It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.
In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.
Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proved difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.
Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.
Rating: 5 stars
News of the World by Paulette Jiles is an absolute must read for all. Here is a realistic historical tale that will tug and pull at readers’ hearts. A journey that is nothing but beautiful and breathtaking…an old war veteran is now jobbed with taking a small girl back to her family that still lives. But it’s not a fun travel. The girl had her parents and sister taken and killed, from her, when she was younger. Then, the Indians that killed her family took her into their culture. Now, at age ten…she only knows the Indian way of life. It’s sad. The young girl grows up thinking the Indians are her only family and doesn’t know any English at all. It tore at me to see her taken from her original family and then she feels she’s taken from the family she remembers, the Indians. As the veteran continues to take the little savage girl to her family…things get harder for them both.
Paulette Jiles brings readers a story unlike any other. It’s deep, meaningful, and an unforgettable tale that will stay with readers for a long time to come. A young girl’s journey to survive and an older man who wants to do right by her. Soon both of their fates are brought together and this is where readers will be awed. Johanna has suffered a lot of pain, neglect, and abuse and now, with the Captian, she can re-enter society. Johanna can experience a family of love and care with the Captian. He ends up loving the blue eyed blonde girl who had it hard in life. All he wants is for her to be happy and safe. Maybe, they can find a peacefulness within each other’s company as they days turn into years. News of the World shows us how cruel and devasting our world can be. An orphaned girl needs a home, security, and love. Most of all patience. Yet no one but the old Captian has given this to her. This was the first novel, I have read by this talented author. I highly recommend News of the World to readers everywhere.