Steal the North by Heather Brittain Bergstorm
Published: April 10, 2014
Publisher: Viking Adult
Format: via publisher
A novel of love in all its forms: for the land, for family, and the once-in-a-lifetime kind that catches two people when they least expect it
Emmy is a shy, sheltered sixteen-year-old when her mom, Kate, sends her to eastern Washington to an aunt and uncle she never knew she had. Fifteen years earlier, Kate had
abandoned her sister, Beth, when she fled her painful past and their fundamentalist church. And now, Beth believes Emmy’s participation in a faith healing is her last hope for having a child.
Emmy goes reluctantly, but before long she knows she has come home. She feels tied to the rugged landscape of coulees and scablands. And she meets Reuben, the Native American boy next door.
In a part of the country where the age-old tensions of cowboys versus Indians still play out, theirs is the kind of magical, fraught love that can only survive with the passion and resilience of youth. Their story is mirrored by the generation before them, who fears that their mistakes are doomed to repeat themselves in Emmy and Reuben. With Louise Erdrich’s sense of place and a love story in the tradition of Water for Elephants, this is an atmospheric family drama in which the question of home is a spiritual one, in which getting over the past is the only hope for the future.
Steal the North is a slow paced [in a good way] novel told to us by alternating characters. I personally like this style mainly because I feel like we get an insight to how each person is feeling and reacting to the other characters. I enjoy how through these characters the story is beautifully woven together.
It’s a story of family, loss, love and religion and how everyone is trying to deal secrets and come to terms with the aftermath. Emma is a teen who from recent events finds out her mother has lied to her, her entire life. She was told she had no family and her father was dead. When she finds out that it was all a lie she is sent to spend the summer with her aunt whom she has never met. Emmy is brought their by the church's urging since they feel a “virgin” could help her aunts pregnancy. Little does anyone know Emmy isn’t one. She struggles to become close with the family she does not remember, while her aunt is so happy with joy as she is reunited with her niece whom she helped raised when she was a baby. While there she has meets a guy, Reuben, whom is instantly taken by her. Through him we learn his story and that of his Native American culture. It's all set in the beautifully described Washington State background.
What I loved most about this engaging read were the rich characters. I loved how each one had a great story to tell and the universal message was love. Wither it be good or bad the reasons and things they ultimately did was in the name of love. Love for each other, their beliefs and their culture. And while this book has a message of religion it’s not forced upon you like some other books do. This book has a range of emotions that I think will satisfy many people, it’s an easy and thought provoking book that once you get started you won’t be able to put down.