William Morrow/Harper Collins
If you are a New Englander, you can’t appreciate the panoramic vistas of the Western Plains, the overshadowing mountains, the vast visual omnipresent beauty in this part of the country, unless you have been there. In The Color of Lightning, Paulette Jiles told this story as if she was recapturing the travels of Lewis and Clark. With a palette of colorful prose, a prism of grandness is picturesquely painted. This period of history presents hope and despair, promise and disappointment, good times and bad. As Americans move west, after the Civil War, settlers, black men and women are now free.
The Color of Lightning is a picture of the times. Ms. Jiles is a lyrical storyteller who captures every nuance. A time of the struggle and courage. An adjustment of space and alteration of territory. A period of learning and resisting change. Settlers moving in, Native People encroached upon.
As in any historical conflict, there are two sides, and the author handles this with delicacy and honesty serving up no blame. Opposing the grace and grandeur of the setting is the actions of the characters in the novel. With the violent bloody brutality that the settlers face with the Kiowa and Comanche, the author details the grim desperate reality of their life. The author does not diminish the harsh, hostile and violent treatment doled out by the enemy. I was surprised by the author’s honesty and commend her for adhering to historical accuracy.
My only area of concern would be the overburden of insignificant details that bog down the flow of the story at times. I am looking forward to more historical fiction by Paulette Jiles. The Color of Lightning was a spectacular achievement of storytelling quality.
The Color of Lightening is due out in April, thanks to Harper Collins & the First Look Program for sending the advance copy so that I could share it with you.
Have a great week!!!