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Cherokee America

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  128 ratings  ·  57 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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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  128 ratings  ·  57 reviews

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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 .
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Oct 23, 2018 added it
Shelves: abandonded, arc

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
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
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.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it liked it
I wanted to like this book more than I did. That's disappointing, but I'm glad I read it and I would read more by this author.
DNF. Too many characters to follow, not enough of Check Singer or Cherokee culture, for me anyway. Well written, nicely historically gritty, but I expected something different and it just didn't catch for me. :(
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
more on

When I first got this book, I was really excited. I wanted to love it, but the farther I got into the book, my excitement faded. In saying that, this book wasn't terrible, it just wasn't fabulous, for me.

Let's start with what I really loved. I really enjoyed the descriptions in this book. Margaret Verble built such a vibrant world that I my lack of familiarity with Native American history didn't feel insurmountable. I felt like I knew this world, could und
Lauren A.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
I wanted to like this book, I really did and I appreciate the complexity of Check's character as well as the use of the Cherokee written language throughout the text without English translation. But...I just couldn't figure out what this story was about. Plots started then were lost to new plots, after hundred or so pages I just went along for the ride and rolled with it. The ending was fine, but not satisfying because the whole book before that wasn't very satisfying. I enjoyed the real history ...more
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.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I received a copy to review from NetGalley.

I liked this book (the 2.5 to 3 range) and enjoyed learning a little bit about Cherokee Nation West. The tagline of "A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, a gold stash, and a preacher have all gone missing." is very intriguing but misleading. They have not gone missing nor are they all linked.

This is a novel that wants to be a family epic like The Son by Philipp Meyer but the novel is a little disjointed. I think it feels this way because th
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The cover art for Cherokee America drew me in before I picked up the book. A lone woman on the prairie, with the wind tumbling through her shawl. It evoked that same sense of loneliness and longing as Andrew Wyeth's painting, Christina's World. I wanted to know this woman's story, and after reading the synopsis was hooked. 

Cherokee America opens in a late 1800's small town, as Check (Aunt Check to most folks) runs errands at the local general store. This simple setting, the hub center of the tow
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first heard about this book while listening to “Fresh Air” on NPR. They were interviewing the author and I found it so fascinating I knew I had to pick up the book. “Cherokee America” is a novel of historical fiction based loosely on the real life of a woman named Cherokee America Rogers. The story is set in what was then called Indian Territory, 1875, in Oklahoma, and reveals what life was like for people of all races, bloodlines, mixed races, class, and gender in the post-Civil War era on tr ...more
Apr 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Cherokee (Check) America is a strong woman dealing with a dying husband, a large farm and ferry in Indian Territory (today's Oklahoma), a family and workers prone to getting into trouble, and tense situations that seem to be spiralling out of control. Set in 1875, this is a western tale like you've probably never read. Yes, there are a lot of characters, but they are so well drawn, you'll soon keep most of them straight. In assition to her personal challenges, the community as a whole is doing w ...more
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
An enjoyable and informative work of historical fiction, which offers good insight into the daily life, struggle, humor and intelligence of the people living within the Cherokee Nation during the late 19th century, in the wake the Trail of Tears. Based on what is known about individuals who were Cherokee, mixed blood, African-American and white, the author has constructed a plausible and engaging narrative, covering the events of one particulate summer. The result is a kind of layer-cake view of ...more
Kim McGee
Nov 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Cherokee, called Aunt Check or Check, is part of the Cherokee Nation and married to a white man. Her husband is dying leaving Check to raise her three boys and servants alone. There is an interesting mix of white, Native American and blacks living peacefully but when racial squabbles happen that peace turns out to be a thing of the past. A child is found hurt and a well-respected man is killed drawing a line in the sand between the Nation and the rest of the world. It is a hard life and secrets ...more
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found Cherokee America fascinating. I loved the fact that most of the characters (all from the 1870's) were based on real people several of whom were related to the author. This book falls into the "Historical Fiction" genre, and it did not feel contrived. Hopefully, everyone is aware of the Trail of Tears, but there is so much more to learn about the Cherokee. I did read Margaret Verble's Maud's Line (first novel and a finalist for a Pulitizer Prize) first. However, I enjoyed Cherokee America ...more
Dee Doyle
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found this very interesting. It is based on a Cherokee America. She was a Cherokee married to a white man. It tells loosely of her struggle whit her husband's death. And how with the help of others and various terrible incidents she was able to move forward through her grief of losing her husband and eventually one of her sons.

A lot of detail was given as to the way of life the Cherokee, Negroes, whites, Crows and others tribes lived following the Trail of Tears and the settlement on barrier l
Ann ~ SheLovesThePages
I love historical fiction and this did not disappoint. I have not read much Native American historical fiction, so I learned a lot. There are many characters, and in books where they throw many characters at you in the begging, a cheat sheet helped!
I thought it was thought provoking. I also felt a connection with the main character, Check. Normally when one thinks of a story taking place after the civil war, they don’t think it’s going to be something focused on a Cherokee family.
It was one of
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it
I would have liked to have more of an insight into Check’s inner life rather than her sons’ libidos. I stuck with it in hopes of learning more about that era of Cherokee culture and history. The second half moved more quickly than the first half. The author did something I’ve been noticing a lot lately: just referring to characters by their names and never developing a strong visual or distinctive image of them. Many modern authors could learn something from Charles Dickens in that department.
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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