Thieving Forest

Written by Martha Conway
Review by Mary Galliver

What would your seventeen-year-old self do if a band of Indians kidnapped your four older sisters, who are your only living kin within several days’ wagon-ride? In Martha Conway’s Thieving Forest, Susanna Quiner decides to go after them herself because there is no one else able to do so. She faces panther-filled forests and snake-filled swamps, neither with any path to guide her, and both just as likely to lead into the hands of unfriendly Indians or trappers as they are to get her where she needs to be. Along the way she receives help from unlikely sources, as well as hindrance from some who would be expected to help. She loses one sister to death, another to a stern religious settlement, and a third to the Indians themselves, through marriage and adaptation. Ultimately, she surprises everyone, especially herself by surviving and successfully rescuing and bringing home her fourth sister.

This book is described as the dual story of Suzanna’s adventure and her sisters’ experiences as captives. I personally found the sections dealing with her sisters’ experiences to be a little short of depth and filled with time gaps. As a result, I never felt any real sympathy for Susanna’s sisters. Perhaps a little more character development would have helped? This is not the book for you if enjoy the detail of Native American culture, but if  you are looking for an enjoyable read, look no further.