Shelterwood by Lisa Wingate

I've been a fan of Lisa Wingate since I stumbled across "Before We Were Yours." It was actually my top pick for 2017 and on my top 10 all time reads. Since then, I also loved "The Book of Lost Friends" so I knew I would have to read "Shelterwood" as soon as I saw it.

My Thoughts:

The dual timeline novel features 1909 Olive, a young girl abused by her stepfather and concerned for her Choctaw foster sisters, who takes the youngest and runs away into the Winding Stair Mountains to protect them. "Present" day is 1999, where widowed Park Ranger Valerie has moved to Oklahoma with her young son to take a position at Winding Stair. When the bodies of three young children are found in the mountains and a couple of local teens disappear, Valerie is transported into the middle of decades old dilemmas involving the Native American lands, the tribes who lived on them first, the natural resources at the park, and those hungry for more power and money.

This book was definitely another winner from Lisa Wingate! The story is compelling along with illuminating a period of history I didn't know much about at all. The 1909 years highlight the issues in Oklahoma for the Native Americans after the land seizures, along with the problems for orphans of all races. The contemporary years provide insight into the land problems still today, along with the potential environmental impacts. Both sides really focus on the human aspect for the people in these areas and the tragedies they went through in the past that still are not properly resolved.

About Shelterwood:

Oklahoma, 1909. Eleven-year-old Olive Augusta Radley knows that her stepfather doesn’t have good intentions toward the two Choctaw girls boarded in their home as wards. When the older girl disappears, Ollie flees to the woods, taking six-year-old Nessa with her. Together they begin a perilous journey to the remote Winding Stair Mountains, the notorious territory of outlaws, treasure hunters, and desperate men. Along the way, Ollie and Nessa form an unlikely band with others like themselves, struggling to stay one step ahead of those who seek to exploit them . . . or worse.

Oklahoma, 1990. Law enforcement ranger Valerie Boren-Odell arrives at newly minted Horsethief Trail National Park seeking a quiet place to balance a career and single parenthood. But no sooner has Valerie reported for duty than she’s faced with local controversy over the park’s opening, a teenage hiker gone missing from one of the trails, and the long-hidden burial site of three children unearthed in a cave. Val’s quest for the truth wins an ally among the neighboring Choctaw Tribal Police but soon collides with old secrets and the tragic and deadly history of the land itself.

In this emotional and enveloping novel, Lisa Wingate traces the story of children abandoned by the law and the battle to see justice done. Amid times of deep conflict over who owns the land and its riches, Ollie and Val traverse the rugged and beautiful terrain, each leaving behind one life in search of another.

Preorder Shelterwood on Amazon.