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.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself.
Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (October 4, 2016)
Longlisted for the National Book Award–Fiction
Captain Jefferson Kidd travels through Texas reading newspapers to people, it actually makes sense with literacy relatively low how else does News of the World get around. I thought this to be a very interesting concept and an original idea for a book. It's not really something I have thought of before but it's these little tidbits of history that I find intriguing and makes for the best stories.
The journey that Captain Kidd and Johanna begin is more than just about the miles traveled. What begins as two strangers put together, with very little in common, including language changes as the miles fade away. I don't want to say too much about the story itself for fear of ruining someones enjoyment of the book. Suffice to say this was written from the heart in a setting both realistic and true to the times. News of the World is full of adventure, a little bit of humor and takes the reader on a journey, (and not just the physical kind). The authors writing was descriptive and for a relatively short novel it has a lot going for it.
With a real lack in historical fiction for middle grade and young adult News of the World is a nice addition to the genre. I will definitely keep my eye out for the future books of Pauline Jile. Thank you to TLC Book Tours for opportunity to be part of this tour.
Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World.
She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.
Find out more about Paulette at her website.