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Reviewed by A. L. Peevey for Readers' Favorite
Blood Ties by Marjorie Tursak recounts the story of John Kohler, the owner of a woodworking shop in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, close to an Ojibwa reservation. With no family of his own, he maintains a rather tenuous connection with his older sister’s family, particularly with his niece, Rachel, who has adored him since she was a small girl. His deep-seated prejudice against and fear of the local Native American community puts him at great odds with Rachel when she comes to stay with him to further her anthropological studies. Will John be able to put aside the bitter feelings and resentment he has carried since his childhood, or will Rachel and John’s relationship be irrevocably ruined?
Marjorie Tursak’s Blood Ties tells readers a very human tale. It is steeped in the traditions and doings of the rustic locale where it takes place. Tursak’s writing is rich and descriptive and carries readers into the setting of her novel instantly. She brings her characters alive: foibles, prejudices, and all. John Kohler’s love of the wilderness surrounding his shrinking village is palpable. He is set in his ways. Rachel represents the growing trend and need to overcome the deeply rooted prejudices in this society. She is a catalyst for a change of heart in John to hold onto his affection for her but to let go of his ingrained ways of thinking before they destroy him. This book asks readers if change is possible, along with reminding readers of what makes this country unique. Well written, Blood Ties is worth the time to read.