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The Mourning Wars Hardcover – August 31, 2010
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–Eunice's life in Colonial America changes forever when she awakens one morning to hear her mother say she must dress quickly. The 17-year-old's town of Deerfield, MA, is under attack. Some of her family members are killed, including her mother, and others are taken captive by the Maqua, a Native people whom she has been taught to fear. Living among her kidnappers, Eunice, now called A'onote, learns why her life has been spared. She was taken during a Mourning War, a war to reclaim those lost to disease or fighting, to replace the daughter of the man who captured her. A'onote's adjustment to life with the Maqua, or Canienga as they call themselves, is slow for her and may be for readers. The teen struggles with her allegiances as they relate to family, religion, and culture, and tensions are palpable. She is well loved in her new community but wonders why her father, who has remarried, has not come for her. Steinmetz weaves Native language and culture with details about the Jesuits who lived with the Canienga and about the natural environment into the narrative. Her meticulous efforts in re-creating Eunice's life as accurately as possible at times weigh the story down, but her descriptions are often beautifully composed. An author's note and bibliography provide more information about the real woman on whom this story is based.–Hilary Writt, Sullivan University, Lexington, KYα(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Based on historical fact, this first novel recounts the early life of Eunice Williams, who—along with her family—was taken captive by Mohawk Indians during a raid on Deerfield, Massachusetts, in 1704. Separated from her Puritan family, Eunice is adopted by a Mohawk couple who have lost a daughter to smallpox. As the girl grows increasingly attached to her new parents, she finds herself straddling two worlds. And when her influential minister father launches efforts to win her back, Eunice must choose which world holds her future. The answer will not surprise most readers. For, while Steinmetz acknowledges in an appended author's note, “Accounts by non–Native Americans are inherently limited,” she nevertheless offers a thoroughly sympathetic and detailed picture of Mohawk life and beliefs—so detailed, in fact, that the book sometimes borders on being nonfiction. Yet Eunice's largely imagined life makes a fascinating story with a setting that is vividly and dramatically evoked. The book will be especially useful in the classroom. Grades 7-10. --Michael Cart
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