Sunday, August 21, 2016

American Copper by Shann Ray

The daughter of a stern copper baron defies her father by her choice of a man

Josef Lowry is a man “hard as granite,” a no nonsense son of an immigrant who has conquered the Montana copper market by his take-no-prisoners approach.  Suspicious of avaricious strangers, he cruelly destroys the family of his son’s intended wife.  A mining accident kills the son, and after that, his chastened daughter Evelynne immures herself in her room.  After several years she ventures into the world only to encounter two very different men, first the monosyllabic giant, horse trainer Zion, known as Middie, and then William Black Kettle, a Cheyenne rodeo rider.  Her father wishes her to never leave his side so Evelynne’s eventual choice of a mate, no matter who it is, will inspire murderous paternal opposition.

This novel began compellingly, clearly establishing the monumental Montana landscape, the furious wills of Joseph and Evelynne and the shared tragedy that forms them.  However, after those chapters, the reader gets becalmed.  Why on earth this sheltered rich girl would want to go live with a Cheyenne rodeo rider is not made clear.  She likes his hair, his masculinity apparently.  And why he, the future leader of his tribe, would want to live with a sheltered rich white girl is also not made clear.  There is a triangle love story and I don’t understand why she chooses William over Middie.  They seem like the same sort of stern resolute Western hero, although Middie struggles with his violent tendencies.  The historical details, however, such as the life of the Indians on the plains, were interesting.  The reader learns of how they coped with the authorities wanting to exterminate them.  In many ways a textbook historical novel,

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