News of the World – by Paulette Jiles – independent book review – Historical Fiction (United States)


Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

It took a while for this one to grab me but I’m glad I stuck with it. This is a wonderful story about an older man, Captain Kidd, near the end of his life, who suddenly finds himself in charge of a 10 year old girl who has spent 4 years living with Kiowa Indians, after the massacre of her family.

Johanna, who is reluctantly being returned to relatives, is representative of many children who were taken in by various tribes for some period of time and then forced to return to the “white” world. Adjustments were never easy and not always successful.

Paulette Jiles (Courtesy of

But in this novel, we get to see just how much kindness and patience can do to help a traumatized child regain trust and contentment. The relationship between Captain Kidd and Johanna is beautiful in the way it unfolds. During their travels together, they come to rely on one another, facing many hazards typical of the Wild West. The title comes from Kidd’s current occupation – a traveler in the West, stopping in remote towns to share news of the outside world in public reading sessions. It’s a wonderful glimpse into Texas circa 1870, still reeling from the Civil War and far away from “modern” discoveries like the telegraph.

More about Paulette Jiles.

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