Listening For Drums


Dr. Carrie Nelson has just received a prestigious award that will allow her to stay on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana for a whole year to carry out her research.  Unfortunately, her father and her fiancé don’t approve. They want her back home in Philly to get married and take a position with her father’s practice.  Carrie is torn between home and the place where she is discovering her heart resides.  Along the way, she also discovers a growing passion for Nate, the handsome surgeon who practices at the reservation hospital.  Carrie’s love of the Blackfeet people and her near obsession with their traditional medicine, a passion she learned from her doctor grandmother, drives her to accept the post on the reservation, costs be damned.  When she gets to work with the tribe’s medicine woman, it’s a dream come true. Her year on the reservation is one of discovery and contemplation.

The writing here is solidly evocative, bringing the reader into the beauty as well as the difficulties of life on the reservation where community is strong but resources and opportunities are scarce. The characters are well drawn and the rugged Montana environment becomes a character in itself.  Unfortunately, the plot often bogs down in the many iterations of Carrie’s emotional struggles with her father and fiancé, her special relationship with her grandmother and the details of native medicine. Carrie’s relationship with Nate seems underdeveloped, feeling like an afterthought.  The story’s premise is great, and for the reader interested in how modern medicine can work hand in hand with traditional medicine, “Listening to Drums” will be a satisfying read.

Marc Joseph