Saturday, November 23, 2013

Review - - Somewhere to Dream

Somewhere to Dream
By Genevieve Graham
Publisher:  Berkley
Release Date: November 5, 2013

1740's South Carolina

They call her Shadow Girl.  Rescuing Adelaide from certain death, the Cherokee have accepted her as a cherished member of their tribe, accepting as a gift her ability to foretell the future in her dreams. But what the Cherokee consider a blessing, Adelaide views as a curse.  She's haunted by events of the past and fears her dreams, forcing herself to awaken before they reach their conclusion. When the warrior to whom she has been betrothed is killed, Adelaide grieves her friend along with the rest of the tribe.  But not long after, the warrior's brother returns to the village with a captive, a white man whom the Cherokee warrior believes carries the spirit of his dead brother...a man Adelaide has "seen" before.

It was difficult to look away.  I'd never met the man before, but I knew those eyes so well they might have been with me all my life.  After he'd been cleaned a bit, I knew his hair would be golden, his body sleek and strong as a mountain cat's.  I had spent my life running from my dreams.  This man lying bleeding on the ground, blinking through the eyes that had haunted those dreams...he was as real as could be.

Life for Jesse Black has been filled with pain and humiliation.  Verbally and physically abused by his father, Jesse's only friend is the eccentric physician living in his town; a man who protected the child, taught him to read and convinced him that he could be a better man than his father.  Some lessons go deep however and, in Jesse's case, his father's hatred of Indians also lives in the son. So when Jesse is captured by the Cherokee, he does not go easily.  Expecting a short life at the hands of savages, Jesse is stunned to be told the spirit of the dead brother of the warrior who captured him lives in Jesse and, therefore, Jesse is now his brother and will become a Cherokee warrior.  And if that isn't enough, he discovers that he is now the betrothed of the quiet white girl who willingly lives in the Cherokee village.

Jesse plans to escape the Cherokee at the first opportunity.  Adelaide considers them her family, feels safe in their village and fears ever living among white men again.  Jesse fears becoming the kind of man his father is, the kind of man who changed a young Adelaide's life forever.  The two young people are drawn to one another, forming a tentative friendship that gradually deepens into something more profound, more lasting. But Jesse and Adelaide both have demons to confront and fears to overcome for the love that's gradually growing between them to have any hope of surviving.  They must learn to accept the people they are and are meant to be.  And they must learn to open themselves to what they can learn from others, even from those whom they have been taught to view as the enemy.

At a point in history when white settlers were moving into Native American territory and claiming (many would say stealing) the land that had been held by the Cherokee for generations, peace between the two was tenuous at best.  Graham captures the emotions of that time with exquisite skill.  As she has in her previous books, Graham has the ability to create a realistic sense of time and place that puts the reader in the minds of the people and midst of events that took place more than 200 years ago. This story is set in the Keowee Valley, an area in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains that is situated in the northwest corner of what is now South Carolina.  I know this area, and its history, well.  I've lived there for the better part of the past twenty years.  Graham has never been there and yet her words evoke the unique beauty and spirit of that area and its people, in particular the Cherokee who still call it home.

If you've never read a book by Genevieve Graham, I recommend picking one up today.  If you're a fan of Last of the Mohicans, I strongly suggest you begin with Somewhere to Dream.



  1. I've not read her but now I definitely want to - thanks!

    1. You're welcome, catslady. I hope you enjoy the book!

  2. I have not read her work before but heard a lot of good things about her. Must try her.

    1. She's a wonderful writer, Quilt Lady. I recommend any of her books.

  3. Thanks for the review, PJ. This sounds like a story I will enjoy. The native american culture and practices were not understood by the whites and many are not familiar with them today. It sounds like Ms Graham understands the culture to dome degree and does a good job of representing it in her story. We've lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains in NE TN for a little over 20 years. I appreciate an author who can give an accurate feel to the setting of their stories. I am a big fan of LAST OF THE MOHICANS having grown up where it takes place. Oddly, we now live not far from where the movie was filmed.
    I am going to have to dig through my TBR mountain to see if I have any of her books. If not, I will be starting with SOMEWHERE TO DREAM.
    Have a great Thanksgiving.

    1. Librarypat, I was shocked when Ms. Graham told me she'd never been to the area where this book is set. Her descriptions and sense of feel for the area are so spot-on that I was sure she had been there. Keowee Valley is located just south of where they filmed the movie,