The Plume Hunter

Sunday, December 11, 2011

http://www.fashioningfeathers.com/
Hi Friends! That's interesting headgear in the photo at the top of this post, isn't it? It's from the early 1900's and that is a real, albeit dead, Bird of Paradise perched on top of that hat.

How about this one?

http://yeoldefashion.tumblr.com/post/2928743616/more-exotic-birds-were-especially-prized-for

Honestly, I don't understand why anyone would have every thought of these hats as fashionable. Of course, neither do I get the current fashion statement of wearing your pants hanging below your backside, so maybe I'm just fashion-challenged. Nevertheless, wearing dead birds on one's head just seems a bit bizarre to me. To me these hats are nothing less than hideous.

But, Isn't that a gorgeous photo on the cover of this book! Those beautiful feathers look so much better on a bird than a hat, I think.

Until this week, when I read the facinating new novel, The Plume Hunter, by my friend, Renee Thompson, I had no idea that millions of birds were killed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by plume hunters for the sake of this fashion trend, and that the trend was the impetus for the Audubon Society.  

Here's the official book description: 

The Plume Hunter is a moving story of conflict, friendship, and love, which follows the life of Fin McFaddin, a late-nineteenth century Oregon outdoorsman who takes to plume hunting – killing birds to collect feathers for women’s hats – to support his widowed mother. In 1885, more than five million birds were killed in the United States for the millinery industry, prompting the formation of the Audubon Society. The novel brings to life an era of our country’s natural history seldom explored in fiction, and follows Fin’s relationships with his lifelong friends as they struggle to adapt to society’s changing mores.

Sound interesting? Well, it is! I don't want to say too much about the book, because it would spoil it for you, but it's one of those books that are hard to put down. One thing, though...you might want to keep a tissue nearby when you get toward the end. ;)

I've known Renee for about 10 years, when she, another friend, and I formed a small writer's group. Renee and I lost touch for awhile when she moved to California, but have since reconnected. She writes beautifully, and her stories are interesting and so, so compelling. I highly recommend The Plume Hunter--not just because Renee is my friend, but because the book is fantastic! And, I'm so excited to be able to introduce her work to you!

This is actually Renee's second novel. I'm reading her first novel, The Bridge at Valentine, right now. I don't know much about it yet, except that it has a riveting beginning, but Larry McMurtry had this to say about it: “The Bridge at Valentine is very original and very appealing. Renée Thompson has an angle of attack that is all her own.” – Larry McMurtry, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lonesome Dove.

If you're a reader, or have any readers on your Christmas list, I hope you'll give these books a try. You'll be so glad you did. And, you can contact Renee here. I know she'd love to hear your thoughts. Be sure to tell her I sent you! :) Oh, and take the time to read through her blog, if you can. It's worth it, if just for the story of the scorpion that fell onto her head! LOL!!!

Hope you have a splendid week and get all your holiday preparations finished with time to spare!

~Hugs,
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1 comment :

Renee Thompson said...

Cheryl, thanks so much for posting this -- wonderful words from a wonderful friend.

Have a fabulous holiday!

xo Renee