The Healing of Natalie Curtis
by Jane Kirkpatrick
Classically trained pianist and singer Natalie Curtis isolated herself for five years after a breakdown just before she was to debut with the New York Philharmonic. Guilt-ridden and songless, Natalie can’t seem to recapture the joy music once brought her. In 1902, her brother invites her to join him in the West to search for healing. What she finds are songs she’d never before encountered–the haunting melodies, rhythms, and stories of Native Americans.
But their music is under attack. The US government’s Code of Offenses prohibits American’s indigenous people from singing, dancing, or speaking their own languages as the powers that be insist on assimilation. Natalie makes it her mission not only to document these songs before they disappear but to appeal to President Teddy Roosevelt himself, who is the only man with the power to repeal the unjust law. Will she succeed and step into a new song . . . and a new future?
Award-winning author Jane Kirkpatrick weaves yet another lyrical tale based on a true story that will keep readers captivated to the very end.
A historical fiction novel about a real person from history. This is an era that I knew next to little about, and I found it quite fascinating.
I really enjoyed getting to know about Natalie Curtis, and feeling like I almost got to actually know her. Natalie is a prodigy pianist, but due to health issues, hasn’t played in a long time. When her brother George returns to New York from the west, where he’s made his home, she decides to go west and join him.
Natalie is fascinated and intrigued by the various Native American tribes, and reads up on the laws passed by the government to attempt and civilize the savages. She is especially saddened by the fact that the Indians are not supposed to sing or have their own music.
When Natalie meets the Yuma people, she loves them immediately, and decides to write their music down for their future generations.
I loved seeing these Indians and their unique cultures brought to life and their stories retold. I think it is important for us to learn from other cultures, and it makes me sad, too, to hear how our government tried to take those things away from them so long ago.
Jane Kirkpatrick is a writer who pays much attention to the fine details, and this definitely is very noticeable in this story.
This is a historical novel with a feel of authenticity and brings to life for us some of the ancient cultures of many tribes of the American southwest.
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