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Bone River by Megan Chance
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Bone River (edition 2012)

by Megan Chance

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564210,933 (3.71)14
Member:jsharpmd
Title:Bone River
Authors:Megan Chance
Info:Amazon Publishing (2012), Paperback, 395 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:mystery, thriller, hardback, Book Browse, First Impressions

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Bone River by Megan Chance

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I was totally swept away by this book and could not put it down. Leonie, the only child of an ethnologist who died when she was 17, is married to her father’s assistant, Junius, who is more than twice her age. They live a fairly isolated life in Washington Territory, along with Lord Tom, a Native American who has become almost part of the family and serves as Leonie’s protector and guide. Junius continues the study of and search for artifacts; Leonie has specific tasks that she is expected to do to assist Junius, but finds herself drawn to transcribing the Native American legends that Lord Tom narrates, and to drawing, neither of which Junius approves.

The story begins with Leonie’s discovery of a mummified Native American woman in the river; from the moment of the discovery, inexplicable things begin to happen, challenging Leonie’s attempts to think logically. She is torn between the scientific world in which she grew up, and a world of legend and supernatural happenings to which she is now drawn. Further tension is added to the plot when Junius’s grown son, Daniel, arrives on the scene.

There is more romance to this novel than I had expected reading the book description. I’m not normally a romance fan, but this was so well-written and genuine, without being overly sentimental or dramatic, that I found myself pulled into the story and totally captivated by the characters’ relationships. Romance is only part of the story, however, which also features supernatural elements and a fascinating look at Native American culture in the Washington territory. This culture is fast eroding in the face of the white man moving west, and the novel looks at this clash between cultures, which is deftly captured in Leonie’s own internal struggles. The setting comes to life and is so beautifully captured in the writing that the reader can almost feel the autumn chill or the iciness of the river.

As secrets long-held begin to unravel and relationships begin to shift and change, Leonie embarks on a journey of self-discovery that is well-paced, believable, and quite compelling. This is a story that stayed with me long after I closed the book, and as much as I wanted to find out how it all ended, I was quite sad that it did; I look forward to more by this author. ( )
1 vote Litfan | Jan 19, 2013 |
A woman in 19th century Washington Territory finding bones, a mummy, along side a river in her remote part of the world. Sound like this could be exciting! Unfortunately, for me, this novel didn't work as a mystery or as a romance. The writing was mediocre, and some parts were downright awful. In the prologue, before I got to the main part of the story, I read “I looked into his chiseled face, into his deep-set eyes, and he pulled me into his arms, holding me tight against his chest.” Blaugh, that doesn't bode well, sounds too much like a mid-20th century paperback romance.

The story was pretty boring, the characters weren't engaging or even likeable, and seemed flat. The talk of racial superiority/inferiority, while part of the story, got old fast. I was not intrigued by the mummy and didn't much care what happened to any of the characters. Too much was too predictable. I often like first-person narrative, but it didn't work this time. Add to that, writing that made me more aware of the author's attempts at creativity than of the flow of the story, and this one was a flop for me, especially at 400+ pages.

I was given a copy of the book for review. ( )
1 vote TooBusyReading | Jan 7, 2013 |
Although I had a little trouble in the initial pages I was quickly involved in the story and stayed that way until the final pages. The story set in the Pacific Northwest opens with the death of Leonie's father, an ethnologist, in the late 19th century. Leonie accepted her father's dying wish for her to marry Junius, a 37 year old ethnologist, who is 20 years her senior. The other main character is "Lord Tom" an area American Indian who has been with Leonie since she was a child.

Then the story fast forwards 20 years after Leonie and Junius are married. She finds a "mummy" in a basket that is uncovered on the banks of the river they live by. It had been uncovered by a recent flood.

Soon thereafter Junius' son Daniel appears. He was unknown to Leonie until Daniel appears saying he works for a San Francisco newspaper and has arrived to write a story about the mummy. His mother, Junius' wife, has recently died.

From the appearance of Daniel who is in his late 20s the story becomes more involved and exciting parts happen.

Leonie's life changes with the finding of the mummy with dream visions. She longs to find her origins and relationship to the mummy. Trying to be the ethology scientist that her farther trained her to be she struggles with her artistic and spiritual side.

The ending is unexpected. It was an enjoyable read. ( )
  jsharpmd | Nov 18, 2012 |
Never mind what other books this story is compared to. That never makes sense to me. Each story is its own. This is a good story, and needs no propping up with comparisons. Leonie will steal your heart and will pull you into the story of her life. Don't resist, slow into the story with her. You won't regret it.

Leonie has lived by the river the locals called The Mouse, since she was a child. She was raised by her father, a scientist who has taught her all that he knows. Or, has he? At that time a woman wasn't encouraged to educate herself, but Leonie was different. Even as he taught her to be what he himself was, an ethnologist ..one who studies other cultures, he made sure to remind her that she was just a woman, and thus less in some way.

Lea grew up with not only her father but Lord Tom, an Indian who landed on their doorstep one day, ill nearly to death. The two of them nursed him back to helath and he became a member of the family, loved and respected and even cherished by Leonie. She could never get enough of his stories, the history of his people, the Chinook. This was much to the dismay of her father. They were joined at one point by another man, also calling himself an ethnologist, Junius, Russell. He and Lord Tom helped with the study of artifacts and bones found or procured.

The day Lea's father died, when she was seventeen years old, she made a promise to him. She promised to marry Junius, a man twenty years her senior, but with whom she felt safe. And since Lea was a girl who kept promises, she married the man she knew as June Russell. They and Lord Tom made a life together and carried on their studies, as well as harvesting oysters near their home. Among the many other things he was, Junius was an oysterman.

The day that Leonie turned thirty seven years old, something happened that was to change all of their lives. ( )
3 vote mckait | Nov 10, 2012 |
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In the mid-19th century, Leonie Russell works alongside her husband, Junius, an oysterman in the Washington Territory. At night she continues her father's lifelong obsession-- collecting artifacts and studying the native culture that once thrived in the area. On her 37th birthday, Leonie discovers a mummy protruding from a riverbank--a mummy that by all evidence shouldn't exist. As Leonie searches for clues to the mummy's origins, she begins to feel a strangely mystical connection to it.… (more)

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