Under a Painted Sky Under a Painted Sky by
Published by on March 17, 2015
Genres: ,
Format: eBook
Pages: 384

Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician—not an easy thing if you’re a girl, and harder still if you’re Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush. Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

This beautifully written debut is an exciting adventure and heart-wrenching survival tale. But above all else, it’s a story about perseverance and trust that will restore your faith in the power of friendship. (Goodreads)

Samantha doesn’t know what she wants in life, but she knows it’s not this: stuck on the edge of the American frontier, the only Chinese girl around. It’s that moment of discontent that author Stacey Lee drops us in her debut novel, UNDER A PAINTED SKY. At first, that rush and chaos left me a bit unsure of where this novel was going and if I wanted to be along for the ride.

But then a double tragedy cuts main character Samantha’s foundation out from under her, while the novel finds its feet. She’s forced to flee—not back to the comforts of New York City, but onward, into the heart of the 1849 American West.

An outlaw wanted for murder, Samantha escapes with a runaway slave, Annamae. What begins as an alliance of convenience becomes a deep, loving friendship forged through shared hopes, perseverance, and respect. The two girls—posing as boys—join up with an easy-going trio of cowboys and rush headlong onto the famed Oregon Trail. But danger waits ahead, and bounty hunters pursue behind.

UNDER A PAINTED SKY is beautifully told, mixing light-hearted antics with real danger and real love. Sammy and Andy—as the girls become known—are two Americans who are told by their countrymen that they are other, less than. Yet for all those who would bar their entrance into a true, full life, Sammy and Andy keep going and never give up hope for something better. In a world on the brink of upheaval and change, these two brave girls plunge into a future of their own making with heads held high.

Like the rush of the beginning, I thought the ending could have slowed down just for a moment, really give us a chance to savor the climax and denouement. But then again, I’ve never met a descriptive tangent that I don’t want to take out to dinner and a movie and really get to know. Overall, I truly adored this book and look forward to what author Lee does next.

JennyCP Signature

4.5 Stars

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