An American story. . .A Love story. . .
I must qualify my review by saying that cold Mountain was one of my favorite reads of the 1990s and I have patiently been waiting for Mr. Fraizer’s sophomore effort. I was thrilled to receive an advance readers copy through a friend in the industry! The great news is “Thirteen Moons” proves the author is more than a one hit wonder. This is historical fiction at its best, as we follow the first person account of the 19th century frontier life of Will Cooper. Ala “Little Big Man” this is a first person account told by an old man at start of a new century, his life a relic of the past. I loved the opening chapter as the 90 year old, cantankerous Will answers his phone, and in the white noise of this modern marvel he can hear the voice of his lost love Claire. Will Cooper starts out as an orphan who is sold by his relatives to an “antique gentleman” who puts young Will to work at a remote trading post. Here he comes in contact with the great Cherokee Nation. Will’s life blossoms and he has great success and terrible failures as a lawyer, a merchant, and even a state senator. Through all of this his bonds with the Cherokees remains strong and central to the story, he even is made a white chief of the nation. Through the structure of Wills life the story of the Cherokee Nation is told. He bears witness to the heartbreaking removal of the people from their land and the tragic “Trail of Tears.” Will fights for the confederacy during the Civil War, and meets many of the iconic figures of the times such as Davey Crockett and Andrew Jackson. Through out his life Will is haunted by the memory of his one true love, Claire, a girl he won in a card game when he was 12. (I am reminded of Gus’s Clara from “Lonesome Dove”–I guess we all have our Clara?). This love story is central to the tale and is what binds the story into a cohesive unit. The story does tend to amble at times, but this will not be a problem for those who love Frazier’s prose. This is a rich, enthralling, yet in many ways melancholic story of one mans life and times and his one true love. Highly recommended! Also be sure and check out "Across the High Lonesome!"
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