Fran Lewis on Sunday, June 26, 2011 at 4:03pm.Voices From The Land
Author: Jan Marquart
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Ever hear a story told by five different people? Wonder why they all sound different? It is rare that any two people look a painting, read a book or even observe a crime and relate it in the same exact words and the same way. Voices From the Land is a unique book filled with eleven different stories told by many different voices relating the same incidents from many different perspectives.
Listen carefully: Can you feel the wind kicking up? Do you hear the voices coming through as they each tell you their individual stories and experiences in their own unique way and first hand so that you, the reader will experience the phenomenon’s, the unexpected, their triumphs and sorrows as they happen. Shh: The Blacksmith’s Wife would like to tell you his story first. “ I am so excited. I have a surprise for my husband. He is the Blacksmith in town. I just met the most remarkable woman who shared her experiences with me as a poet. She was going to send me a copy of her book so that I could give them to my child when she is born and I can learn to write them myself.” Can you hear her voice? Can you tell how proud she is? A town filled with people who have their own hopes, aspirations and dreams yet many will not be fulfilled. Life in the West was unpredictable as we hear from the two strangers that enter the town and are befriended by the Blacksmith and his wife.
Two strangers all-alone enter this fictitious town. One a black man the other his child. The mother slaughtered. Drawn to the Blacksmith the two men bond and they become fast friends. But, as fate will have it as the Blacksmith’s attention was purposely diverted his world changes. The Black Man proves his friendship as the Blacksmith’s world comes crashing down. Meet the Blacksmith: The sight that I saw when I entered my home will remain transfixed in my mind forever. My wife and child were taken from me and what happens next will test my moral strength and every fiber of my being. Would you forgive someone that took the two people you love the most? Decide after you hear my voice and listen to my story.”
There are so many who want you to hear their words and stories but I think some you will have stop and hear for yourself. Women were not supposed to become independent and able to take care of themselves. Our seamstress was enterprising, bright and persistent in her goals. Opening her own shop, learning to sew quilts and sharing her craft with many of the women in this town that felt she should be home cooking and taking care of her family. What do you think? Women’s rights! Great for a pioneer woman!
When the author related how she came to write her stories she stated in her Preface that she sat down to write and something kept her writing until she completed the eleven stories. It was like a spirit calling out to her and every time she put her pen and paper down something drew her back. I have to be honest I received 8 books to review yesterday. One book that I knew had to be completed right away and six others including this one. For whatever reason, I chose to read this one first. Maybe, something was drawing me to read these stories filled with hope, dreams, sorrow, fate that played many a bad hand and a town whose people just wanted to survive and have the best for their families.
The story that touched my heart and really hit home the most is the How the Preacher Came to Town. As the young son tells the story about his father, the preacher, his work, his reasons for leaving his family for long periods of time, his grandmother explains to him the true meaning of believing in the Lord. At first he is not really sure nor does he understand but as time goes on, his grandfather passes on and many other hardships occur, he learns how to listen to the wind feel the sound of the heat and understand and believe in the Lord. Meeting a special Indian named Wild Eagle, who befriends him, teaches and explains to him about the Great Spirit, the Lord and that he is always around us this young man starts to believe. But, not until he losses more than most people should endure or can handle in a lifetime does he understand that his calling is to follow in his father’s path. I just lost my mom, sister, mother in law and aunt and the only thing that has kept me going are my prayers, my understanding that I still have much work to do and my belief in God and his strength to show me the way and not walk around in tears. This story was very powerful and I think it will help others who have lost loved ones move ahead in a positive way.
A young girls’ voice is heard loud and clear as she sits on top of a hill watching a white stallion. As she tries to approach the horse he will not allow her to touch him. But, when she sings to him he allows her to give him a carrot and realizes she means him no harm. Some day she will own the horse and ride him and maybe even become the sheriff. As the stories continue we revisit the sadness that befalls many when although there is no more slavery some refuse to understand that the black men and women are free and hangings are still the norm until one young, brave and outspoken young girl steps in and what happens will endear you to her and make you realize she just might teach some grownups some hard and fast lessons.
Hear the words of the Indian as he relates his feelings about the tragedies that befell his family. Listen to the sound of the wind and hear the voices telling you to be kind and understanding and rid yourself of hate. Remember the Great Spirit and the forces that will protect and guide you. The one constant in these stories is the Black Smith and the other the Preacher. Both the Blacksmith and the Preacher help many of the characters understand the world, understand others and draw those that are skeptical to them hoping that they will change understand and accept people’s differences.
God sends people to us when we least expect it as our Blacksmith finally meets another woman and has to decide whether he will take the next step. This is one of life’s challenges that he needs to decide if he is ready for and turning to the Preacher just might lighten his burden and make him feel free.
As the town grows and more people come to live there differences alight, even the gossip begins to get more respect as she passes on information she feels will benefit others and the complexion of the town changes with those that come to live there. How this all turns out for the Blacksmith, the Preacher and the rest of the voices you hear, read this inspirational, thought provoking and motivational book, hear the voices of the blacksmith, the gossip, the preacher, the girl and many others and most of all Listen to the land and hear the voices of the Wind. In the words of the Indian: Learn to live in Peace and Harmony. Wouldn’t that be wonderful in our world today.
Author Jan Marquart penned these stories in two days hoping to get some strong and powerful messages to the reader. Think beyond your realm of thought and open your mind when reading these stories. Listen: Can you hear the voices coming from the Land? I Can!
Fran Lewis: reviewer
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