Happy Friday, friends! If you haven’t yet checked out the Creek Country Saga series by April Gardner, you really must! Today, I’m looking at book #5 in the series but you could also read it as a standalone (though you’re missing out on all the other wonderful books that preceded it).
About the Book
For the DEFIANCE of a nation. For the DEFENSE of a tribe. For the LOVE of a war woman.
War woman Fierce Mink has loved Tall Bull as long as memory. He is beauty and power, but in the secret pockets of her spirit, he is vastly more. He is the brave to whom she swore her heart, the friend to whom she owes her life, and the chief to whom she will never be bound. Soon, he will be required to take a wife, but lamentably, Mink is severe, intimidating, hard-bitten by war—qualities a man appreciates in combat, not so under the bearskins. But perhaps it’s best he’s blind to her, for he clings viciously to the Beloved Path, and unbeknownst to him, she has joined her fire with Jesus.
Since his youth, Chief Tall Bull has treasured Mink. Even now, in their turbulent refugee world, she is comfort; she is home. Better yet, she shares his passion to preserve the Beloved Path and his fight to start anew in a land where they are no longer hunted. Then, a startling omen: before the blood moon, Tall Bull must make restitution for his transgressions, or the spirits will take payment. From her. A tragedy he would die to prevent.
Another portent looms—that of a horde of bluecoat soldiers pecking at their borders, threatening to drive the Red Stick Defiance into uninhabitable swamps. The Defiance will not go quietly, and as Tall Bull prepares for a brutal strike, he realizes the bluecoats aren’t his only enemy, and Mink’s life isn’t all he stands to lose.
With a richly atmospheric narrative and gorgeous word pictures, April Gardner takes us once again into Spanish Florida in 1817/18. The events closely parallel those of Bitter Eyes No More, but for a new perspective we follow Mink’s and Tall Bull’s stories instead.
Mink is fierce and fearless, but also insecure in many ways. Not only is she a Muscogee warrior, but she is also a new believer in Jesus. One who is still learning how to balance her vibrant tribal traditions with being a new creation. Yet, even in the transformation that Gardner exquisitely paints for her, Mink retains her culture and tribal identity. She does not, as so often fiction like this portrays, cease to be a Muscogee warrior when she also becomes a follower of Jesus. Instead, she finds new meaning and a covering of grace in her traditions, as well as seeing it all from eyes of faith.
Mink is also a woman long in love with her best friend – Tall Bull, a tribal micco who (as Beth Erin says) is an “unintentional master of mixed messages”. His own heart’s desires seem to catch him by surprise, and his intense pride often keeps him from those very desires. He is, like Mink, a complicated character but one well worth exploring each newly uncovered layer.
I also have to briefly mention Ten Cats, a seemingly minor character who grew in importance as the story progressed. He also grew on me and became one of my favorite characters in the whole book.
Mink and Tall Bull’s relationship is not a ‘typical’ love story. It’s a tumultuous path marked with detours and uncertainty, with other loving relationships, and with a conflict in faith. It’s often deliciously unpredictable but always exquisitely told with rich detail and lyrical prose. Gardner’s choice to include the tribal language (as well as a linked glossary) immerses you into a deeper reading experience that honors Mink and Tall Bull’s culture. And woven through it all is the overwhelming grace of Jesus, pursuing Mink and Ten Cats and Tall Bull – relating to them as their personal Savior, not as a white man’s God. Gardner does a beautiful job depicting the unity found in Jesus, as well as the cultural diversity He created.
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, which I received from the author.
About the Author
A military spouse, April has performed the art of homemaking all over the world. Currently, she lives in Georgia with her two children and USAF spouse. She is unashamedly a child of the King. In her free time, April enjoys reading, organizing, and DIY. In no particular order, she dreams of owning a horse, visiting all the national parks, and speaking Italian.
After a year gaining experience as a content editor with Clean Reads, April is now a freelance editor, certified through the University of California, San Diego. As a way to give back to the writing community and to promote Christian fiction, April founded and runs the literary contest site, Clash of the Titles.