Tuesday, August 02, 2011

My Review: Captive Trail

Captive Trail (The Texas Trail Series)

About the Book:
The Captive Trail is second in a six-book series about four generations of the Morgan family living, fighting, and thriving amidst a turbulent Texas history spanning from 1845 to 1896. Although a series, each book can be read on its own.

Taabe Waipu has run away from her Comanche village and is fleeing south in Texas on a horse she stole from a dowry left outside her family’s teepee. The horse has an accident and she is left on foot, injured and exhausted. She staggers onto a road near Fort Chadbourne and collapses.

On one of the first runs through Texas, Butterfield Overland Mail Company driver Ned Bright carries two Ursuline nuns returning to their mission station. They come across a woman who is nearly dead from exposure and dehydration and take her to the mission.

With some detective work, Ned discovers Taabe Waipu identity. He plans to unite her with her family, but the Comanche have other ideas, and the two end up defending the mission station. Through Taabe and Ned we learn the true meaning of healing and restoration amid seemingly powerless situations.

My Comments:
While billed as a romance, Captive Trail is much more a book about identity.  Taabe was kidnapped as a child and adopted into a Comanche family.  As an adult, she ran away, wanting to return to a life, language and culture she could barely remember.  Almost dead, she is found by Ned and some nuns.  She lives with the nuns who, along with a young boarder, teach her English and the ways of the Americans.  She is curious about the man on the torture stake that the nuns display everywhere, but we don't listen to them try to explain Christianity or Catholicism to her.  One memory to which she has held over the years is the tune to "Amazing Grace".  Ned explains that it is a Protestant church song, and that's why the nuns don't know it.  We learn that the nuns pray several times a day, trust God to care for them on the frontier, and the Taabe starts to understand about God and prays but faith is not the main focus of the book.  

The nuns are portrayed as loving and human--Ned compares one to his maiden aunt, but these aren't bitter or preachy women, as I've sometimes seen nuns portrayed.  I rather doubt nuns of that time lived quite the unregimented lives these women did, but on the other hand, those women who traveled to the frontier to teach  children, care for the sick etc. couldn't have been too otherworldly or wimpy--they had to deal with life as it came without the luxury of established convents with polished floors and stained glass windows.

I enjoyed this book and thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley.  Grade:  B.

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