Friday, July 14, 2017

News Of The World by Paulette Jules

News Of The World by Paulette Jules
Published June 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
Source: my copies (egalley and print) courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review

Publisher's Summary: n the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of Enemy Women that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

 In the wake of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings from newspapers to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

 In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

 Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proves difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forming a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

My Thoughts:
If that summary, on its own, convinced you to read this book, DO NOT read any other summaries of the book. There's a fifth paragraph I didn't include that pretty much gives away the ending. Why would a publisher do that??? The one thing that you absolutely do not want to do, is ruin this book for yourself in any way. Because this book, before I even started this review, was added to my favorite books of 2017 list; it will surely still be there at the end of the year. Trite as it sounds, I truly could not put this book down.

Paulette Jiles is, it turns out, a poet, which explains so much about the writing but not everything. Because not only is the writing in News Of The World beautiful, the story is, while not entirely unique (think Charles Portis' True Grit and John Wayne in The Searchers), engrossing, and Jiles uses her research remarkably well. She has clearly done her research but never gets mired down in it, giving readers just as much detail as they need to understand the time, a place, or the look of a thing. She also knows when the draw out a scene or a description and when to cut to the chase. There is a tension throughout the book but Jiles also makes time for sweet moments.

The last chapter is a bit jarring; it's one of those final chapters that spans many years to wrap everything up. The book is just over 200 page. One can't help but wonder if Jiles might have stretched that bit out a bit more; I would happily have read another 100 pages. But then, the story Jiles wanted to tell was told by the time she reached that last chapter. Maybe she should have left it there? Either way, Jiles would have left the reader wanting more and that's never a bad thing.

I'm just waiting now for the announcement that News Of The World has been optioned for a movie adaptation. I'm casting it in my head even now.

Thanks for the ladies at TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. For other opinions, check out the full tour.

Paulette Jiles is a novelist, poet, and memoirist. She is the author of Cousins, a memoir, and the novels Enemy Women, Stormy Weather, The Color of Lightning, Lighthouse Island, and News of the World. She lives on a ranch near San Antonio, TX.

Find out more about Paulette at her website.


  1. Totally agree; sometimes publishers are just crazy in terms of spoiling a book. But I think many movie trailers do the same thing. It's a shame. I loved this book and I love Jiles, and I'm glad I didn't read the summary first! :--)

  2. There is so much about this book that intrigues me ... I can't believe I haven't made time to read it yet!

    Thanks for being a part of the tour.

  3. Both my mom and husband read this a few weeks ago and they both loved it! I can't wait to make time to curl up with this gem. I need to wait until I don't have any distractions (visitors and traveling ourselves in the next couple of months) so I can enjoy it completely. Glad to hear that you loved it, too.

  4. Those blurbs that give away the ending or a big plot twist always annoy me. Why???? This one has been on my radar for awhile and I"m glad to hear you enjoyed it. It does sound like one that will be turned into a movie any day now.

  5. I loved this book, and I didn't know that Jiles is a poet, but that makes sense because her writing is so lyrical. Made me want to head for Texas! I also didn't care the last chapter--thought it unnecessary, but it didn't lessen the overall glow of the book for me.

    I think the shoot-out scene is one of the best I've ever read in Western fiction.