This was a fascinating story about an unthinkable act. Beginning in 1757 and spanning twenty years, it's an epic story about two groups of people, the Oneida tribe and the British colonists. Major Reginald Aubrey's wife has given birth to a son on the day Fort William Henry falls. However, their son dies shortly after while his wife sleeps. Worried for her mental health as his wife has endured much, including the loss of one child already and then following the army, he is carrying his dead child when he happens on another woman in the fort who has just given birth to twins. She's a white woman who has been "rescued" from the Oneida tribe shortly before giving birth. One baby is white with blond hair like the mother and like his son, while the other is dark after his Native American father. While she sleeps, he switches his child with her white one. Then the fort comes under attack and he rushes his wife out of there with the stolen child. The other woman is rescued back to the Oneida people she's grown up with and to her husband. She realizes the dead child is not hers, but doesn't figure out what has happened right away. When she does, they don't know how to find who took her child. All she has is a name she heard.
The story also focuses on Anna, a child a little older than the twins who Major Aubrey rescues from a Native American attack as they're fleeing the fort. They raise her as their own, though his wife keeps her at a distance. A friend of the family, Lydia, is a teenager when she meets Anna and cares for her right away. As the years pass, William, the white twin ends up going away to school just as Two Hawks, his brother, finds where he lives. There he meets Anna and they become friends as they meet secretly in the woods. Major Aubrey has been haunted by what he's done, while William's true father has been planning his revenge. Missionary Kirkland has been sharing the gospel with the Oneida; will this change his mind?
This was an incredibly interesting story with wonderful characters and rich history. I really liked the strong female characters of Anna and Lydia. They both went through some hard circumstances, but made the best of things. I liked that Lydia knew a lot about herbs and medicines to help heal. The look into the Oneida culture was fascinating. I really liked Two Hawks and watching as he grew up and had to choose what kind of man he wanted to be. I can't imagine how horrible it would be to have your child stolen and I thought the way this affected each of the people was well written. There's also a couple of romances in the story and they both had some sweet moments. The spiritual aspect was very well done, as the Oneida learn about Jesus through Kirkland and there are many parts where they are trying to understand the similarities and differences in what they believe and in who God and Jesus are. There's also the struggle between wanting revenge and offering forgiveness and the way their choices affect their future. There's some hard circumstances in the story, but it's not depressing or dwelt on. I highly recommend this book and look forward to the next!
I received this book free from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.