In the mid-1800s, southern Alberta was dominated by the tribes of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Snake Woman, from the Blackfoot Blood tribe, was born into a life of respect and cooperation with the rhythm of the natural world, a rhythm that seems to be irreparably disrupted by the advance of European traders and settlers. Eleanor, newly transplanted to this promised land with her homesteading parents, was raised on the stories of her uncle, who told of a sky that goes forever and a wind that can blow your memories away. Their ages, cultures, and social rules would divide Snake Woman and Eleanor, but the two share a connection to the sweeping prairie landscape, the “Best West,” that they both love and want to protect. A chance encounter will unite their paths. In a time of disruption and loss, their resilience and determination offer hope that their two peoples, as well as the natural world around them, can survive great change.
The Midwest Book Review, "Library Bookwatch"
There are things we hold dear more than out lives. Napi's Dance is a historical novel in which a white and a Native American woman come together in the ongoing thing out to settle and exploit the prairies they hold dear. Eleanor and Snake Woman, a Blackfoot Blood tribeswoman both hold the prairie, and despite their origins, they join to resist the oncoming changes that would irrevocably take from them. Napi's Dance is a unique historical novel with plenty of twists and turns, set amid the West's natural beauty.
I particularly appreciated the emphasis on female roles and lives within these societies. A consideration of the Canadian prairie and its peoples at two different points in its history, this intersecting story of two young women from different worlds in the same geographical space is a lovely read. It would dovetail nicely with high school and university history or English courses as a vivid glimpse into two ways of life that are now gone.
Alanda Greene has thrown her rope around time in this novel, securing the days and nights of her characters with equal amounts of delicacy and determination; the storytelling is organic and the characters are credible.
Napi's Dance is a unique historical novel with plenty of twists and turns, set amid the West's natural beauty.
Alanda Greene’s Napi’s Dance has a spirit all its own. Her prose is controlled and measured; it is like a slow intake of breath, hopeful and restorative.