This summer we will be celebrating world cultures and travel with the summer reading program for adults "Novel Destinations." One destination we want to promote is our own Pure Michigan. This is a gorgeous state (take it from people who have seen a lot of them) with wonderful natural resources both close by and far away. There are some excellent books about this great place, too. One which I highly recommend is the novel The loon feather by Iola Fuller.
This historical novel set primarily on Mackinac Island shines with the beauty of the northern woods, sings with the sounds of the lake waters and mourns the passing of great cultures and peoples. Set during the early and mid-1800's, it describes how an Ojibway girl becomes "civilized" in her manner and dress through education and isolation from her people. Oneta, proud daughter of Tecumseh, is adopted by a caring yet strict and rigid Quebecois accountant when her widowed mother remarries. Through mission school and convent boarding school, Oneta becomes fluent in at least three or four languages, learns the cleanliness so important to the frontier gentry, and loses more and more of her self in duty and gratitude to her adopted father and grandmother. In a moment poised on the brink of violence, she finds the need to be herself, to be Tecumseh's daughter, and to do what she can to help her people.
Mackinac Island's swiftly changing community is drawn in careful and painstaking beauty, harsh with the winter snows, soft in the spring and crowded with visitors in summer. The trappers provide a noisy and boisterous historical piece to the setting. Timeless and moving, this book is a tremendous story and a worthy tribute to this great state and those who have shaped and guided her. The author, Iola Fuller, was a Michigan native and UM distinguished alumni--this book won UM's Hopwood Award in 1939.
5 out of 5 stars.