This is such a feel good book, packed full of the wonders of true friendship. I laughed & cried along with the characters & enjoyed the entire journey. This novel isn’t one that constantly leaves you hanging off of the edge of your seat, instead it warms your heart & makes you a part of the story. Despite Under A Painted Sky being a feel good book, it exposes readers to some painful truths that have been delicately & expertly woven into the plot, which cast a shadow upon the reader. This novel is truly a wonderful piece of writing.
Stacey Lee has written another beautiful piece of historical fiction that is jammed packed with emotion & some painful truths of American history. The novel starts with some heartbreaking & shocking scenes so there is no messing around with the plot; readers are plunged straight into the deep end with characters Samantha & Annamae, which kickstarts a frightening but exciting & enjoyable journey across America in the 1800s.
The two main characters of this story are wonderfully strong young women that are standing up against a country that is totally against their existence – both characters show great strength with their actions but the reader is also exposed to their vulnerability & pain through their memories & emotions. The pair meet many people on their journey, some of which show them great kindness & others whom made my stomach turn. The pair face some truly scary circumstances & there were scenes when I wasn’t sure who would survive & who would suffer, but they also get to experience some wonderful things that filled me with great happiness.
All the focal characters in this book demonstrate the powers of true & pure friendship, which at times left me saddened by how little people there are like that in the real world. I was left jealous at times of the bond between Samantha & Annamae, but also how they managed to build relationships with their cowboy companions. I wanted so badly to be a part of their adventure despite the dangers they were facing. Stacey Lee has done a very good job of highlighting how wonderful friendship can be & despite this book having some dark aspects, I feel that the book is one that leaves the reader feeling warm & content inside.
Fans of the Disney film Mulan will love this book as I think it follows a lot of the same themes & emotions – great friendship & strength is shown, with touches of comedy & brutal honesty about race & gender thrown in for good measure. As with Mulan, Samantha & Annamae are put into some very awkward situations due to the fact that they are two young girls trying to pass themselves off as slightly older boys & these scenes always left a huge grin on my face.
I’m really not very well so maybe this review isn’t as good as it should be, but Under A Painted Sky was truly a pleasure to read & I’m broken hearted that I have to return it to the library instead of being able to place it on my own shelves. Stacey Lee is a wonderful writer; one who writes very honestly, and with a lot of emotion. It is incredibly obvious that she cares a great deal about the stories she tells & that just makes the experience of reading her work so much better.
Read my review of Outrun the Moon, another wonderful historical fiction novel by Stacey Lee, here.