The first time I sat down to read this book, as the first few pages unfolded, I gave myself a sigh of pleasure, and I was sucked into the story. I mean, I actually, consciously noticed the pleasure I was feeling. I love that feeling.
I was reading it for a book group pick and realized in late March that it was too late to get on Libby, and I might have to buy it. Imagine my surprise and excitement when it came up on Libby 12 days before our scheduled book group on Zoom. Double play! A fabulous read for free.
The story is this: After the Civil War, an elderly man whose name is Captain Kidd, makes his living by traveling from town to town to read newspapers to audiences who pay a dime for the privilege. People can’t read, or can’t afford newspapers, and he gathers and transports them to other lands. At his first reading in the book, he is approached by some freight men, who make a living by hauling things from town to town. They are fellow travelers that know each other. The freight men have a special ask–a 10- year-old white girl, kidnapped by Kiowa Indians, recovered by the Army, has a 50.00 gold piece reward for bringing her back to her Aunt and Uncle who live hundreds of miles away. Would Captain Kidd do it?
This is the story of a journey of unlikely companions, breathtaking landscape, beautifully descriptive writing, a history lesson, and shootouts– all wrapped up in 22 delicious chapters. I read it in 3 days, just because it is one of those stories that captures your imagination, and transports you into another world.
At our two daily meals together, my quarantining family would listen rapt as I described some of the scenes in the book. This would be a great read- aloud-book to anyone who was eight and above.
It also made me realize that it is nothing to be quarantined in my cozy house in 2020. NOTHING-AS-IN-I-NEED-TO-QUIT-THINKING-THIS-IS-HARD. Every day in the late 1800’s held peril–disease, murder, evil people, and starvation. The character traits that shines through this book will stay with me. Over and over, the choices Captain Kidd made in difficult situations formed his life into a meaningful, rich one, beginning with his choice at age 71 to take a captive back to her family. It’s hard to find a pleasurable read that delivers all of this, but “News of the World” does. Happy reading!