Fire Keeper's Daughter

The hybrid lives of modern Native Americans are at the centre of this début novel from Angeline Boulley. The protagonist, Daunis Fontaine, is an eighteen-year-old bi-racial woman living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. Daunis struggles to find where she fits in with either her father’s family on the Ojibwe reservation or her mother’s French/Italian family in Sault St Marie. Her plans to attend university with her best friend Lily are disrupted by a series of drug-related incidents in her Ojibwe community.

The plot reveals the devastation of the methamphetamine epidemic in America against the background of Daunis’s tragic personal history and challenging family life. There is a lot to like about this book – the author does not hold back in her gritty portrayal of modern Native American life and the plot twists kept this reader engaged. The book is at its best in conveying the rich traditions of the Ojibwe community, using a cast of complicated characters to showcase individuality and the importance of family.

This is not a book for the faint of heart or younger readers. This reader was left feeling unsettled by the way these events were inserted into the plot but then left undeveloped and unexamined. An interesting coming-of-age novel that delivers adventure and romance in an enticing detective story but lacks depth in its character development.

Book Cover - Fire Keeper's Daughter
Publication Date
March 2021