STARRED REVIEW
November 2014

On the fringe of American history

By Lalita Tademy
Set in the 1800s, Citizens Creek chronicles two different lives in its two parallel sections: those of Cow Tom, a slave born in Alabama and sold to a Creek Indian chief prior to his 10th birthday, and his granddaughter, Rose.
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Set in the 1800s, Citizens Creek chronicles two different lives in its two parallel sections: those of Cow Tom, a slave born in Alabama and sold to a Creek Indian chief prior to his 10th birthday, and his granddaughter, Rose.

Cow Tom possessed many unique gifts. As a healer and expert in keeping cattle healthy, he became a kind of cow-whisperer as he grew, a trait that later manifested itself in the ability to master all kinds of languages. Armed with dreams of freeing himself, his wife and their two young daughters and establishing themselves in the Creek Tribe, Cow Tom must navigate working as a translator for the U.S. military and traveling the Trail of Tears, among other trials.

Following in Cow Tom’s footsteps is his granddaughter Rose, who, in her efforts to lead the family, becomes the matriarch and guardian of his legacy. As she tries to ensure her family is provided for and grapples with love, motherhood, political and social hostility, Rose proves her story is timeless.

Set against a vibrant backdrop of American expansion, black emancipation and the displacement of Native-American nations, Citizens Creek is a story of identity, community, family and an individual’s will to make a difference.

California-born Lalita Tademy is the author of Cane River, a best-selling novel and a 2001 Oprah Book Club Selection, and its critically acclaimed sequel, Red River. Here, she uses frank, descriptive prose that teems with life as it depicts Cow Tom’s travels and Rose’s trials and triumphs. Some books hold whole worlds between their pages—Citizens Creek is one of them.

 

This article was originally published in the November 2014 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

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Citizens Creek

Citizens Creek

By Lalita Tademy
Atria
ISBN 9781476753034

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