Totems of September

Robin LaDue and Mary Kay Voss
Book Publishers Network (2013)
ISBN 9781940598000
Reviewed by Sheri Hoyte for Reader Views (02/15)

“Totems of September” by Robin LaDue and Mary Kay Voss may just be the best book I’ve read in quite some time.  A beautiful compilation of stories examine the events of September 11, 2001 and other major events such as WWII, Afghanistan and Iraq, through the use of the Native American story telling tradition of circles on circles.  The stories are peppered with the culture of the Northwest and Plains tribes.  We follow the lives of three main characters, Geronimo Barse, Billy Hawk and Lola LaFleur, and their lineage from the late 1800s to 2006.  Going from one family’s story to the next, we find each family intrinsically connected to each other throughout moments in history.

The writing in “Totems of September” is exceptional.  It was very apparent that the authors are deeply passionate about the events in the story and their characters.  Billy, Geronimo and Lola were absolutely spellbinding and captivating – each one of their personalities found a place in my heart.  In fact, I felt like I knew all of the characters in the story on a very personal level.  The history of Native Americans are pivotal to this story and I learned much about the hardships, and injustices endured by many.  The whole gamut of emotions were felt as I shared in the triumphs and setbacks and love and adversity. Not only is the writing exceptional, readers are also gifted with the beautiful animal drawings accompanying the stories throughout the book. 

I was enthralled from the very beginning of the story and found myself wanting more – much more, when the book came to an end.  This was a captivating read and I highly recommend “Totems of September” by Robin Ladue and Mary Kay Voss to all lovers of historical fiction.

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