Colleen’s #BOOK #REVIEWS – “Yellow Hair,” by Andrew Joyce
- Title: Yellow Hair
- Author: Andrew Joyce
- File Size: 1092 KB
- Print Length: 498 Pages
- Publisher: William Birch & Assoc.
- Publication Date: September 28, 2016
- Sold By: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01LXOXHBI
- ISBN-10: 0998119318
- ISBN-13: 978-0998119311
- Formats: Paperback and Kindle
- Genres: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Biographical
*I voluntarily reviewed an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book*
“Through no fault of his own, a young man is thrust into a new culture just at the time that culture is undergoing massive changes. It is losing its identity, its lands, and its dignity. He not only adapts, he perseveres and, over time, becomes a leader–and on occasion, the hand of vengeance against those who would destroy his adopted people.
Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage written about actually took place. The historical figures that play a role in this fact-based tale of fiction were real people, and the author uses their real names. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century. This is American history.”
Yellow Hair is an action-packed epic saga sharing the life story of a man coming to grips with his destiny. From the first page of this book, the reader is thrust inside the life journey of Jacob Ariesen, a young man whose family was looking for a better way of life in California. Leaving Massachusetts behind, and heading west on the Oregon Trail, the Arisen’s meet up with a wagon train headed to California in the mid-1800’s and set out toward gold country.
Most of the travelers were Eastern businesspeople, and they weren’t prepared to face the hardships on the trail. Careless errors of judgment by the pioneers results in the deaths of many family members. The people were greenhorns and had no clear idea what they had gotten themselves into. Throw in a crippling bout of cholera, and you have a clear picture of the tribulations suffered by the brave folks who traveled West looking for a better way of life. In the blink of an eye, Jacob’s entire family is wiped out, and he becomes the sole survivor.
With the dead and dying all around him, Jacob Ariesen becomes infected with cholera, and his days are numbered. Help is at hand, when a prophetic Native American woman, named Suni, finds her destiny with the fair-haired Jacob. Suni nurses him back to health, and she calls him, “Yellow Hair.” With no family of his own, Yellow Hair embraces the Dakota tribe who adopts him. He learns to speak the native languages of the Great Plains Indians and lives his life as a member of the Dakota tribe.
Jacob Ariesen, a.k.a. Yellow Hair takes his place in history framed by the U.S. government’s policy of placing the Dakota Sioux Indian tribes onto reservations after breaking treaty after treaty with the native peoples. The rest of the story belongs to Yellow Hair, told from his point of view.
I felt both sides (Native American and Whites) were portrayed as accurately as history could allow. The difference is in perspective, when you the reader, have the chance to witnesses the historical events through the eyes of a white man who considers himself to be an Indian.
I thought the author, Andrew Joyce, was entirely fair in his depiction of all the events. I never felt one side was glorified over another. The historical facts are woven in between the author’s interpretation of the events making history come alive.
History has a way of repeating itself, and I was quite moved with the parallels between the novel, and real life events unfolding at the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation and the Dakota Access Pipeline. I must admit I shed a few tears at the brutality of humanity on both sides of the spectrum.
I enjoyed this book from start to finish and could not put it down. And, as the author reminds us, “This is history,” which means many of these happenings are hard to swallow from a humanitarian point of view.
This is one of my favorite books from my expanding library of Andrew Joyce novels. If you love historical fiction set in the American West, you will love Yellow Hair.
Character Believability: 5
Flow and Pace: 5
Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5
Reader Enjoyment: 5
Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars
Author, Andrew Joyce
About Andrew Joyce:
Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written five books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.
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