Read ePUB Follow the RiverAuthor James Alexander Thom –

3 1 2 stars, reallyThe most amazing thing about this story is that it really happened In 1755, Mary Ingles was captured by the Shawnee and taken to Ohio or thereabouts After a couple of months, she escaped along with an old Dutch woman With winter coming on and virtually no food clothing shoes, they made their way over very difficult terrain back to Virginia, where Mary was reunited with her husband They traveled about 1,000 miles.The only thing I couldn t figure out was how she managed this trip without dying of hypothermia.This author is a meticulous researcher His historical fiction is impressive In preparation for writing the book, he actually spent several weeks following the terrain Mary Ingles traveled, so the details of the ordeal felt very real.The majority of this book was worthy of four stars However, there was one long chunk of the book that really got old after awhile I know he was showing how long and arduous and debilitating the journey was, but reading about the dailiness got on my nerves sometimes Same reason I don t care for books about long sea voyages. This is one of the best books I ve ever read I read it once when I was a young teen, and again last year as an adult The book stayed with me all these years It s a true story about a young woman during the French and Indian War who witnesses much of her family and village massacred and then is taken by Indians Her husband, who is working in the fields, witnesses everything but is unable to stop it With her two young sons, who were spared, and a baby due any day, she travels hundreds of miles on horseback and foot to the Indian camp, then has to make a heart wrenching decision stay and marry an Indian, even as her two sons are taken away to another Indian camp, or leave her baby in the care of another Indian woman and travel on foot with nothing but a tomahawk and the clothes on her back back to her home and husband Her journey is amazing, especially knowing it actually happened. Mary Ingles Was Twenty Three, Married, And Pregnant, When Shawnee Indians Invaded Her Peaceful Virginia Settlement, Killed The Men And Women, Then Took Her Captive For Months, She Lived With Them, Unbroken, Until She Escaped, And Followed A Thousand Mile Trail To Freedom An Extraordinary Story Of A Pioneer Woman Who Risked Her Life To Return To Her People Sunday, July 8, 1755, Draper s Meadow, Virginia The Shawnee Indians launch a surprise attack on the settlement, killing most, but taking some prisoners, including a very pregnant Mary Draper Ingles and her two young sons The captives are taken on a long journey to Shawnee Town, where they are somewhat assimilated into the community, Mary is sold as a slave and her sons are adopted by one of the Indian chiefs Mary rebels at being another man s slave and yearns to escape and return home to her husband, and she and Dutch woman Ghetel finally get their chance to leave but there s a terrible cost involved winter is coming on and it is a long long way back to Draper s MeadowOn the eleventh day of their freedom they had to walk five miles upstream and then five miles downstream to get around another creek that had barred their progress up the bank of the O y o One thousand miles, and only the clothes on their backs already in rags and what food they are able to gather along the way Mary had memorized the landscape on the journey to Shawnee Town and she s sure she can find her way back by following the river but there s still the matter of food which becomes scarcer and scarcer as winter begins, and it s a bit gruesome what some folks will do for food,There were not even any worms now There was no soil at the river s edge, only rock And up the slopes the ground had hardened with cold if there were earthworms in it, they had burrowed deep Mary Ingels and her story is a true one and you can read about her on the internet if you care to spoil yourself I enjoyed this book, and found Mary s story fascinating, but take fair warning this is not the book for everyone Mary faces some very difficult decisions before setting out, decisions that might not sit well with some readers The conditions on the return trip and what Mary and Ghetel are forced to endure and things they are forced to eat are not pretty, and the author doesn t pull any punches sugar coating it 4 5 stars.FTC, Kindle edition obtained via library loan. It s gruesome at times, but such a powerful, realistic retelling of an incredible, true story It really moved me and I m sure I will read it again Mary Ingles is one of my heroes now I chose to read Follow the River by James Alexander Thom not so much to be entertained and inspired by the story of Mary Ingles s escape in 1755 from Indian captivity and her torturous return from the Ohio River to her family s frontier settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains I had read about her ordeal, it being a true story, years ago I wanted to see how Thom dealt with what I anticipated would be two major difficulties description of her surroundings and portrayal of her thoughts and emotions Being that Mary was isolated so much and that she was forced to trek through wild, diverse terrain, I recognized that surmounting these difficulties would be a substantial achievement Thom explains at the end of the book that he traveled Mary Ingles s route home as part of his research Not surprisingly, his description of her surroundings is genuine, readily believable Included in much of his description is sharp sensory imagery, derived, I am certain, from close personal observation Thunder grumbled, lightning flickered on the horizon, and as the clouds climbed, a blast of damp air shivered the surface of the river and turned the leaves of the forest white side up Soon the thunderheads dominated the whole sky above the river they came gliding across, their undersides lowering and dragging gray veils of rain under them Birds and insects fell silent Equally impressive is Thom s ability to describe Mary s physical suffering, so necessary to evoke reader identification and empathy In this passage near the end of the novel Mary is scaling a steep incline between two immense, vertical pillars of rock She hung there for a moment, saw a leafless dogwood sapling two feet above her head She got her numb left hand up to it and around it, forced the fingers to close, and pulled herself, panting and squinting, a little further up, her naked abdomen and thighs scraping over snow and rock and frozen soil, her cold petrified toes trying awkwardly to gain traction Thom s ability to narrate Mary s thoughts and emotions is equally vital to the success of the novel One aspect of her thought processes is her wavering allegiance to God How could a benevolent, omnipresent Lord countenance the horrors she had witnessed and the miseries she daily endured I appreciated especially these thoughts, which follow her successful ascent of the steep incline partially described above She lay with her face against the frozen dirt and had her say with God.Lord, I ll thank ee never to give me another day like this if I grow to be eighty.No one deserves a day like this.This is the most terrible day I ve had in a hell of terrible days and I m no grateful for it.Now give me the strength to make my way across and down this devil s scarp Do that and then maybe I can make peace with ee The detail of Mary s ordeal makes the novel fascinating Adding considerably to the tension of Mary s situation is the presence of her companion, an unstable, middle aged Dutch woman who becomes homicidal Each chapter presents a specific conflict that is a component of Mary s overall battle to survive and reach her destination The story never loses momentum.At appropriate places Thom s narration touches the reader s emotions I was especially moved by Mary s leaving taking of her infant child, born during Mary s early captivity Her hot tears were dropping on the baby s forehead and would awaken it little frowns were disturbing its face and its little beak of an upper lip sucked in the soft red lower lip Mary couldn t stop herself She kissed the little mouth and then, with anguish that would surely kill her, she rose to her feet and stumbled, tearblinded, to the edge of the camp, her lungs quaking for release, her throat clamped to hold down the awful wail of despair that was trying to erupt Follow the River deserves high praise. I happened upon this book through the band in which I play One of the songs we perform written by one of my bandmates was inspired by this book, which tells of the story of Mary Ingles no relation to Laura Ingalls Wilder , who was kidnapped, along with her children, in a Shawnee indian raid on her village in Virginia in the late 1700 s She was taken to an area of Kentucky near Cincinatti, and, along with a Dutch woman named Gretel, escaped the Indian encampment leaving her son and newly born daughter and followed the river, along the Ohio and myriad other rivers, through the Allegheny mountains, back to her home in Virginia That feat is amazing in itself, but Ingles and Gretel made the 1000 mile trek on foot with only a tomahawk and the clothes on their backs Thom s book begins quietly enough, but once the raid begins, the tale is epic and near overwhelming in scope His description of settler and Indian culture, and especially the landscape along Mary and Gretel s trek is detailed and evocative I had the good fortune of meeting James Thom last October in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, as well as his wife, Dark Rain Thom James Thom told me that his wife was instrumental in getting a fair telling of the tale, as from the Ingles side of the tale, the indians were heathen savages, but with the indian side of the tale told, these raids and kidnappings were part of a retaliation toward the white settlers for similar attacks on their people The Author s notes at the end of the book are equally as moving in Thom s dedication to telling the story so well Thom hiked many of the places that Mary Ingles travelled in his research for the book, as well as took accounts from Ingles descendants to flesh out the story.Mary Ingels story of extraordinary strength is gripping, moving and a highly recommended read. I absolutely loved the first 40% or so It was full of action, suspense, drama and had me glued to the book But then it plateaued hard Like really hard And stayed that way until the end It was such an abrupt change I had a difficult time keeping my full attention on the story So it started as a strong 5 star book then slowly dropped to a 4 and when the journey home made the book feel like it was 1,000 pages long I finally ended with 3 strong stars. This book needed a lot of editing It was repetitious and monotonous Her voice did not seem very genuine It s kind of hard to explain, but sometimes it just didn t seem like a woman s point of view For example, she rarely never talked about the emotional relationship with her husband Instead, even when she was starving and fighting exposure and exhaustion in the extreme, every time she thought of her husband, it was sexual The way she immediately started fantasizing about Chief Wildcat was very Harlequinesque Also, in some parts the way she thought about her children didn t seem natural forced or too theatrical On the other hand, I really identified with her experience of childbirth Her reasoning for escaping was very believable and the story of her survival is compelling, but to read every single detail of her ordeal was not enjoyable This book ended up being of a page skipper I wanted to know how it ended, but didn t want to read to it rather than a page turner. I found this book incredibly interesting The amount of research author Jim Thom put into this novel almost reveals an obsession he must have had with the harrowing experience of Mary Draper Ingles I was educated at a very young age by my archaeologist father about the early settlements of this region, as well as the life of period Indian tribes Being a true Kentucky blue blood, I was also educated on the clash between the two, the eternal struggle, and God willing, those few who were able to live peacefully side by side Though this novel falls short from expressing the hardships and horrors the settlers and so the soldiers from all campaigning countries placed on the Indians, you have to keep in mind that it is written from the settlers perspective If you take it a step further and do the research on who these early settlers of this yet wild, untamed, and dangerous part of the country were, you ll develop a respect for their plight and for the bravery in which they chose to set out and have a legitimate life of their own.The life of Mary Draper Ingles falls under much scrutiny for some of the decisions she was forced to make Believing her husband still to be alive and having had her two young boys taken from her while in captivity, Mary Ingles came to the momentous decision to leave her own baby girl with the savages , in an attempt to escape and make the long, long journey home Such abandonment isn t viewed lightly, especially in today s society But I believe, especially on closer review of the facts and dire situation she and her child were facing, that Mary Ingles made a wise decision Obviously, had she taken the baby with her, it would not have survived Mary barely survived the arduous task and she realized such would be the case Had she simply stayed and accepted the life that had been forced upon her, she and the baby would have likely lived a life being treated as property Mary would have had to live among the people that had slaughtered her own mother, destroyed her settlement, and crushed out all semblance of the life she and her husband had created She would have had to live with the people that had taken away her two sons and she would have had to become the wife of the dispicable French trader who had obviously purchased her Had she brought up her daughter in this environment, she likely would have been viewed as property, too, as she was the daughter of the white woman and in the white woman s care, being taught the white woman s customs Having left her with a squaw who had all but adopted her already, Mary Ingles believed the child had a chance to be reared as one of their own, and though she would lead a life Mary did not agree with, she would be spared the hardships that Mary had herself endured And as history proved, Mary Ingles was most likely correct At this point it s almost ridiculous to note that there is no record of Mary Ingles having been pregnant at the time of her abduction and that many historians dispute that there ever was any such child in the first place What this woman did, the respect she inspired from the Indians who captured her, the decisions she made to steel herself for the journey she planned to make, the journey she did indeed make this is a novel that truly inspired me Even if you dislike the woman and disagree with the decisions she made, you simply cannot deny the magnitude of what she accomplished As a woman, I personally admire her.