On a humid day in June 1806, on the edge of Ohio's Great Black Swamp, 17-year-old Susanna Quiner watches from behind a maple tree as a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead and all the other settlers out in their fields, Susanna makes the rash decision to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman's quest to find her sisters and the parallel story of her sisters' new lives. One sister is left for dead, and two others are traded to a band of Wyandots for the price of a horse. Susanna spends the next five months searching for them, unaware that the man who loves her, Seth Spendlove, is also in pursuit. Part Potawatomi himself, Seth unwittingly sets off on his own quest to reclaim his heritage. He allies himself with a Potawatomi named Koman, and together they canoe through the Great Black Swamp and into enemy territory looking for Susanna. Surviving snake bite, near starvation, and captivity, Susanna transforms herself from the perennial younger sister to a capable young woman determined to find her family. Thieving Forest is a riveting novel that demonstrates the true wildness of the wilderness and the rugged perseverance of those who find themselves there.
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I wanted this book the first time I learned of it's existence. Although I very much enjoyed this story, I didn't enjoy the narrative. I thought if I adjusted the speed, perhaps it would help. (I listened at 1.5x.) While this did help to speed things along, it certainly didn't fix the lack of emotion of narrator Soneela Nankani. A beautiful voice, Nankani failed to express a wide range of character emotions. An uneventful voice conveyed the same tone in shock, anger, surprise as one would use to say "hello, there." In other words, if I were narrarating an attack I would use a voice filled with fear, anger, horror. Nankani? Not so much. Also, the voices she used to identity male characters were just plain creepy. I'm more than positive that had I read the book instead of listening to an audio version, I would rate this a five star read. However, let me state a positive. I would've never pronounced the Indian tribal names correctly and Nankani's pronunciation is lyrical. Let's move on, shall we. The storyline is wonderful. Loved every moment! Adventure, misadventure, mystery, romance (a tiny bit), Indians. Lots of good stuff happening between the pages of this book. I hate to even critique the audio because I liked it so much. My opinion, this could've been enjoyed much more if read. Susanna Quiner, 18, is superstitious and considers herself lucky. Must be the turkey hen bone she keeps in her pocket. She happens to be near the edge of Thieving Forest when her families home is attacked by Indians. Unfortunately, her sisters, Beatrice, Penelope, Aurelia, and Naomi, are kidnapped by Potawatomi Indians. Susanna watches in horror as the Potawatomi tie and bound her sisters together. Then, the tribe and their prisoners disappear into Thieving Forest. Susanna vows to stop at nothing to free her sisters. She must find help and organize a search party before the Potawatomi vanish into the deep and ancient forest. But most men of Severne are farmers, out in their fields working. Who will help the Quiner sisters? Mr. and Mrs. Quiner have recently died, leaving the girls orphaned. The girls only had rach other to rely on. Susanna must find Cade Spendlove. Cade is Aurelia's betrothed and he will surely spring in to action. Perhaps his brother Seth will also he!p. Unlike their mean, drunken father, the Spendlove brothers can be trusted. Upon learning of the kidnapping, the brothers can't understand why natives would take the Quiner sisters. They've traded with them and have never had problems with natives. It doesn't make sense. Most importantly, when Mr Quiner was alive, the Potawatomi came into the Quiner's store. Sirius Quiner believed the natives were peaceful and fair. Why, then, would the Potawatomi kidnap the frightened girls? "Usually the Potawatomi take for revenge," Mary had said, looking at Old Adam. "Or to replace someone in their tribe who has died. But no battles since a long time." - Mary, THIEVING FOREST. Susanna will set off on a mission, a journey wrought with danger, through the ancient forest. On the other side of the forest, Susanna will have to summon all of her courage and strength if she is to survive the dark, unholy Great Black Swamp and the rumored evil that lurks in both. "In forest you must lose fear," Old Adam says over his shoulder. "See with all your senses. Only way to be safe." - Old Adam, THIEVING FOREST. Overall, super impressed with the writing and storyline. It's fair to say I'll be reading more of Martha Conway. Matter of fact, I'd be thrilled to once again meet up with the good folks who live in or around the edge of Thieving Forest.
I was lost off and on but could follow the plot of white girls taken by the Pottawattamee. It was interesting sometimes regarding American Indian tribe knowledge but mostly sad with an ok end that just cut off.