Paulette Jiles | Fiction
Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd is a “runner” after the Civil War. He travels throughout north Texas giving readings to people from worldwide newspapers, for 10 cents a listener. He eschews Texas newspapers, because they excite his audiences and wreak havoc and fistfights among his listeners due to the divisive post-war politics in Texas. One day he agrees to deliver Johanna, previously stolen by an Indian tribe, to her aunt and uncle in south Texas. This is the tale of their journey.
This short book (I read it flying home from Dallas) is sweet, but predictable. There are few surprises and, other than the intrigue of learning about the profession of a runner, I found it not all that compelling. It's a nice book for a plane ride, but not something to put on your “must read” list. I think, too, this book did not have an editor! Before you are too far into this book, you will read that Johanna’s hair is colored honey, biscuit, taffy and ocher. And then taffy again. I have no idea why the author is obsessed with describing Johanna's hair. (Late in the book, Jiles uses a clear word to clarify her hair color. I won't tell you what that word is … it would be a spoiler, in a book that requires few spoiler alerts). Likewise, Ms. Jiles more than once describes the moon as “rolling backwards.” It is irritating that no one seemed to read and edit this book for repetition.
If you want a sweet little read, go for it. Otherwise, there are many juicier books calling to you and me!