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Cherokee America

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  973 ratings  ·  197 reviews
From the author of the Pulitzer Prize finalist Maud's Line, an epic novel that follows a web of complex family alliances and culture clashes in the Cherokee Nation during the aftermath of the Civil War, and the unforgettable woman at its center.

It's the early spring of 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West. A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash, and a pre
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published February 19th 2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Danita L So happy that Mary and Amy asked and answered a question showing the ending of the book without specifying either the question or answer as spoilers. …moreSo happy that Mary and Amy asked and answered a question showing the ending of the book without specifying either the question or answer as spoilers. How kind of you.(less)

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Average rating 3.54  · 
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Feb 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
You have to go into this one prepared...

You need to know going into Cherokee America that there are gobs of characters, and they will be introduced rather quickly for the first chunk of the book. I read a review that mentioned bookmarking those pages where the characters are introduced, and that helped me keep up. Once you have the characters down, there is much to love within this story.

The year is 1875, and the setting is Cherokee Nation West. Cherokee America Singer, nicknamed “Check,” is ou
Angela M
Feb 16, 2019 marked it as setting-aside
There are just too many characters and too many distractions to hold my interest. I really was taken by Check, the main character snd interested in the time period . Maybe I’ll pick it up another time when I can focus more. For now , I’m setting this aside .
Anna (holdthepage)
I would like to thank Edelweiss for this ARC (Advanced Reader's Copy). It's due to be released February 19, 2019.

I had very mixed feelings about this one. Even though I was interested in reading the ARC and was sent it last May, I struggled to pick it up. I have fallen back in love with historical fiction and decided to pick this up and read it before it was released.

However, I found it difficult to get through. I kept putting it down. I nearly DNFed (did not finish) it several times. It is 40
Susan Waller
Mar 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
I heard about this book on NPR and looked forward to reading it. The descriptions were authentic and conveyed a strong sense of place. But it was not plot driven, and I struggled to get interested in it. There were way WAY too many descriptions of men masturbating. I found myself turning the page whenever a man reached for his belt. Maybe that's why I couldn't follow the plot - I kept skipping chunks of it! It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, but I was unable to appreciate it. ...more
Reading Badger
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
The book starts a bit slow, introducing the main character of the novel, Check Singer, the matriarch of an important family of farmers in the area, of Cherokee descent. Her husband is dying, and she has to deal with the fear and sadness of losing him but at the same time, stay strong for her five children. After that, I would have expected for the action to pick up a bit, but that did not happen.
Read the full review:

Final thoughts, I warmly recommend thi
The Lit Bitch
This book intrigued me for one reason—it sounded different. This is an ‘Own Voices’ book so I loved that it would be more about people on the fringes and as a historian this book held a lot of appeal to me.

It weaves Native American culture with a more traditional family narrative all set in a post Civil War world to create something unique and new. Based on that promise, I was eager to read this and see how it all worked together.

I haven’t read a lot of books set on the frontier or with Native A
Stacey D.
I almost passed this one up after reading reviews featuring a dislike of the large ensemble cast. Glad I didn't, as Cherokee America turned out to be one of this year's favorites for me. Yes, there are loads of characters, but they're all are so appealing, you want them to stick around. The novel is one large continuous story that's divvied up into smaller, palatable portions using clever subtitling, giving the story focus, direction and an old-timey appeal. So perfect here and in keeping with t ...more
Julia Simpson-Urrutia
Aug 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Check Singer is a character who grows on you, getting right under your skin. Her husband is very ill and she has children ranging from school age to grown. She worries and manages all of them as she does her farm and the people working it. Puny works for her and has got himself in a heap of woman trouble. I love the women in his life, especially Ezell. She has a heart of gold! Both she and Check (Cherokee) are strong, practical women with a sense of obligation to help other people and care for t ...more
Oct 04, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dialog and obsession with the penis was this book's downfall for me. I couldn't get past that stuff to be interested in any other aspect of the book. ...more
I didn’t realize when I began reading this book that Cherokee America was a woman’s name. Called Check for short, Cherokee America is the matriarch of a prosperous family living in the Cherokee Nation during the 1870’s.

Check’s husband is a white man who is on his death bed at the start of the novel. With a family of five boys and a potato farm to run, Check has her hands full as she tries to care for her husband in his final days.

It is during this time that some pivotal events occur in the lives
Karen Ashmore
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I normally don't like to read westerns or books that take place over 100 years ago but this book was great. Loosely based on true stories experienced by the author's ancestors in the Cherokee Nation, it was a fascinating exposure to Cherokee culture as well as an interesting story. Sadly, it recounted the racism experienced by blacks and Natives and the corrupt injustices that the US perpetrated in broken treaties. But the warmth and support of the Cherokee families for each other was heartwarmi ...more
Courtney Judy
Jul 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
There are a TON of characters in this story. At the very beginning of the book, you are given a list of all the characters and how they are connected (if they are connected) and I would recommend keeping those pages (yes, there are pages dedicated to these descriptions) handy for the first 25% of the book. They come at ya fast and furious. Once I had them figured out, for the most part, the story flowed much smoother.

Overall, Cherokee America was a wonderfully heartbreaking and thought provokin
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Verble is a remarkable storyteller. Her tales weave a gossamer web - shimmering and stronger than it might appear - of community, kin, Cherokee Nation-US tensions in 1875, and Black/White/Native relationships before prejudices and power locked hierarchies irrevocably in place. It was particularly interesting to me because my dad's family basically stole the land in the Oklahoma Land Rush near Talequah where the story is set. Strong and decent characters, humor, Cherokee dialogue patterns, snakes ...more
Oct 23, 2018 added it
Shelves: arc, abandonded

I kept trying to get through an arc of this and it just really wasn't clicking for me and then I remembered that I had struggled with her previous book Maud's Line and really only finished it because of book club, and I had no social pressure to finish this one, so I'm not. DOBBY IS A FREE ELF.

Fans of gritty historical epics or whatever will probably like this, and it's always great to have more #OwnVoices books about Native Americans, especially when a lot of other American historical fictio
Jul 30, 2018 marked it as dnf
*Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for giving me a copy in exchange for an honest review!*

I was interested in reading this because of my Cherokee heritage, and even reading just 10% into the book, I learned a lot. However, this book is dense and I'm tabling it (for now) until I can get it on audiobook.
John Hatley
Apr 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love this book. There are a number of reasons for that, but foremost amongst them is the fact that in my opinion it is just a good book. I enjoyed the plot, the characters and the view of the lives of the Cherokee in Indian Territory. I can recommend it highly.
Sotiris Karaiskos
A few years after the end of the American civil war, with the issue of the settlement of American natives largely in the past, the Cherokee, in their own semi-autonomous region, are trying to live in the only way that the government has left them: like the whites. Seemingly this is what happens, they live as peasants, have adopted Christianity, speak English and have the same dreams and the same aspirations as all the other citizens of the United States. Behind this picture, however, things are ...more
Jan 30, 2021 rated it it was ok
Too much masturbation.
Sarah Zama
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cherokee America, by Cherokee citizen Margaret Verble, is a Western at heart… but a kind of Western you’ve never read before. All the elements are there: cowboys and Indians, outlaws, the remembrance (and aftermath) of war, gold hiding and searching, sheriffs, farmers, and a close community in a wide open prairie. The plot also revolves around familiar themes (at least on the surface): revenge and the hunt for a hidden stash of gold.

Everything that you would expect from a good Western novel is t
Cherokee America is the name she was given at birth but she is known to family and friends as Check. This is her story.

It is 1875 in Cherokee Nation West (now Oklahoma) and Check is about to become a widow. She had married a white man and they raised five sons together after their first baby, a daughter, died. Now the two oldest boys are in their late teens and are considered men. Of the three younger boys, the youngest is a two-year-old toddler. Check and her husband are successful and wealthy
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This story takes place around 1875 in Indian Territory, what is now Oklahoma. It's a big, epic Western, but not what you'd expect-- it centers a woman, Check (aka Cherokee America) and her family of mixed Cherokees living in Cherokee Nation, many having been removed from Tennessee and walked the Trail of Tears.

This was character driven (and there are a lot of characters but there is a glossary at the front to refer back to) and nuanced in terms of families, community, social strata, politics and
Nov 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"This ain't a church service. It's an arrest." 1875, the Cherokee Nation. With the Trail of Tears in her recent past, Verble's larger-than-life Cherokee America, her community and her boys play out a yarn that will capture you and hold you hostage. It passed my most stringent criterion for a 5-star designation: would I read it again? Yes! So it was surprising to me when only 50%ish of my book group members liked this read. Complaints: the numerous intertwined community members and kinship member ...more
May 20, 2020 rated it did not like it
No plot and unlikeable characters. What more do I need to say?
Karna Converse
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An intricate story of white, black, full-blood, and mixed-blood families living together in the Cherokee Nation shortly after the Civil War

Aunt Check is both family and community matriarch—not much happens in the Nation without her knowledge or her consent—but when one of her sons is shot and a neighbor girl goes missing, she knows they must all act quickly before Federal Marshalls take action . . . and even if she doesn’t know the full story.

Cherokee America is loosely based on the lives of Ve
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult-books
An outstanding novel of the American frontier as I have never read before, based the history of the author’s family and viewed through the eyes of the Cherokee, white and African American people who lived in the Cherokee Nation, before it was Oklahoma. It is a domestic drama, murder mystery comedy of manners and sociological study, all rolled into one. It is rare to find a novel that is vastly entertaining and deeply thought provoking at the same time, and this one succeeds on all levels. Highly ...more
Jul 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
When I started this book I wasn't sure if continue with it. It felt disjointed and I was at first put off by Check. But I began to feel the rhythm of the story and then had trouble putting it down. It reflects life in 1875 on the Cherokee Nation's reservation in Oklahoma and this is not the kind of life we outsiders gave been led to expect. The kinship and community is well illustrated, as is the way the outside whites viewed the Cherokee. It is a lovely, sad story and I'm glad I stuck with it. ...more
Lindsey Z
Jan 17, 2020 marked it as dnf
DNF @ 30%. I absolutely loved Maud's Line and had been looking forward to this book, but it's an entirely different book in style, focus, and unfolding. I love Check but we only get glimpses of her. We mostly follow a huge cast of characters around without satisfying connection and without the "heart" of her first novel. And the writing in this story just isn't appealing. I'll check out what she writes next but this book just isn't for me. ...more
Jul 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Can I give it 3.5? The story was really good, well researched, and gives a much-needed perspective of reservation life. But she makes irritating use of sentence fragments, most of the males are constantly fucking or masturbating, and a preacher runs off with a married woman and that little thread is just dropped - we never find out about it so it's not even relevant (neither is all the aforementioned sex). There are not really any loose ends beyond that, but she invested a lot of character devel ...more
Neysa Zurkammer
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a descendant of a Cherokee great-great grandmother, I found this book very interesting. It tells what life was like for the nation after the American Civil War. Several families are featured in this story, so sometimes the multitude of characters can be confusing, but you get to know them over time. I enjoyed reading this and would like to see more from the same author.
Oct 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
This novel provides much more about life as a Cherokee citizen in Oklahoma than is ever learned in school.
Cherokee America is the matriarch of a family and I would have liked the story to be more about her. It was difficult to keep track of all the side characters in the story although a list of them and the relationships was helpful. The emphasis on the oldest son's sex life made the story tiresome.
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Mt. Lebanon Publi...: Cherokee America by Margaret Verble 1 2 Jun 04, 2020 05:11PM  

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Margaret Verble, an enrolled citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, has set her novel on her family’s Indian allotment land near Ft. Gibson, OK. She currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.

Verble is a successful business woman and novelist. Her consulting work has taken her to most states and to several foreign countries. Upon the publication of her debut novel, Maud’s Line, Margaret whittled

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