it during the height of Christmas madness—not many books can stand up to that level of exhaustion. Before long though, I started craving its pages more than sleep, especially during a shooting scene that had me on the edge of my seat both in fear and fits of laughter. Paulette Jiles has found a fan in me.

Posted by Rachel