I am so pleased and honored to be able to blog with you regarding my second Native American historical romance due out today, NAVAJO NIGHT. And, it seems congratulations are in order, too, for your second birthday P&P. Hooray!
While I was researching the Dinéh, The People, I discovered a not-so-well known fact concerning one of the darkest periods in their history—something they called, “The Long Walk,” hence the title, NAVAJO NIGHT. It was very similar to the tragic “Trail of Tears” made by the Cherokee when President Jackson forced them to leave the Carolinas and Georgia and marched them to the then Oklahoma/Indian Territory. When I read about it, I knew I wanted to include that in my story as well as the taboo love between a Navajo holy man and a Virginia preacher’s daughter.
In 1860, because of complaints about Navajo raids on white mining camps and ranches in New Mexico, Colonel Christopher “Kit” Carson (of Wild West fame) was commissioned by General James Henry Carleton to round up 7,000 Navajos and move them to a barren plain called the Bosque Redondo on the Pecos River in the southern part of the state. It was Carleton’s shortsighted belief that if the Navajo were instructed in the benefits of becoming more like the white man, they could be civilized, Christianized, and eventually fit into the white society.
Kit Carson, having made friends with the Navajos in earlier days, feared it would not be an easy task. Nor was it. He finally resorted to a “scorched earth” policy whereby the army burned their villages, destroyed their farm plots and peach orchards, killed their livestock or took them, and literally drove The People like cattle south from the four corners area.
It was grueling march of over 400 miles. Many Navajo died from disease, lack of proper food and clothing, horrible weather conditions, as well as mistreatment by the army itself.
Once on the reserve, the ones who survived felt those who had not had the better end of it.
Into this struggle a man and a woman from two different worlds try to find a bridge between two life-ways to prove that love knows no color, creed, or race, but happens in the heart; and if allowed to grow, can conquer differences in culture, hatred, and personal loss. The question then became, could the Navajo holy man with a crippled heart heal the white woman with a crippled foot?
Notah Begay, Spirit Talker, wonders why the young woman and her father have ventured so deep into his people’s territory. They look harmless, but he needs to be sure, for trouble is coming to Dinétah, Navajoland, in the form of the United States Army in a desperate move to put all the Navajo on a reservation in southern New Mexico.
JoAnna Lund and her father are risking everything to settle safely out west and leave their tragic past behind. As a lone rider blocks their trail, they are prepared for trouble.
But from the moment JoAnna locks eyes with the tall, proud Navajo brave, she feels an irresistible attraction. Later, she is captivated by Notah’s devotion to his twins and his tribe. She feels though, that someone as perfect as he, will never look at someone as imperfect as she.
Notah is forever haunted by his failure to cure his young wife during a healing sing for her. He has sworn never to love that deeply again. With all his Holy Man training, he fights his growing desire for the gentle, spirited JoAnna. At least, until she is threatened, and then nothing—and no man—will prevent him from claiming the woman who has made him hers forever.
Carol Ann Didier’s APACHE WARRIOR (April 2008) was her debut novel for Kensington’s Zebra line. NAVAJO NIGHT, due out September 1, 2009, promises to be another romance filled with carefully researched historical facts and the culture and beliefs of the Navajo Indians.
Carol has been published in CHARISMA and LITERARY LIFT-OFF magazines, and also writes inspirational vignettes, verses for greeting cards, and stories for her grandchildren. She makes her home on the East Coast of Florida.
Carol is giving away a book, a bookmark, and an engraved pencil, to one lucky commenter.