Charlie's Choice (Atwell Kin #0)
by Zina Abbott
Charlie, it would be easier to stop the flow of the great Missouri and Kansas Rivers than to prevent the Americans from coming to Kansas.
It is 1856, and the United States opened Kansas Territory to American settlement two years before. Land belonging to the once-powerful Kansa tribe, known to the whites as Kaw, was sold by treaty to the Americans a generation earlier.
Charlie’s Kansa mother died of smallpox while Charlie was young. He lives with his American father who owns a trading post in Bonner Springs near the junction of the Kansas and Missouri Rivers. As a child of two nations, Charlie learns through harsh experience he is not always accepted, including by the father of the pretty redhead who has caught his eye. The influx of white settlers who look down on those with native ancestry increase his exposure to rejection.
Frustrated, Charlie visits his Kansa uncle to learn the tribal ways, travel the Kaw Road to their buffalo hunting grounds, and become a warrior with a warrior’s name. Once he knows both worlds, he will decide which will best serve him in the future.
Meadowlark’s traditional father wishes her to marry Broken Wing, a highly-respected full blood Kansa warrior close to his own age. Although marriage to more than one wife is rare among the Kansa, it is not unheard of. Meadowlark rejects being the junior wife under a dying oldest wife and a shrew of a second wife. Once she learns her childhood friend who left the tribe years earlier, has returned to the Kansa, she seeks him out. Even if he does consider her for a wife, can she persuade her father to allow him enough time to prove himself as a warrior? Will her father accept him for her husband in spite of his mixed ancestry?
Will Charlie decide on a future with the white Americans, or fight the coming of the Americans by clinging to the past with the Kansa? Will he try to straddle both worlds? What will Charlie choose?
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