I have been told that I need to read this book for almost 20 years. All that I can say is wow. I have lived in Florida for 36 years and I never thought about what Florida was like before it was settled. The detailed descriptions of native Florida captivated me as Smith vividly described the pristine, intact world that once existed on Florida's soil. The sacrifices that were made for our lush lifestyles and preferences are cataloged in this fabulous historical account and I now realize what great distress we have brought onto what used to be such a beautiful and magnificent land.
I fell in love with the heart and soul of Tobias MacIvey. His inclusion and love for all skin tones delighted my heart as did his drive and desire to create a new life in the face of such ginormous odds. I feel like I know this family intimately, like I want to take up their fights and embrace their allegiances. I have stayed up late too many nights reading this novel, unable to set it aside.
Due to the nature of this time in history, there is some bad language and there are scenes that are very graphic in their description of violence and death. The descriptions gripped my heart and helped me understand the intense struggles faced in this desolate land before inhabitants moved in.
Teachers of Florida History: There is a Student Edition!!! Read it with your students!! I am told it is an amazing addition to the classroom.
I strongly recommend reading this book if you have roots in Florida. It will help you understand where we come from and what sacrifices were made to get where we are, both good and bad. It will open your eyes to racism and the awful fruit of hate that often ruled this land. But more than anything, this book will empower you to take a look at your own life and see what you are standing for, fighting for, and sacrificing your life for.
I did not want the story to end!