Classified correctly under Religion and Spirituality, Teen & Young Adult and Faith based books, this story weaves its own religious tapestry. It melds Christianity with Animism of the early Native American Indians. While Hannah engages in a ‘spirit dance’ to connect with the ‘Great spirit’, she prays to her Christian God—often quoting scripture. Occasionally, her prayers smack more of deal-making with the Lord whereas her husband is more fundamentally Christian and acknowledges Jesus.
There is also a combined belief effort used in healing the sick; Christian prayers and a sweat lodge, for instance. Painted Hands, an American Indian informs us, “The purpose of the sweat lodge goes beyond getting the body clean. The sweat lodge serves to cleanse the mind, body, spirit and soul. Its ceremony is a means of prayer and connecting with your spirit and the spirits of the grandfathers.”
Author, Cissy Hunt uses simple language and tone matching the book’s early setting. It begins with the end as Hannah reflects on her life—much like the way the movie, Titanic, starts. Throughout the book we time jump with her to specific memories until we experience the full emotional circle with Hannah.
Written primarily in third person, this story could have been just as easily written in first person diary form as it felt autobiographical at times—and long—at 345 pages. However, anyone desiring a decent, clean historical fiction will likely find Spirit Dancer a good read. I rate this book 3.5 out of five stars.