My Review of In the Hanging of the Shadow Tree by Micheal Mc Lellan

Publication Date: April 26th, 2017
Genre: Historical Fiction
In 1865 a shadow hovers over the nation: the shadow lingers still…
Born into slavery, Henry’s young life is spent working in tobacco drying sheds on Missouri
plantations. Freed at the onset of the Civil War, he’s alone, starving, and on the run from
Confederate militiamen.
Five years later, Clara Hanfield, the daughter of a powerful New York shipping magnate, escapes her
tyrannical father and travels west in pursuit of John Elliot, the man she loves. John, a U.S. Army
lieutenant, was sent to the Dakota Territory where he discovers a government conspiracy to incite
an all-out war with the Indians; a war meant to finally eliminate them as an obstacle to the
westward expansion.
Henry finds himself caught in the middle.
Aided by Clara, John, and his native ally, Standing Elk, Henry must battle hatred, greed, and the
ghosts of his past during this turbulent and troubling time in American history

Goodreads:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/32886177-in-the-shadow-of-the-hanging-
tree?from_search=true

My Review:

For someone who hasn’t read about the aftermath of the Civil War, this was quite the eye-exposure. I wasn’t even aware of the relations that the US Government had with the Native Americans. In fact most Civil War in popular depictions of media and television don’t present the Native American Point of View. I like how it doesn’t portray that one side is good or that one side is bad. War is war. It will take anyone relentless of your colour, creed, your religion and your ethnicity.

In this novel, we get to see a different viewpoint of Native Amercians and their relationship with the African Americans. What I love about this novel is that Micheal doesn’t shy from showing that the explusion of Native Americans was meant for economic purposes. Both sides had a negative view point of each other. At this point, there was really no chance of peace between the American Government or the Native Americans for that regard. Does this mean it happened everywhere in the United States? No, because there would have been some Native American tribes that were unaffected, but that would have been a small minority.

I liked Henry’s character, his resolve, his cunning and his wisdom. Read this book for his wisdom, but it is a stark reminder that war can take away the ones you love the most. I loved Clara, and deeply felt for the emotional development she went through. I did not like John Elliot’s character as I felt he was too naive, and that he needed more character developments. I felt sometimes the POVs were difficult to read, and since this was an uncorrected ARC given in exchange for a review, I can forgive this, but sometimes I got confused with some viewpoints. I also felt there were a little too many characters and thus we were moving and shifting, but I fully understand that when you’re covering a subject as big the American Civil War, it affected a huge amount of people. The descriptions of war, blood and gore are present. Micheal doesn’t give you a side to pick, he doesn’t tell you hey look the Native Americans are good, or the Americans are bad, he tells you that there was a deeper picture that we, in the 21st century can’t judge by using our morals of good and bad. That was a different time, and we should be glad that such a conflict should never need to occur again. I liked this novel, but I feel it needed a couple more pages. A bit more was needed. Nevertheless, its epic in scale, visually brilliant, and my rating is a solid 4/5

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