YA Book Central reviews “Cady and the Bear Necklace”

What worked:
The book features modern-day Indians living in Upper Michigan and the importance of preserving their heritage. Cady takes a 20-minute bus ride to attend an Indian school even though a public school is located only minutes from her home. Her father isn’t knowledgeable about their tribe’s history but he thinks it’s important for Cady to learn. Cady is respectful of her Indian past and is open to this learning, an attitude not shared by all young people. She jumps at the chance to interview a friend’s grandmother for a school project, and that’s when the book jumps into the meat of the plot.
The mystery of an old beaded necklace with a bear figure attached consumes Cady’s character. The conflict arises while she’s interviewing John Ray’s grandmother. The woman happily answers all of Cady’s questions until she asks about a photograph that had dropped to the floor. The woman becomes terse and agitated and tells Anna she needs to leave. This severe contrast in moods creates confusion for readers and Cady spends the rest of the book trying to uncover the story behind the necklace. Why won’t anyone talk about it? Readers will learn more about Cady’s family history as well as the tribe’s heritage and customs.
Cady is the main character and the story faces many challenges. Her relationship with her father changes after he remarries and her stepmother seems more like an older sister. Cady loves her baby brother but his presence changes the family dynamics, as he demands constant attention. Also, Cady has feelings for John Ray but she’s not sure how he feels about her. Her principal tells her that finding an eagle’s feather might be a sign from the spirits that she needs to complete a special task or solve a mystery. There are too many clues to be a coincidence and Cady is confused as to why she’s been given the task. The grandmother’s reaction to the photograph and Cady finding a hidden necklace make her determined to understand the history behind it.

What didn’t work as well:
An effective hook in the opening chapters of this short book would help grab readers right away. Sharing Cady’s problems with school, living with a very young stepmother, a new baby brother, and learning about her Indian heritage don’t do it. Once the bear necklace is introduced, the story becomes a mystery and carries the rest of the plot, although the conflict lacks strong emotions and tension.

The Final Verdict:
Trust the power within yourself. The most enjoyable part of the book is the emphasis on Indian heritage and culture. Times are changing and it’s important to honor the history of our ancestors. Resolving the mystery of the necklace feels more like a personal project than an actual conflict, so the story would be improved with more suspense or drama. Overall, I enjoyed the book and recommend it to readers who like Indian storytelling

Read the entire review on YA Book Central

North of Nelson

978-1-7367449-0-1
$14.95
Stories of Michigan's Upper Peninsula - Volume 1
In stock
1
Product Details
UPC: 978-1-7367449-0-1
Brand: Silver Mountain Press
Binding: Paperback
Audiobook: iTunes, Audible.com
Edition: 1st
Author: Hilton Everett Moore
Pages: 144
Publication Date: 09/01/2022
North of Nelson presents six gripping short stories set in the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan will hold the reader spellbound as the various protagonists live, and sometimes perish, in this often harsh and rugged land. The mythical village of Nelson frames the life and plights of the various actors as they plunge headlong physically, psychologically, and metaphorically, into the treacherous waters of the Sturgeon River Country, where humans live precariously on the edge of a knife, and every mistake could be fatal.

While this work is entirely fiction--it easily spans over a century-- the tales dig at, and lay bare, a slice of Americana, a neglected culture, which is rapidly atrophying in rural areas--not only across the Upper Peninsula, but in much of the rural north.

In the opening story, "The Irascible Pedagogue," set in the later part of the nineteenth century, the lonely and maddened heart of the village pedagogue, Horace Nelson, ends regrettably as jealously invades his troubled mind causing unpredictable mayhem and murder. In the second and award-winning short story, The Silent Mistress, Lizzie must endure, not only the poverty and destitution of the Great Depression, but also the inexorable decline of her husband's life as he wastes away from the ravages of alcoholism. Other memorable stories in North of Nelson, Volume 1, will not only entertain, but challenge the reader to examine the guts and sinew of a rare and vanishing culture--the great Upper Peninsula. North of Nelson: Volume 2 is scheduled to be published in late 2022.


"Moore's stories are reminiscent of Wendell Berry and Ron Rash where geography plays an important role not only in linking the stories but also serving as another character. While the location is distinctly the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, it transcends to other locations such as southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky, Appalachia, the Ozarks, or many other tight-knit rural areas where family is paramount. The central theme of relationships draws the characters not only to each other but to the place they call home. Moore reveals the same affinity to the Upper Peninsula that he allows his characters to feel." --Robert Boldrey, M.A. in English, Professor, North Central Michigan College

"These six stories reminds me of the early Joyce in Dubliners. Each is a careful analysis of deep and painful emotion generated by crime or illness or simply the remote ruggedness of Upper Michigan. I think a genuine U.P. literature needs this sort of work and am glad to see it." --Dr. Donald M. Hassler, Professor of English, Emeritus, Kent State University, Former Executive, Extrapolation Advisor, International Authors Publisher

"Moore's stories begin as a tightly woven fabric only to be unwoven as his characters come to life. Each of his stories entwines with another. He has an uncanny insight into the human condition and shows how each of us is a part of another. Moore shows how our actions are not truly actions of ourselves but rather a part of a chain reaction of love and hate, life and death in our universe." --Cynthia Dunn

"North of Nelson: Stories of Michigan's Upper Peninsula -- Vol 1. is filled with touching moments about real-life situations and how the characters in these six short stories struggled to overcome their life challenges. I highly recommend this book if you want to learn more about life during the Great Depression, about life at the Baraga orphanage (fictional location) and other experiences from the past concerning the characters from Moore's book about the U.P." -- Sharon Brunner, U.P. Book Review

Learn more at www.SilverMountainPress.com

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