Martha Conway, author
On a humid morning in 1806, seventeen-year-old Susanna Quiner watches helplessly from behind a tree while a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead from Swamp Fever and all the other settlers out in their fields, Susanna rashly decides to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman's quest to save her sisters and the parallel story of her sisters' new lives. Fast-paced and richly detailed, Thieving Forest explores the transformation of all five women as the Quiners contend with starvation, slavery, betrayal, and love. It paints a fascinating new picture of pioneer life among Native American communities, while telling a gripping tale of survival.
In Conway’s novel, four recently orphaned sisters in 19th-century Ohio are abducted by Patawatomi Native Americans, and a feisty fifth, Susanna Quiner, the youngest, is forced to brave the untamed forest in order to rescue them. Aiding her on her quest is Adam, a crusty tracker, and Seth Spendlove, a secretive young neighbor. Meanwhile, the kidnapped sisters are overcome with fear and uncertainty. Susanna’s long journey finds her struggling with a situation that forces her to grow up quickly. Though overwritten at times, Conway’s book renders the Black Swamp region very well; the environment itself, seemingly endless and unmoved by Susanna’s human trial, is so evocative as to feel like a formidable antagonist. The scope of this old-fashioned pioneer adventure yarn is also impressive, and the full arc of Conway’s characters’ development, combined with a satisfying ending, is memorable. (BookLife)