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19 December 2009

Across the Endless River by Thad Carhart: A Book Review and Book Tour

Title: Across the endless River
Author: Thad Carhart
Publisher: Doubleday
Publication Date: September 1, 2009
Hardcover: 308 pages
ISBN: 978-0385529778
Genre: Historical Fiction


About the Book:

From the acclaimed, bestselling author of The Piano Shop on the Left Bank comes a historical novel about Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea, and his intriguing sojourn as a young man in 1820s Europe.

Born in 1805 on the Lewis and Clark expedition, Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau was the son of the Voyage of Discovery's translators, Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. Across the Endless River evokes the formative years of this mixed-blood child of the frontier, entering the wild and mysterious world of his boyhood along the Missouri. Baptiste is raised both as William Clark's ward in St. Louis and by his parents among the villages of the Mandan tribe on the far northern reaches of the river.

In 1823 eighteen-year-old Baptiste is invited to cross the Atlantic with the young Duke Paul of Württemberg, whom he meets on the frontier. During their travels throughout Europe, Paul introduces Baptiste to a world he never imagined. Increasingly, Baptiste confronts the limitations of life as an outsider; only Paul's older cousin, Princess Theresa, understands the richness of his heritage. Their affair is both passionate and tender, but Theresa's clear-eyed notions of love, marriage, and the need to fashion one's own future push Baptiste to consider what he truly needs. In Paris he meets Maura Hennesy, the beautiful and independent daughter of a French-Irish wine merchant. Baptiste describes his life on the fast-changing frontier to Maura, and she begins to imagine a different destiny with this enigmatic American. Baptiste ultimately faces a choice: whether to stay in Europe or to return to the wilds of North America. His decision will resonate strongly with those who today find themselves at the intersection of cultures, languages, and customs.

My Review:

Across the Endless River is a masterfully told tale of the life of Jean-Baptiste Charbonneau, the son of Sacagawea and Toussaint Charbonneau. The novel is told in such a manner that the reader is transported to the 19th century and one cannot help but feel as though one is transported back in time standing alongside Jean-Baptiste as he journeys, loves and ultimately must decide where he belongs. While historical in nature, the heart of the book is Jean-Baptiste's struggle to find out who is and silence the inner longing to be accepted. The sense of not being of one nationality or another, leads Jean-Baptiste to journey and struggle to find himself and his home. Historical fiction fans will find this novel to be a brilliant novel and I dare say those who are uncertain whether or not historical fiction is the right genre for them, will not be disappointed with this book.

About the Author:

Thad Carhart, author of Across the Endless River, is a dual citizen of of the United States and Ireland. He lives in Paris with his wife, the photographer Simo Neri, and their two children. For more information, view Thad Carhart's Web site.

I would live to thank FSB Media for supplying me with a copy of this book. My review was in no part influenced by my receiving a free review copy.



Anonymous said...

I loved your review!
If you're curious, a non-fiction Charbonneau biography exists; it reveals the ACTUAL person through on-site journals and documents.
See Jean Baptiste Charbonneau, Man of Two Worlds on

Teddyree said...

Great review, I was offered this one for review but sadly the publisher wouldn't post to Australia.