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A Reluctant Guardian

Regina McLemore Author Interview

Cherokee Steel follows Amelia as she tries to find a family member who’s worthy to carry the special family heirloom on to the next generation. What were some new ideas you wanted to introduce in this book that was different from book one and two?

In book 1, Amelia was very young and knew nothing about the special stone. In book 2, she is surprised that she is chosen to inherit the stone and becomes a reluctant guardian. By book 3, she has matured and has freed herself of much of the emotional baggage she has carried throughout her life. Now that she has become truly worthy of the stone, it is time to turn it over to someone else.

Amelia is a compelling character that I enjoyed watching evolve. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

I wanted to show how emotional trauma experienced by a young person will not only affect that person but will affect the generations to come. Conversely, I wanted to show that even a badly damaged individual can find redemption. I also wanted to give readers a glimpse into how Amelia’s Cherokee history and culture continued to impact her life even when she seemed to forget it.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

Effects from the past, family abuse, family violence, alcohol abuse, infidelity, tragedy of war, feelings of inadequacy, rebellion, dealing with death, persistence of love, the touch of the supernatural, the influence of culture, realization of dreams, discrimination, bullying, and redemption.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Before We Were a State, 2023.

Author Links: Twitter | Facebook | Website

Who will be worthy of the stone?

In the final chapter of Bluebird and Grey Wolf’s Cherokee descendants, the story of Amelia Clay Stone, their great granddaughter, will continue to evolve. Not only the sad legacy of the Trail of Tears, but Amelia’s abusive experiences at the Cherokee Girls’ Mission will take their psychological toll on her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren.

Meanwhile, young Bonita McKindle, the love interest of Amelia’s sons, Clay and Ross, struggles to overcome the damage brought upon her by tragedy, poverty, and neglect. Forced to quit school to care for her critically ill, alcoholic father, Bonita desperately yearns to escape and make a better life for herself, only to encounter more heartache. When she gives birth to her daughter Miranda, Bonita experiences new hope, but Miranda and her children will soon find their own demons to battle.

All the while, the fate of a special family heirloom—the stone Bluebird carried on the Trail of Tears from Georgia so long ago—rests in Amelia’s hands. It has been passed down through the generations to Bluebird’s descendants. Will the aging Amelia find any family member who is worthy to carry it on to the next generation? Or will the traditional Cherokee beliefs the stone represents be lost forever?

Cherokee Steel 

Cherokee Steel is the third installment in Regina McLemore’s Cherokee Passages series. It’s set primarily in rural Oklahoma in the early part of the twentieth century. As a continuation of the story of Bluebird and Grey Wolf’s descendants, it’s a satisfying conclusion, but it does have scope for further development in a fourth novel; or at least this fan is hoping the story continues because I don’t want this story to end.

Amelia is now aging, and she still holds the Bluebird stone inherited from her family and passed down through generations. It represents both traditional Cherokee beliefs and the survival of historical abuses experienced by both Amelia and her ancestors. She needs to find someone worthy to carry the heirloom to the next generation, but she can’t find any family member worthy of the guardianship. 

Amelia’s sons, Ross and Clay, are both smitten with the teenage temptress Bonita. But she has her own tragedies to deal with. When her alcoholic father falls ill, and her brother abandons her, she is forced to quit school and any dreams of finding a better life for herself are ever more distant. She makes poor decisions and has bad taste in men, with each one more weak, controlling, and violent than the last. As Amelia says to her, “You’re just like your father, lovely to look at, but weak at your core.”

Regina McLemore tells a rich and compelling story that effectively uses its compelling characters to tell a story that is steeped in history and hard to put down. Cherokee Steel doesn’t rely at all on its previous books to prop it up. While readers can certainly benefit from reading the previous books, there’s enough here to make it an engrossing read all on its own. This is an epic historical fiction story that spans generations but covers years in just a couple of pages. I would have loved to have had more detail about the lives of these interesting people and their tumultuous paths through life.

Cherokee Steel is an engaging family saga with memorable characters that will stay with the readers long after the series is over. This is an impassioned historical drama that has depth and layers to the emotional turmoil in the story.

Pages: 312 | ASIN: B0BCTWBKQF

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