Monday, March 14, 2011

The Water Seeker review

The Water Seeker

Amos Kincaid is the son of a dowser – a person gifted in knowing how to “find” water deep in the ground. As a young person, Amos doesn’t reveal his gift to others; he’s not sure he wants the burden. But through his experiences growing up and crossing the Oregon Trail, Amos learns about life’s harsh realities, especially the pain in losing loved ones. As he cares for those around him, Amos comes to accept his dowsing fate. This epic novel is a fascinating period piece about the westward expansion and one man’s destiny as he searches for love and family. (goodreads summary)

When I first started reading this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to finish it or abandon it.  It had a slow start feel  but eventually moved along in the middle enough for me to keep reading until the end.  As I read more into it,  I realized Amos is a dynamic character and who he was destined to become.  The story follows Amos from his birth to manhood between the time period of 1833-1859.  His father Jake is a trapper and entrusted Amos's care to his brother and wife after Amos's mother dies, promising to return every year to see him.  When Amos is six years old, Jake returns that year with a Shoshone Indian wife and decides it is time for Amos to join him and Blue Owl on his journeys.  As the years go by, the story turns when Jake and Amos, now fourteen,  join a wagon train leading them on The Oregon Trail to settle on new land with 40 other families.  The authors depiction of the hardship and exhaustion of pioneer life seemed very real as I read through their personal struggles and how the families learned they had to move onward.  There were many strong characters throughout this adventurous book, especially the several women portrayed.  Amos's mother also follows a few characters in the form of a spirit and that also plays an important part in his story to the end. Some topics that the author addressed were death (such as from childbirth, small pox and crossing the Oregon Trail), racism, family relationships, domestic abuse, a first love, loss and poverty and to grow and become a man. It is a nicely written story, full of details, memorable characters,  joy and sorrow, tragedy and an ending for Amos where he finds acceptance.  The 1800's were tough times and these were definitely tough people who had to cross unknown territory to start up new lives and cities. The author spared no details of the harsh times. I have seen that this book is recommended for ages 10 and up. Because it is a little slow in the beginning, it may not capture the younger readers interest.  Also, some of the content is mature and they may not understand the story behind it. I think it is a "just right book" for ages 12 and up.  I ended up liking this book and glad that I stuck with it until the end.~

Title: The Water Seeker
Author: Kimberly Willis Holt
Genere: Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: 2010, Henry Holt and Company
Hardcover, 309 pgs.