Vocally graceful and fearlessly intimate, STEAL THE NORTH is a striking portrait of modern identity, faith, family, and love in all of its forms. In their starred review, Booklist said of the book’s plot and characters: “Bergstrom’s magnetic debut resonates on several levels, but first and foremost it is a poignant story of the love between two mismatched teens… The reader becomes involved in this thoroughly engaging first novel’s denouement because of how perceptively Bergstrom has drawn her central characters.”
With visceral writing and engaging characters, reminiscent of Ann Patchett and Sue Monk Kidd, Heather Brittain Bergstrom has delivered a novel that will appeal to literary and commercial readers alike, especially those who enjoy YA and Women’s fiction.
“Bergstrom has delivered a debut novel with deep emotional ties, linking the reader to Emmy as she navigated her relationship with Reuben, struggled to understand her mother’s past and discovered her own identity. I ached for Emmy as I used up the last of my tissues, and I trust that anyone who embarks on this journey will do the same.” —Elisabeth Atwood, BookPage
About the debut novel:
A novel of love in all its forms: for the land, for family, and the once-in-a-lifetime kind that catches two people when they least expect it.
Emmy is a shy, sheltered sixteen-year-old when her mom, Kate, sends her to eastern Washington to an aunt and uncle she never knew she had. Fifteen years earlier, Kate had abandoned her sister, Beth, when she fled her painful past and their fundamentalist church. And now, Beth believes Emmy’s participation in a faith healing is her last hope for having a child.
Emmy goes reluctantly, but before long she knows she has come home. She feels tied to the rugged landscape of coulees and scablands. And she meets Reuben, the Native American boy next door.
In a part of the country where the age-old tensions of cowboys versus Indians still play out, theirs is the kind of magical, fraught love that can only survive with the passion and resilience of youth. Their story is mirrored by the generation before them, who fears that their mistakes are doomed to repeat themselves in Emmy and Reuben. With Louise Erdrich’s sense of place and a love story in the tradition of Water for Elephants, this is an atmospheric family drama in which the question of home is a spiritual one, in which getting over the past is the only hope for the future.
About the author:
Heather Brittain Bergstrom has won fiction awards from The Atlantic Monthly, The Chicago Tribune, Narrative Magazine and others, and a story was named a distinguished and notable story for The Best American Short Stories in 2010. Her short fiction has been published in several literary journals and anthologies. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing. She is from eastern Washington and now resides in northern California.