Quote of the Day: The conquering country writes the history. from Julia Lee’s debut novel, Seven Stones. One of the characters is explaining why much of Scottish history is unknown to outsiders.
Seven Stones by Julia Lee is a story that links cultures, challenges beliefs, and takes you on a journey. The main character, Keilann Douglas, is entering her senior year in high school, leaving her home in Chicago, and moving to Scotland with her parents and younger sister. She is plagued by dreams of a burning man, wanders into a seven stone forest structure and meets a strange girl, has normal teenage angst regarding friendships, bullies, and boyfriends, all while trying to figure out what is happening. Is it all in her mind/dreams, or is she somehow connected to the past? Julia Lee uses her understanding of Native American culture, having grown up in rural Wisconsin and living Minnesota, combined with her interest in Shakespeare’s MacBeth and Scottish lore to weave this intriguing tale. Keilann’s mother is Native American and has strong beliefs in dreams and what they’re trying to teach/tell you. Keilann has some soul searching to do to understand what is happening and how she fits into these worlds.
I especially enjoyed the parts in this book that explained Native American beliefs, Scottish culture and lore, and how they were connected, especially through the main character Keilann. She is confused by what is happening, especially in her dreams, then in what seems like real time, but it isn’t. She is, of course, also dealing with normal teen problems of fitting into a new place, as a senior, and dealing with school bullies and other relationships. I finished reading this book on my flight over to the Hawaiian Islands. I decided to find a place to leave it. I didn’t see any “Little Libraries” or “Take a book, leave a book” shelf in Honolulu, so I ended up leaving it at the resort where we stayed on Kauai. I wrote my website inside the book cover, and maybe someday I’ll hear from someone who picks up this book. I believe that the physical book, as well as the story that Julia tells, is one that crosses the oceans and encompasses many cultures.
While we were on Kauai, we drove up into the canyon, and at one look-out, a native Hawaiian was standing on a bench telling anyone who would listen that the history books don’t necessarily tell the true story of the Island people. He seemed quite upset that treaties were broken, land taken away, and cultural practices squashed. Sounds much like what we hear happened to the Native Americans in my home state of Minnesota. Julia points out in her book, that the conquering country in Scotland also tried to control beliefs and practices of its native people.
You can find out more about the author Julia Lee and her writing journey on her website.
Go. Create. Inspire!
Journaling Prompt: Have you ever dug a little deeper into history to learn more about the people and their practices that might not be covered in your traditional history books and classes?