Monday, December 22, 2008

Rachel LeMoyne

Rachel LeMoyne (Eileen Charbonneau, 1999) was inspired by a historical footnote--the fact that the Choctaw Nation, less than twenty years after their forcible removal from Mississippi to Oklahoma, took up a collection for victims of the Great Famine in Ireland. Charbonneau elaborates on that incident, having a Choctaw schoolteacher, Rachel LeMoyne, travel to Ireland with a pair of missionaries to help distribute the aid. She gets involved in the Irish people's struggles, marries an Irishman wanted by the English for assorted acts of what they consider sedition, and brings him back to America with her, where they end up on the Oregon Trail.

I never expected to read a book that featured the Trail of Tears AND the Great Famine AND the Oregon Trail, but it makes sense and gives the book an old-fashioned saga-like appeal. Rachel, her husband, and her brother occasionally seem too super-capable in the course of their travels, giving them a bit of an Ayla & Jondalar feel as they overcome prejudices by assorted medical, mechanical, educational, and equestrian skills, but it's a thoroughly enjoyable read that kept me turning pages.


Eileen said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comments on RACHEL LEMOYNE, Susan. Writers love finding creative readers! Best to you in your own writing life--
Eileen Charbonneau

Susan Wilbanks said...

Thank you for stopping by! I always enjoy reading about the Southeastern N.A. nations because I'm part Creek, and my husband and his family are enrolled in the Cherokee Nation but also have some Choctaw ancestry. (We live in Seattle now, but I'm from Alabama and he's from Oklahoma.)