I’ve had quite a few of you ask about one of my all-time favorite books. In fact, it ties at number 1 with To Kill a Mockingbird (yes, literary snobs be prepared to fume). The book is called Oh, Kentucky! and it’s a historical romance novel. That’s right, I said it…one of my most beloved books is a romance novel. Don’t judge. It also happens to be out of print, which makes it a wee bit hard to purchase (although for the record it is worth every penny of the $25 you can buy it for from a 3rd party seller on Amazon).
However, I understand that I might not have earned some of your trust. I get it, trust takes time. So let me give you the “cliff notes” of Oh, Kentucky! Be forewarned….there will be spoilers! If you plan on buying this and don’t want to ruin the surprise, then read no further. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
It’s 1775, the summertime, and Kitty Gentry (our main character) is leaving North Carolina to travel with her family to Kentucky. The family consists of her sister, Priscilla, her mother, Amelia, and her father, Usaph. While many might not look forward to a long journey that consists of covered wagons, horses, possible dysentery (at least that’s what I always died of on Oregon Trail) and lack of privacy; Kitty is excited for a new adventure. That’s the kind of girl she is. At 17 the world seems in front of her. It also doesn’t hurt that the man leading them into the wilderness is Roman Gentry, her Pa’s cousin (shut up, back then they did things differently), a handsome, skilled hunter and trapper.
Of course, they pick up people along the way because if you’re heading out West, what’s one more load of wagons? As they head further into the wilderness the roads get tougher, a few people die (don’t worry, no main characters) and life gets harder. Yet, as Kitty learns more about Boonesborough, the fort that Daniel Boone founded, she still gets all tingly. Who needs teen rebellion when you can just go experience real-life adventure?
But, like every kid, she learns the hard way that there is a thing as too much excitement. When crossing the Cumberland Gap Roman insists that another young man help walk her horse across. Kitty, being the feminist she is, insist that SHE.CAN.DO.IT.HERSELF.THANK.YOU.VERY.MUCH. Of course a rattlesnake pops out and spooks the horse, sending Kitty flying down, clinging to branches or anything she can get. After a few heart-stopping paragraphs Roman The Brave gets her. Her heart flutters, her palms sweat, forget Bella and Edward, the tension is huge here. However, just as it seems that something might be said that would put these two together a major tragedy affects the group. The moment is lost.
Then before you can blink an eye, they are approaching log cabins at the foot of the Kentucke River. Full of greasy, boisterous men and a few women; the town of Boonesborough turns out to give the weary travelers places to stay. And who leads the group? Daniel Boone, of course! While Kitty’s family takes temporary relief in the fort, Usaph has his sights set on finding their own plot of land out here in Kentucky. It takes no time for Usaph to discover Otter Creek and have their own piece of paradise built in Kentucky. At least, it’s paradise if you consider a LUXURIOUS two room cabin paradise. Luckily the Gentry’s weren’t hard to please. Life settles down, and Kentucky becomes home. Along the way there’s a little bit of flirting on Kitty’s part as Roman plays his cards so close that you can never tell what he’s feeling.
Before long Kitty finds herself a favorite little spot on their piece of land. It’s a flat rock right at the creek where she can sunbathe. She loves how calm and quiet it is. This place gives her time to think back to the dance at the fort the night before. To daydream about Roman (who didn’t dance with her at all). However her daydream is rudely interrupted by an Indian grabbing her. Before she can scream, Kitty is thrown in a canoe, gagged and taken down the river. As she thinks of all the horror stories she has heard about people being tortured and killed by Indians, she realizes that no one knows where her secret hiding place is. She is hauled further and further away from home, on a leather leash, with no idea how to escape. By nightfall the Indians make camp and start playing a game…where she is clearly the prize.
And that is all that you get…..for now. Of course, please forgive my pitiful attempt at an abbreviated version. The real author, Betty Layman Receveur, truly weaves such a beautiful tale. Don’t hold it against her that I did such a silly synopsis.
Until next time,