A Guest Review by Andrea
Review Summary: A good romance made even better when it exposes the obstacles a Native American man has to overcome when dealing with Child Services in South Dakota.
Blurb: Jerry Lincoln has a problem: his Sioux Falls IT consulting business has more work than one man can handle. Luckily, that means he can hire some help. Jerry just hopes his new employee, John Black Raven, ends up being more helpful than distracting—but John’s deep eyes and long hair are very distracting.
John came to town for an education and a chance at a life he couldn’t have on the reservation, but what’s important to him now is getting a job and keeping it. Six months ago, his sister died, and now her children are in foster care. Despite having the law on his side, John can’t get custody—can’t even see his niece and nephew.
As Jerry and John grow closer, John discovers he doesn’t have to struggle alone. Jerry helps him win visitation rights and provides much-needed support. Yet their victories aren’t without setbacks. Child Services is tangled up with money, politics, and red tape, and Native American children are their bread and butter. But John and Jerry are determined to fight the good fight and to win—in more ways than one.
I love to travel and experience different regions and cultures. It’s not surprising when you consider that I live in an area with very little diversity. We have the world’s largest Amish community here, which to someone outside might seem interesting , but basically99% of the people here are white and Christian. It can get a bit stifling for those of us who don’t fit into that mold. I can’t afford to escape the cultural monotony as much as I would like, so I turn to books to give me a window to the outside world. Andrew Grey gives me that. I get a glimpse into the lives of people living very differently from me and it’s never condescending or boring. He brings them to life by cutting through all the labels and bringing out their humanity, both the good and the bad. They never live in an ideal world or fit into some preconceived stereotype. I love that!
In The Good Fight I got to peek into the life of John Black Raven. Not surprisingly, he does encounter discrimination as a Native American. I expected to read about the commonly known problems of poverty on reservations, lack of job opportunities and the loss of culture and traditions. I was surprised when the author tackled a problem I knew nothing about, the politics of Child Services in South Dakota removing Native American children from their homes and the almost-insurmountable obstacles the families must overcome to get those children back. John Black Raven is battling to get his niece and nephew out of the system. At first, John seems cold, standoffish and extremely wary of white people. I immediately wanted to know his story and the reason behind his anger. He’s not an easy guy to know, so it takes him a while to open up. It was worth the wait for me and I liked him.
Jerry is the guy that manages to break through the walls John has built to protect himself. What I loved about Jerry is that he’s just as clueless as me. He has been living in his own world and is jolted out of it when he meets John. Jerry doesn’t swoop in and save the day for John, he offers him friendship, love and support. I’m not a fan of alpha-male hero types, I much prefer the good guy with his heart in the right place trying to do his best. That’s Jerry.
The romance between John and Jerry was great. I was drawn to them as a couple and felt the love they had for one another. They were the right balance of reality and sweetness for me. Their relationship wasn’t perfect, which is a good thing because I hate perfect. The star of the book though was the cultural divide and getting the kids out of the foster care system. I learned something while reading this book. I was both fascinated and appalled at the same time, but had the romance to distract me when I needed it.