So I think I read a Western and I really enjoyed it. News of the World has the requisite journeys over dangerous territory, tense shoot-outs, and encounters with hostile local tribes. But this story isn't really about who is the best shot; it's truly about the unexpected relationship between Captain Kidd and Johanna. He's an old man who has already raised a family and lived through the horrors of the Civil War. She's a child who has forgotten English, won't wear shoes, and certainly doesn't like or trust this strange man in a wagon.
But Kidd is one of those wonderful characters who is determined to do the right thing, even when it's difficult. He is also a man who believes in the importance of story and the written word. He shares the news with people to make a living but, more than that, he tells stories because he knows that they can take you out of your circumstances and show just how big and wonderful the world can be.
Paulette Jiles does an excellent job of bringing the South after the Civil War to life and showing the reader how complicated life could be. But she does this alongside beautiful descriptions and characters that grow on you with each page. This is one of those rare and wonderful books where you wish that the author had written several more to tell you the entire backstory of the characters and to give you entire novels centered on minor characters.
News of the World
By Paulette Jiles
William Morrow Paperbacks June 2017
Received for review from the publisher and TLC Book Tours
I happen to have an extra copy of News of the World to send to your bookshelf. If you would like to win this book, leave a comment telling me the best Western or historical fiction novel you've read lately. I will pick a winner in one week.