Native Stranger (Lazare Family Saga)

Written by Elizabeth Bell
Review by Nicole Evelina

When the third book in the Lazare Family Saga opens in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1859, the family is reeling from tragedy and questioning both their past and future. As the series shifts away from local priest Fr. Joseph Lazare and his erstwhile lover, Tess, it focuses on the next generation, a new pair of star-crossed lovers. Clare (Tess’s daughter) and David (Joseph’s nephew) take center stage with their own story of forbidden love. Not long after, the titular “native stranger”—a man thought abandoned for dead as a child and raised by the Cheyenne— returns, seeking answers about his white heritage. Sparks soon fly with Clare, turning forbidden love into a love triangle and ensuring nothing will ever be the same.

Bell’s stunning saga continues strong with this book, growing in depth and emotion with each page. That is one of the author’s true talents, to be able to make the reader truly feel each moment of the book, rather than simply experiencing it at a remove. This is due in part to Bell’s meticulous research, which not only helps ground the reader, but brings to life important, lesser-known aspects of history. Even though it is the middle of a series, this book lacks none of the richness and tension of the previous books, and the series continues to hold its own among the most celebrated of multi-generational sagas. Highly recommended for older young adults and adult readers due to mature content.