Hawk’s Valley: A Good Place to Die

Published By: Evergreen Publishing

Book Category: Fiction, Historical

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Reviewed by Connie Anderson

In 2008, Minnesota celebrates its 150th year of statehood. And there have been some historical discussions about the state’s handling of various local Indian tribes when the white man arrived—and the Indians were moved to reservations.

In August 1862, the Indian chiefs lost control of their people—because they were starving and angry, waiting for food that was promised by the government, food being held by men at the Agency warehouse.

In a time when it was often “kill or be killed,” the reality of the early settlers jumps off the page. Featured is the Owen family: abusive and no-good father John; Ma; Hawk, 18; and Jake, 17 – Hawk, Jake and John’s stories told first person in different chapters.

I can hardly find the words to tell how exciting this excellent storytelling is. Author Williams neatly wove fact and fiction to make this a real page-turner. Of course, being from the Ft. Ridgely area took me on a personal journey.

When Hawk and his father clash, the father kicks him off the farm in Ottertail County in northwestern Minnesota. A map shows the distances covered by foot, horse or ox carts, and it was amazing how far people walked those days.

This, the first in a three-part series, finds first Hawk wandering on his own, and then follows Jake, full of revenge because of his mother’s murder by Indians. We are with them as they survive, meet with good and bad people–and use every stay-alive skill taught them by an uncle.

Hawk was befriended by the Métis (may-TEE), decedents of European traders who interbred with native woman. Most were French-Canadian trappers/traders who drove ox carts. Jake became reclusive, keeping a step ahead of trouble. John Owen sank even lower than he was as a father and husband.

Space does not allow room to tell their stories–but to say that if you love well-written history–and stories about survival, love, friendship–this series is for you.

Book 2, Sophie’s Hawk: Spirit of the Raptor, continues the saga, as does Book 3, Hawk’s Quest: A Superior Pursuit (2008) continues with the Owen boys as they find their way, make homes and families and again move around the state.

Any history buff, regardless of where you live, will love this author’s storytelling ability.

Armchair Interviews says: IF you love historical fiction that seem so real that you root for the characters, this series is for you. Read the series in order so you know the characters.

Author’s Web site: http://www.HawkSeries.com

Voted one of the 101 Best Websites For Writers in 2006, 2007, 2008 & 2009