Red Tears


Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
256 Pages
Reviewed on 11/23/2018
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

Red Tears is a deeply involved work of historical fiction by author N.K. Parten. The story is paced as the run-up to a terrifying massacre, going some way to explain the particulars and history around the event and how it came to be that several hundred people, soldiers and civilians alike, suffered a terrible fate at the hands of a Creek Red Stick war party. In Mississippi, 1813, we meet Prudence Mims, the youngest daughter of the Mims family, who lives at what was dubbed ‘Fort Mims’, a plantation caught between the white Americans and the woodland Indian tribes who sought to cleanse themselves of any white influence. As tensions rise politically and locally, we follow the Mims family and poor Prudence to the moment where the war party attacks Fort Mims, bringing red tears down on the land.

This is a harrowing fictionalized exploration of the conflicts that went on and the conversations that led to such a horrifying event. N.K. Parten has certainly done much research on the subject from both sides of the fight, and lends a particular compassion and sympathy to the poor civilians stuck in the middle of it, particularly Samuel Mims who is simply trying to protect his family and keep his livelihood. The political and geographic factors leading to the conflict are well explained but not over explained, keeping the overall page count of the novel readable and enjoyable. Overall, Red Tears will certainly appeal to those who enjoy well-researched historical fiction, however grisly the truth of it may be.

Grant Leishman

Red Tears by N.K. Parten is one of those rare historical fiction books that is so based in actual events that you wonder at times, as a reader, whether the author’s fictionalization of the event did indeed actually happen, exactly the way described. The time is the turn of the seventeenth century in the southern United States, where colonial interests are coming into conflict with the burgeoning new nation of the United States. In southern Alabama, the Mims family have fashioned a good lifestyle on their plantation, just north of Pensacola, in what was then Spanish Florida. We see the events unfold principally through the eyes of the young teenager, Prudence Mims, who watches, in trepidation and then horror, as the family’s relaxed lifestyle is overtaken by events. When the local Native American population of Creek Red Sticks seeks revenge for an attack on their tribal lands, the Mims family residence quickly becomes Fort Mims, overseen by a drunken officer of the Mississippi Volunteer Militia. When the attack on Fort Mims finally came, it was both brutal and devastating to the Mims family, some of whom would escape south to Mobile, as the inhabitants of Fort Mims were massacred.

Red Tears is obviously very personal to author N.K. Parten. As a distant, yet direct descendant of the participants in this action, the author has a vested interest in the story and that shows in the writing. This vested interest showed through the strength and frailties of the two main female characters, Prudence and her mother. Prudence, unusually for a young woman of that time, was forthright and independent and wanted more from life than to just be married off to some southern gentleman or military officer, as had her sisters. She was prepared to question the role of women in the early 1800s and more especially the rights or wrongs of slavery. Although the Mims family was known to be “good” slave owners, the very moral question of the rights of one human being to own another was something Prudence was prepared to debate and question. The writing style of this story is easy and flowing and, apart from giving the reader a good basic knowledge of the time period and the events of the massacre, it is an excellent action adventure in its own right. Although the many maps and photographs sprinkled throughout the book were not brilliantly reproduced in the Kindle version, I have no doubt they would greatly aid a reader in a paperback version of the book. I love historical fiction and I loved this story. Its closeness to reality and attention to historical detail made it special in my mind.

Amy Raines

Red Tears by N.K. Parten tells the story of life on the frontier in the early 1800s, from the perspective of Prudence Mims, a fourteen-year-old girl, who recounts the family’s trials in the face of hardships during early Native American battles with the military. Prudence was born during a time in history when women did not have rights, but Prudence’s parents raised her and her siblings to be strong and self sufficient. The Mims’ family plantation had been renamed Fort Mims and was being overrun with militia and settlers seeking refuge, helping themselves to the buildings already on the land and building more barracks for shelter as well as depleting the Mims’ food and water supply, which was getting harder to replenish. As Americans gained control over more territories that had belonged to the Spanish as well as the Native Americans, the Red Sticks begin fighting back, getting revenge for past battles and grievances and intent on reclaiming their land, with the Mims' family plantation now a militia camp caught in the cross-hairs of an impending attack.

Red Tears is without a doubt one of the best accounts of life on the wild frontier. The plot is interlaced with plenty of old ideas and fears that lend weight to how drastic those times really were. I love how N.K. Parten boldly chose to tell the story of Red Tears through the eyes of a fourteen-year-old girl caught in the middle of the events that take place, and this helped convey the story in a very interesting light. I recommend Red Tears to be added to the library of any reader. I honestly got lost in the pages, transported to an historical place and time filled with mixed emotions. I will definitely be looking for more stories like Red Tears in the future. N.K. Parten is a wonderful author with a talent for weaving a story that I would categorize as a ‘must-read’.