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Firekeeper's Daughter (2021)

by Angeline Boulley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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5673532,852 (4.27)10

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Daunis Fontaine is a young woman pulled between cultures. She is the illegitimate daughter of a White mother and Ojibwe father. Her mother was sixteen when she was born and her White grandparents didn't want her to have anything to do with her father's people. Her mother rebelled and made sure that Daunis knew her father's family. While Daunis loves her grandparents, she also loves and honors her Native family and its traditions.

Daunis has just graduated from high school and had intended to leave home for the University of Michigan to begin her studies to be a doctor. But her Uncle David has recently died and her GrandMary has suffered a stroke which has left her mother in a very fragile state of mind. Daunis has changed her plans and is now going to attend the nearby community college with her best friend Lily in order to stay at home and take care of her mother.

Only plans change again when her friend Lily is killed by Lily's ex Travis who has become a meth head and who then kills himself. Daunis and her new friend Jamie are quick to come upon the scene. There she learns that her new fried is an undercover cop sent to investigate the growing meth problem on the reservation. Lily agrees to become a confidential informant to try to get to the bottom of the drug problem on the Rez. Her knowledge of chemistry and her in with both the Whites and the Natives puts her in a powerful position to be of help. But it also puts her in a position to learn a number of secrets that she would prefer not to know.

This excellent story is filled with information about Ojibwe beliefs and rituals and culture. It is also a great depiction of the hockey culture of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. An it is an excellent mystery/thriller that kept me guessing about the whole situation. Along the way there is a growing love story between Daunis and Jamie that was filled with much more than the usual "getting to know you" of a normal relationship.

It was wonderful watching Daunis grow into her own power as a strong Native woman and decide what she wants to do with the rest of her life. ( )
  kmartin802 | Nov 26, 2021 |
Out of curiosity and because it's Native American Heritage Month in the US, I thought this would be a great read (look at that cover and the title!). It sounded like an interesting read of an 18 year old biracial unenrolled young woman who has never fit in the world around her: her hometown, the Ojibwe reservation, anywhere. At the time the story opens she's thinking about going off to college when tragedy strikes and Daunis witnesses a murder.

The murder is not the mystery itself but instead brings us into a complicated world where not everyone is who they seem, that sometimes you find the people you thought you knew or were getting to know are not what they seem at all, etc. And then Daunis ends up mixed up in a complicated investigation that involves drugs, death, family secrets and more.

The concept seemed great but it felt like far too much was crammed into the book and there was a lot the author wanted to say but really, really needed a better editor. It felt like multiple stories were going on at once, with the author pouring everything out. A mystery, social commentary, a new adult-type of story, etc.

Daunis as a main character was very dull, too. No one in the book seemed particularly compelling to follow and it was hard to understand why we should care about Daunis, what happened to her and her family, the secrets around her, etc. This was perhaps a case where either an editor needed to really pare down the book or this was a case where a series would have been warranted instead.

Ultimately skippable. And as you can imagine, there's a lot here that might not be easy to read, including rape, drug use, murder, violence against women, suicide, major injuries, etc. It's not an easy read so if you're sensitive to any of these subjects you may want to brace yourself since they're not really possible to skip.

Got it as a bargain book and would recommend library if you're intersted. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Nov 20, 2021 |
This felt like it needed another round of edits; there's far too much unnecessary tedium and a distinct lack of narrative thrust. The setting is the book's strongest attribute but it's hard to carry a whole story on that. ( )
  fionaanne | Nov 11, 2021 |
Powerful and important, though often sad... I'm glad I was able to picture this book so vividly (since I've spent much time in the Soo, given that both my siblings attended LSSU). Struggling with one's identity is the central focus of this book, but it also sheds light on the issues that Native people face every day- especially Native women. This book deserves the attention it is receiving (and I'm pleased to say that when I was in the U.P. recently, I saw it for sale in many places!) ( )
  bookwyrmqueen | Oct 25, 2021 |
Daunis Fontaine has never been considered as a member of her tribe because her mother is white, but she has learned the ways of the elders and has practiced her tribe's customs all of her life. As the new hockey season begins, Jamie joins her brother's team and seems interested in dating Daunis. However, Jamie isn't who Daunis thinks he is because she finds out that he and his "uncle" are actually undercover agents trying to unearth a meth ring operating on the reservation. When Daunis's best friend is murdered right in front of her, she agrees to join the investigation as a confidential informant and as Jamie's "girlfriend." Secrets and lies lead to devastating information that changes Daunis's life forever.

Fire Keeper's Daughter is labeled as a young adult novel, but should be listed as new adult due to the overwhelmingly adult content including kidnapping, sex, drug and alcohol abuse, rape, and murder. Even though the mystery and romance are engaging, the story seems overloaded with details, slowing down the pace of the book. While the characters are well developed, the number of characters makes it difficult to follow along at times. Overall, Fire Keeper's Daughter is a well written book with more elements than necessary to make it an excellent story. ( )
  ftbooklover | Oct 12, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Angeline Boulleyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Breitenfeld, KathleenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Deas, RichCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lunham, MosesCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McMillian, MichelleDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Donna and Henry Boulley Sr., and their love stories
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I am a frozen statue of a girl in the woods.
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