One of the genres that I enjoy but don't often get a chance to indulge in is Historical Fiction. Why don't I get a lot of chances to indulge? Well, at least partially because I'm one of those people that gravitates towards familiar things, especially when picking out something to read. And because I haven't read a lot of Historical Fiction and have this apparently unfounded bias that Historical Fiction is boring by default (where I got that, I don't know).
At some point, I read the summary for a book that was on sale through Audible (for $6 I think, and that's the kind of price I aim for on used books in paper, so it sounded good to me).
It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
I've gotten more than my money's worth out of this book (as I've read it 3 times now) and I'd like to spread the word, not only because this was an eminently enjoyable read, but also because there are really good lessons to be learned from this narrative.
Perhaps one of my favorite elements from this book were the exploration of the Grumpy Old Mentor archetype, the mountains of research behind the behavior and treatment of "rescued" captives, and the relationship that blossoms between the main character (Captain Kidd) and the Child Captive (Johanna). It's an amazing blend of literature as entertainment with psychology and history and moral fiber, all with a nice dusting of wholesomeness and HEA for a part of this complete breakfast!
I'm definitely going to give this book a 5 out of 5 for lifelike characters and the sort of research I don't see going into most fiction. I'm in love with this book, and I'll probably read it many more times.
Books like it:
If you like books like Watership Down and The Scarlet Pimpernel for their tidbits of real-world knowledge woven into the narrative and books like Little Women or Anne of Green Gables for their wholesomeness, this will be a great pick for you, I think.