July 17, 2006
I'm still a Betsy James fan. I'm impressed with Dark Heart, the second novel in the trilogy that tells the story of Kat, a sixteen-year-old girl who has run away from her father's strict and colorless home to live with her mother's people -- the Bear folk, who are happy and industrious and who dance and tease. It seems that Kat should be happy with a people so big-hearted, but the mountain people are just as hemmed in as those upslope of the sea; their world is full of rituals that take place "just because," and they are driven by superstition and routine. Kat does her duty and tries to take her place as a woman of the clan, but she fears it is too late, she is too different. She longs for something more -- and more than that, she longs for Nall, the boy of the Seal clan she left behind her. This is definitely not a stand-alone novel in some ways, but if you were to pick it up without having read the first one, you would still enjoy the beauty of the prose. But do pick up the first one first, if you can!