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26 March, 2007

Book Review: The Bone Whistle by Eva Swan

reviewed for frontstreet Reviews

Darly lives on the outskirts of Denver with her mother Vivian. Darly is twenty years old, struggling with school and her first major heart break. As miserable as her life is, she is not looking forward to a summer spent on the Lakhota reservation. Spending her days in an isolated cabin with her mother is not the most ideal summer vacation in Daryl’s eyes, no matter how much it recharges her mother or how long they've been spending summers there.. However, when her grandfather gives her an old bone whistle, it leads to an astonishing discovery: Her father is not dead, as she has believed her whole life, and he was not human, but wanaghi.

Who are the wanaghi? An elusive fey-like folk that lives under the Dakota hills. According to Lakhota legend, they once were a part of the Lakhota people. Long ago, as change was introduced through the coming of the white settlers, the wanaghi made the decision to retreat under the hills and preserve the ancient ways of life.

Determined to find her father, Darly makes her way under the hill into the land of her father’s people. It is a dangerous place full of magic and the old customs. With the help of a young wanaghi named Osni, Darly looks for her father. There is a war raging between factions among the wanaghi and Darly with all her innocence is thrown into the middle of the battle. She is faced with the fact that Osni, the man she has lost her heart to, and her father are on opposite sides in the fight.

As Darly fights for self-discovery during the days that pass, she must struggle with the choices she has been given. Can she show Osni her love for him, reunite her family and help end a battle that may lead to the end of the wanaghi?

What power is contained in the bone whistle her grandfather gave her and can it help her journey?

Author Eva Swan has crafted a lovely fantasy story. I loved the inclusions of Native American legends into the plot. These themes, are explained extremely well, for those not familiar with them without being to simplistic sounding. This is Eva Swan’s first novel, and is a strong debut into the romantic fantasy genre.

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