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Thieving Forest

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,487 ratings  ·  195 reviews
On a humid morning in 1806, seventeen-year-old Susanna Quiner watches helplessly from behind a tree while a band of Potawatomi Indians kidnaps her four older sisters from their cabin. With both her parents dead from Swamp Fever and all the other settlers out in their fields, Susanna rashly decides to pursue them herself. What follows is a young woman's quest to save her si ...more
Paperback, 407 pages
Published August 15th 2014 by Noontime Books (first published August 11th 2014)
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3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,487 ratings  ·  195 reviews

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Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
Aug 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, read-2014
Susanna and her four sisters have recently lost their parents to Swamp fever. They decide to continue their small store that is attached to their house out in the wilderness. Then the sisters are taken in an attack from a group of Potawatomi as Susanna hides.
After the abduction Susanna takes off after her sisters and their abductors.

The story takes Susanna to a weird Missionary village where she stays for a few months and then into the Black Swamp.

That Black Swamp and all that Susanna does t
The Shayne-Train
Aug 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
I love me some old-timey, pioneer-type stories. Tribes of natives, living off the land, seeing the promise of 'Murrica paying off, or tasting it sour in one's mouth: all that speaks to me. And this story did not fail to deliver exactly what I was looking for.

A gaggle of recently orphaned women are taken all secret-like by a bunch of natives. What follows is a story of attempted rescue, of severe and forced adaptation, and of redemption or lack thereof. I loved it. The descriptions of how day-to-
Loved the story! Wasn't crazy about the narrator. Lacked emotional depth to her voice, although her pronunciation of tribal names was beautiful. Probably would be best enjoyed just reading oneself. The storyline was wonderful. Will be reading more of Conway's books.

My in-depth review of Thieving Forest can be found on Audible.

It's always so disappointing when you come across a book with a great idea but poor execution. Unfortunately that was the case with this book, I found the plot to be super interesting, but it just wasn't enough to make up for the amateur writing and poor character development. Maybe in a few more years or perhaps with a tougher editor I am sure that this author will improve.

Buy,Borrow or Bin Verdict: Bin

Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.
Diane S ☔
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
A good read about a group of sisters trying to survive alone after their parents are taken by swamp fever. When her sisters are captured by Indians, Susannah, the sister who is left makes it her mission to find out their fate.

A fast moving and interesting where things are not as they appear on the surface. Life in a mission camp and of course the thieving woods. Just not sure a young girl would have set out virtually alone during this time period. Still the authors includes enough history and p
Apr 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
This was my selection from Amazon Prime Reading, whatever that is. I knew I had not read a novel involving a number of sisters ending up as Indian captives, so I thought it worth a gamble. My favorite part of this is the weight of my e-reader. Carrying loads of hardback books is hard on my back, I must admit. So half a star awarded for my physical comfort.
Let me say that I am not familiar with the North American Book Award for Best Historical Fiction, but this book won that.
The famil
Thieving Forest is an ancient forest crowded with
decrepit elms and maples and oak, too many of them fallen
for a comfortable crossing, a place settlers generally go
around rather than through. It got its name after a band
of Sauk Indians tried to hide some stolen horses there.
Severne sits on its southern edge like a fly on the rim
of a saucer. On the other side of the forest lies the
Great Black Swamp---a dark wooded bog nearly the size of
Connecticut---and beyond that is Lake Erie. Rumors
Angela M
Aug 19, 2014 rated it liked it
The story is compelling and the history is interesting but I couldn't quite connect with any of the sisters, except Susanna. A harrowing journey to find her kidnapped sisters leads Susanna through dangers of the wilderness , Indians both peaceful and not , a friendship with an orphan Indian girl, a man who loves her and the realization that her life is not her sisters'.

A satisfying ending gets this book a generous three stars .

Thanks to Smith Publicity and NetGalley .
Aug 13, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thanks to Martha Conway for this Goodreads give-away and a sneak peak at her new novel!! It's no secret that I love Historical Fiction, so I was very happy to win this book, but it was so much better than I was expecting! This is the story of a family of 5 girls living in a small "village" in 1806. Their parents have just recently passed. Another younger sister has been living in Philadelphia with an aunt and the girls are trying to decide whether to stay and try to run the family store or leave ...more
Diane Barnes
Jun 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book hit a lot of marks for me. Pioneer living by white and native Americans in the wilds of Ohio in 1805, check. Adventure tale involving snake bites, starvation, slavery, cruelty, kindness from unexpected quarters, and courage, check. Strong women characters meeting challenges and overcoming difficulties, check. Well researched, well written historical fiction, check.

The bare bones of this novel begins with the kidnapping of the 4 Quiner sisters, witnessed by the 5th sister, Susanna, who
Sep 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Susanna Quiner hid while she watched four of her sisters being violently torn from their home by a party of Potawatami warriors. Is this the opening scene of a propaganda piece designed to show us how savage the original inhabitants of North America were? Thieving Forest by Martha Conway may seem that way initially, but this story line is more complex than readers might think. It takes place in early 19th century America. The novel’s portrayal of the period is neither utopian nor dystopian. Mart ...more
Sep 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed-ng
I received an arc copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Thank you NetGalley!

3.5 Stars

Set in 1806 Severne, Ohio, the Thieving Forest is a tale of survival for Susanna Quiner and her 5 sisters as they learn to care for themselves and decide the fate of their future after the loss of both of their parents to Swamp Fever.

After a morning of bickering over what they should do, Susanna goes outside to tend to the chickens. After hearing and seeing some savages come through
Rated 4.5 - Also posted at where you can find more of my reviews by category tags.

A great pioneer story that takes place in Ohio and celebrates its rich history with a grand adventure of survival of the fittest.

I was so happy to find this book because I absolutely love, love, love Ohio history and to find a novel about the early inhabitants near the Black Swamp in Northwest Ohio that includes the Potawatomi, Wyandot, Shawnee and Ottawa Indians in the early 1800s just added t
Katherine Hajer
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Young Adult, historical
When Susanna looks down at the peapods again she sees the new black lace on her cuff. Her parents died almost two weeks ago and only one day apart, Ellen first and then Sirus, as unexpected as two suns setting in the same evening. Susanna, who is superstitious, has put a piece of rowan wood in the pocket of her black dress to guard against ghosts, although she misses her mother, and would almost chance the frightening encounter in order to see her again. She's lonely for her. She's lonely for b
Freeman Ng
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Before I get into why I liked this book so much even though I’m not a fan of historical fiction, I’m going to explain why fans of historical fiction will love it.

First, it’s got the "historical." Conway did her research, and the result is an incredibly detailed account of life in early 1800’s Ohio. And not just life in any one white settlement or Indian tribe, but across a wide range of diverse groups. Second, it’s got the "fiction." If you like stories, here are five: four sisters kidnapped by
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Delighted to read a new novel by Martha Conway, whose 12 Bliss St. I also enjoyed greatly Thieving Forest is a compelling historical quest novel that introduced me to much about the relationship between Europeans and Native Americans, as well as the ways and challenges of life, in 19th century Ohio. But the characters are at the heart of this story -- and the Quiner sisters' are a lively, intelligent, competitive brood whose forthright views get them into sticky situations that are historical, b ...more
Conan Putnam
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Riveting and incandescent as it is meticulously researched, Thieving Forest is an extraordinary novel woven out of the lore of Indian captivity narratives. After losing their parents, the orphaned Quiner sisters face the daunting prospect of making their family’s store thrive in the tiny settlement of Severne on the edge of Ohio’s Great Black Swamp. The sisters’ lives are suddenly turned upside down on a summer day in 1806 when a band of Potawatomi Indians raid their home and kidnap all but one, ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
What a marvellously accomplished and compelling book this is! Meticulously and painstakingly researched, carefully paced, with a cast of realistic and intriguing characters and with a plot that makes the novel a real page-turner, this is one of my reading highlights for this year. It tells the story of five sisters whose parents have died and who are coming to terms with their possible future in Severne, Ohio at the turn of the 19th century. Then one day they are captured in an Indian raid and t ...more
Malena Watrous
Dec 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved this novel from the first page to the last. I haven't read any pioneer stories since Little House, but this made me want to devour more of them. 5 sisters. Their parents newly dead. One goes out to feed the pig, and while she's out sees her sisters carried off by Potowatomi Indians. This launches an amazing story as she sets out into the nearby forest to try and get them back. Conway does a masterful job of going into the heads of the different sisters and also some more peripheral chara ...more
Richard Frankel
Aug 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Lovers of American historical fiction
Thieving Forest is an excellent work of historical fiction. It manages to sensitive characterizations with a taut, high-powered plot, all while digging deep into a fascinating historical era in ways that are engaging, believable, and extremely well realized.

One of the elements I look for in historical fiction is realistic portrayals of clashes of cultures that go beyond the simple good/bad or black/white that is all too common in plot-driven historical fiction. Thieving Forest follows a family'
Natashia Paiva
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book in a goodreads giveaway. This book was very entertaining. It kept me reaching for it every chance I had. It's one of those books that I don't want to end but want to know how it ends. I definitely recommend this to anyone interested in this genre. Even if you're not, give it a try. Ending was kinda of cliff hanger type, possibility for a sequel. If not, wish it ended a little differently. Still, excellent book! Great job, Martha Conway! Thank you for the free autographed copy of ...more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Thieving Forest is probably one of my favorite reads for this year. I love this time period and not many authors tackle writing during this time.
The story tells of sisters being kidnapped by Native Americans in the Ohio frontier. I absolutely loved the character of Susanna. I admired her determination to reunite with her sisters and her will to survive.
I thought this book reminded me of those written by the fabulous authors, Jody Hedlund and Laura Frantz.
A great, clean read.
5 stars.
I receive
Jan McClintock
Aug 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intriguing novel of early frontier women

This is a story of five young women, sisters, in the Ohio frontier and how their lives were turned upside down one summer day when they were kidnapped by Indians. Strong characters and a good plot made it very enjoyable. Chapters and sections are told from different character's points of view, but the author keeps the pacing tight and consistent, with a satisfying conclusion. Violence; no sex, but adult situations are referenced; no foul language.
May 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
In the early 1800's the four Quiner sisters are red-haired, rather rude, a bit spoiled and....kidnapped! Although all the girls have a story, Susanna is the main character we follow through her sustainability in the wilds of Ohio amongst various Native American tribes. Their fates are an interesting and sometimes tragic blend of passion and survival. A very good look at a time period and circumstance you don't find very often.
Boring... I have read so many quality books about Indian abductions and this one just could not measure up. I was excited to read about Indian abductions in the area where I live, but the story was unbelievable, unrealistic character interactions.. more of a young adult, child story.
Amanda Clay
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written historical novel set in the wilderness, full of character-driven turmoil. Conway's writing had me turning the pages!
Aug 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
So often, when I’ve really enjoyed a book, my review will make note of the author’s excellent character development. Thieving Forest, however, goes a step beyond. It is rare when an author creates such a compelling arc for the characters, especially when covering such a brief period in time.

Thieving Forest jumps right into the tale and off the characters go. The scene development is atmospheric and becomes a character unto itself. It seamlessly travels from beautiful to terrifying and back, all
Mar 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am fascinated by the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, who was captured by Comanches as a child and subsequently assimilated fully into their culture, and this tale of sisters taken captive by native Americans has a similar hook. Conway does an excellent job conveying the brutality and tedium of the sisters' forced journey through the American wilderness. Unexpected allies and terrors keep the narrative momentum crackling as the sisters navigate physical challenges, a harsh environment, and their o ...more
Sep 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed how this story portrays women as strong and able to fend for themselves during a time when it wasn't common. It was entertaining and had a good story.
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly immersive! Loved great American historical fiction, especially mid-west with Native American's and pioneering. Womens' point of view for the most part. Enjoyed !
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Martha Conway is the author of four novels including The Underground River (Touchstone 2017), which was a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. She's received several awards for historical fiction, including the North American Book Award. Her short fiction has been published in the Iowa Review, the Carolina Quarterly, The Quarterly, Folio, Massachusetts Review, and other journals. She teache ...more
“What if you do what you think is right, for yourself or someone else, but it doesn't make a difference."

- Susanna Quiner”
“Meera frowns. “Maybe the Little Warrior.” “Who is that?” A spirit, Meera explains, who appears in the form of a child dressed in war gear—eagle feathers and paint. “He comes to those alone in the forest to warn them of danger.” Susanna’s” 0 likes
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