Sacred Ground

Written by Barbara Wood
Review by Sarah Johnson

Dr. Erica Tyler, an anthropologist in modern-day Los Angeles, comes across an intriguing situation. An earthquake has revealed a hidden cave containing the ancient bones of a young woman – one whose tribal affiliation strangely cannot be identified. In pursuit of the woman’s identity, she clashes with Jared Black, an attractive lawyer assigned to protect Native American interests. In a parallel tale set 2,000 years earlier, the young healer Marimi, happily married and expecting a child, is cast out of her tribe for breaking a taboo. Determined to survive, she and two other children, also outcasts, walk a great distance to form their own tribe. Marimi and her female descendants have the gift of foresight, and we see examples of how their lives intertwine with major events in California’s history.

I found myself having to suspend disbelief a little too often during my reading of this tale. For example, we’re expected to believe that a young woman, barefoot and heavily pregnant, physically carried a young child hundreds of miles to a new land: a rather superhuman feat! Also, the way all of the loose ends are tied together in the end, though satisfying, may cause some raised eyebrows. Despite these flaws, Wood is a wonderful, accomplished storyteller. Her prose flows smoothly and easily, making this a pleasant afternoon’s read.