09 January 2014

Serena Miller's "Under a Blackberry Moon" Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels


Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels
~5 stars~*****

Serena Miller told me at the 2013 ACFW conference that she had a story set in Michigan's Upper Peninsular, where I grew up.  My OWG "Angels" also told me there was a sequel book out to The Measure of Katie Calloway, which I loved.

Moon Song is a young metisse woman, half Anglo and half Chippewa, but she identifies herself as being of the Chippewa tribe. She has a baby and had spent the winter working at a lumber camp where she also nursed an axeman (who'd been a preacher) nicknamed "Skypilot" back to health. Moon Song has good reason to believe that a white man won't stay with a native woman long term--this was especially true in earlier times among the soldiers who came and went from the forts.

Enroute, via ship, to Lake Superior, tragedy strikes. Skypilot, Moon Song, her son, and an officer's wife, Isabella, end up stuck at what I believe is meant to be "Pictured Rocks" although it is referred to as Painted Rocks in the book.  Pictured Rocks are fabulous and are near modern day Munising. I've had many a wonderful trip there and my father enjoyed having picnics up at the top, where there is a park.  But I can't imagine trying to get to the top from the beach below!

Moon Song has been coached in the old ways by her grandmother. These methods assist the foursome as they make their way to Marquette.  I loved how Serena included a priest inspired by our own precious Bishop Baraga!  The love story is very sweet and beautifully portrayed.

I have relatives of Chippewa and other native American descent and I felt Serena was thoughtful in her depiction and probably pretty accurate. And it never dawned on me, what she has happen at the end, that this could have happened to any of my relatives' grandparents or great-grandparents. Nice twist.

*Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy through NetGalley.*

Find Serena's books at AmazonCBD, and other bookstores.



Giveaway: We have a paperback copy of "Under A Blackberry Moon" 
to give away this week and one option of either ebook/paperback of the same (so TWO chances to win this week!)
To enter you must "LIKE" Serena's Amazon page (click here), tell us you did, and tell us if you have EVER visited Michigan's beautiful upper peninsula!

40 comments:

  1. No, I've never been to Michigan's upper peninsula (or Michigan for that matter) but I'm sure it's beautiful. So many places in the US that I'd love to visit! Oh, I liked Serena's Amazon page. Thanks for the giveaway. I've read only great reviews of this book.
    garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com

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    1. Oh, it is beautiful! Thanks so much for coming by the OWG blog! Blessings!

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  2. I didn't realize one could like an amazon page, but I just did it! I'm afraid I've never been to the UP - many friends out there/from there, but I typically stay on the other end of the lake where there's a bit less snow and more cold.

    rdalquis(at)css(dot)edu

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    1. LOL, Rachael--you're not afraid of snowbanks and bitterly cold temperatures are you, eh, ya know? Blessings!

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  3. A very interesting review of an intriguing book, CARRIE! I love all of Serena's books but this may well be my favorite thus far!

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    1. Really interesting to see her do a story set up there that is seen from very different eyes than what I am used to looking at "home" through! Fascinating!

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  4. Great review, Carrie - loved the insertion of your personal experiences, also! Thank you!

    I have been to Mackinac Island, but have wanted to tour the upper peninsula for years! Fell in love with Michigan's lake areas when I lived in an apartment on a bluff, overlooking Lake Michigan, in St. Joseph, Mi. (the extreme other end of the state, from the upper peninsula)! I have returned to Michigan - numerous times, since.

    I love the story line for "Under a Blackberry Moon", haven't read any of Serena's books, and would love to read this one! Thanks for the opportunity to win a copy!

    I "liked" Serena's Amazon page.

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com
    OWG

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    1. Oh, Bonnie--you have been MISSING OUT!!! We love Serena Miller here at OWG and she has an amazing testimony about her husband surviving cancer! Check out our interview! Blessings!

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  5. CARRIE thanks for another wonderful review, :)

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  6. Wonderful review, Carrie! I so loved this book!!

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  7. Thank you for sharing your wonderful thoughts, Carrie. I have not visited the state of Michigan yet, but I know it is beautiful. I look forward to visiting through the pages of this book! I have "liked" Serena's Amazon page and can't wait to love her books.

    texaggs2000 at gmail dot com

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  8. I've never been to Michigan's upper peninsula .I liked Serena's Amazon page.
    Great review.Please enter me in contest. Thank you for the opportunity to win.
    Under A Blackberry Moon sounds wonderful.

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  9. I liked her page! I have been to Michigan.....the Holland area.....beautiful. However, it was cold (we did not expect that in late April) and a different cold for a GA girl! lol
    I am anxious to read this book....and others she has written, too!
    Thanks for the giveaway and review.
    jacsmi75@ gmail dot com

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    1. Oh, and I have only been there once when REALLY little!!! The tulips were great. So no U.P. for u, huh? It is a great place but rather remote and unfortunately rather impoverished up there.

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  10. Thank you for your thoughts.

    I liked on Amazon.

    I've never been to the USA let alone Michigan's upper peninsula. One day perhaps.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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  11. Great review Carrie!
    Sounds like a beautiful place but I havent been there. Im a West Coast person.
    I liked her amazon page too
    God bless all of you
    Chris Granville

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  12. I loved your review. I have never been to Michigan. I did visit and like Serena's Amazon page. I have read many of her books and this one is on my to read list. Would love to win it!

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  13. I love reading your reviews CARRIE! They're always interesting and informative!! I haven't read all of Serena's books but I have read The Measure of Katie Calloway and this one of course! :) Both fantastic, but there was something else about this one.. Michigan's Upper Peninsula sounds just beautiful, but I'm guessing you already know I haven't visited there! lol

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  14. thanks for the chance to read this wonderful novel...I have not visited Michigan's upper peninsula. oh, I liked Serena's amazon page, too.

    karenk
    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

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  15. I brought up Serena's interview, and read it - Carrie! You were right - amazing! Loved it, and will be learning more about her, and her books! Thanks for the info!

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  16. I have been to Detroit....does that count??? And to Lake Michigan...This book looks wonderful and I so want to read it, very, very, very much! I liked the page and thanks so much for this give-away! I am crossing my fingers!!!

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  17. Hello Carrie. Hope all of you OWG girls are well and warm. No I have never been to Michigan, tho I would love to visit. My relatives came to Texas from the Carolinas. I also have Indian blood on both sides of my family. Not sure how far back. I have liked Serena's Amazon page and would love to win her book. PLEASE !!! draw my name. LOL God bless you all.
    MAXIE mac262(at)me(dot)com

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    1. Maxie, I'd love to hear about your Native American roots! You would love Michigan, Maxie!!! Hugs!

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  18. I live in SC now, but grew up in the lower peninsula of MI. On several occasions my family visited the UP. Beautiful, but I wouldn't want to spend a winter there...

    I liked Serena's amazon page.

    pattymh2000(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  19. My family used to travel all over the United States, but I don't recall ever going to Michigan. It sounds beautiful.
    I liked Serena's Amazon page. Thanks for having the giveaway.

    harnessrose(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  20. I've been on a tight deadline and finished my eighth book about fifteen minutes ago. Then I started reading these reviews and comments. All I can say is...what an encouragement to this bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived writer! Thanks so much for your wonderful review Carrie! I appreciate you so much! BTW--my son found this book at Walmart this week, so evidently they just recently started carrying it. Walmart is always good news to a writer:-)

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