Review: News of the World

Posted on September 20, 2016


news of the world cover

News of the World
By Paulette Jiles
William Morrow
October 2016
224 pages

In the post-Civil War era, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is a 71-year old widower and veteran of three wars. Ever since he lost his printing business during the Civil War, he travels across north Texas making a meager living as a news reader. He is prepared to spend the remainder of his days reading aloud from newspapers for local townspeople eager to hear news of the world. That is, until he crosses paths with Johanna.

Ten-year old Johanna has been living with the Kiowa tribe for four years after they captured her and killed her parents. But the Kiowa traded her away to an Indian agent for blankets and dinnerware. The only family she has is an aunt and uncle near San Antonio, a 400-mile journey south through rugged territory populated by hostile Indian tribes, roaming cavalry units, and desperadoes.

As a father and grandfather, Kidd’s compassion for Johanna’s plight overwhelms all logic and he grudgingly agrees to accompany her as a favor to an old friend, and a 50 dollar gold piece. Johanna soon challenges every ounce of his compassion. Though she is fair-haired and white, she is in every other respect Kiowa. She doesn’t speak English, or bathe, and she despises clothes and shoes. Devastated by the abandonment of her tribe, she runs away at every opportunity. In a word, Johanna is a handful. Yet along the way, Kidd also discovers she is smart and kind. Her tribal chants and songs soothe him. To his utter amazement she proves to be a brave and fierce warrior who saves his life. Above all, he realizes she has the power to change his life forever.

Jiles’ impeccable historical fiction casts readers out into the rainy and windswept savage wilderness of post-Civil War politics and the Wild West to fend for their survival along with Kidd and Johanna. There are no guarantees. News of the World is a riveting saga for all ages that will be forever etched in your heart.

Copyright (c) 2016 by Peggy Tibbetts

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