Saturday, February 16, 2013

Book Review: Mariano's Crossing

Post By Kerrie

Mariano’s Crossing, a historical novel by David Jessup, contains all the elements of a compelling story, love, drama, adventure, tension and death and weaves them together into a book that is hard to put down. Based on historic figures in Northern Colorado during the late 1800’s, Mariano’s Crossing meshes together fact and fiction into a realistic story that has the reader believing at the end that it could have happened the way Jessup wrote it.

 The story revolves around Lena Medina, daughter of Mariano Medina who was the richest man on Colorado’s Big Thompson River in Loveland, Colorado during the time of the early settlers. Medina’s success, and the fact that he is a half-breed (Spanish and French), causes resentment among the new settlers. To help gain respect for his family, he sends his daughter to an expensive boarding school in Denver City, against the wishes of his Indian wife, Takansy, who wants their daughter to follow her spirit path. In the midst of all this, a young suitor, John Alexander wants Lena to run away with him to start a new life. As Mariano, Takansy and John each try harder to bend Lena to their way of thinking, everything spirals out of control, bringing about a result no one expected.

 Jessup is able to create a strong sense of place through his use of powerful descriptions, authentic dialogue and distinct characters. Because the story is told through various points of view, there is a depth that allows the reader to relate to the plight and motivation of each of the main characters. Jessup seamlessly moves in and out of these points of view, while moving the story along until the final, culminating event.

 Here is an excerpt from the opening scene that starts right in the middle of the action, creates a strong sense of place and immediately grabs the reader’s attention.

Takansy tightens her grip on the soft doeskin shroud holding her daughter’s body. The lightning is closer now, and she readies herself for a silent count of five. She prays her sleeping husband will not hear the sound she is about to make.

Tensing, she begins. One, two, three, four. On five, the thunderclap vibrates through the soles of her moccasins and rattles a china cup against its shelf-mate. Its roar masks the whisper of leather against wood as she drags the bundle a few steps closer to the cabin door… 

The thunder is so loud she worries the sound of the storm, rather than the click of the latch, will rouse him. When the next thunderclap comes, she eases the door open and wrestles the corpse over the threshold. The rusty hinges, greased the day before with lard, do not betray her. Her shoulders relax. The storm’s cool wind stirs the sweaty roots of her hair.

 If you are looking for a good story (especially if you like good historical fiction), Mariano’s Crossing is book you will definitely want to read and even add to your library.

Have you read Mariano's Crossing yet?


Patricia Stoltey said...

I read Mariano's Crossing and loved it. David is a fine writer.

Dean K Miller said...

One of my faves over the past year. I'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but I loved this one.

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