Listening for Drums, by Robin Strachan: A Young Doctor Goes to Work Among the Blackfeet

listening_for_drumsOn the Blackfeet reservation near Glacier Park, a she-wolf awaits. Will Dr. Carrie Nelson answer its call?

Listening for Drums ($15.95, 264 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-611-3) is Robin Strachan’s third work of women’s fiction/contemporary romance. A doctor dedicated to helping the Blackfeet Indians must choose between her calling and her fiancé and family.

** Click the cover image to order online **

** Or buy it for your Kindle, Nook, or from Kobo or iBooks **

“Reading Listening for Drums is a delight on all levels. Part travelogue, part romance, part Native American cultural lesson, part study in relationships, this novel is a deeply satisfying experience.” Read more….

—Lee Ambrose for Story Circle Book Reviews

4 Stars: “Strachan portrays Carrie as a strong character and readers will see exactly how resilient she can be when pushed to the limit. There are many obstacles to overcome and decisions to be made, and the author navigates them flawlessly. The landscape of Glacier National Park is breathtaking too!” Read more….

—Jaime A. Geraldi for RT Book Reviews

5 Stars: “An enthralling and fascinating look at the work the Blackfeet Volunteer Medical Corps accomplishes each year as seen through the eyes of a young osteopath who defies her overbearing father and controlling fiancé to determine her own future. [….] Dr. Carrie Nelson is a marvelous character whose story feels quite like a coming of age tale as the twenty-eight-year-old strikes out on her own, despite the vigorous disapproval of her father and the threats of her fiancé. Seeing Glacier National Park and north-western Montana through her eyes is marvelous, and the lives she interacts with as Dr. Golden Hair are unforgettable. Listening for Drums is most highly recommended.”  Read more….

—Jack Magnus for Readers’ Favorite Reviews

Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Carrie Nelson has a calling: to help the Blackfeet Indians by volunteering at the tiny federal hospital outside of Glacier National Park and studying native medicine. Now the prestigious Roosevelt Award will cover her expenses and fund her research for a year. To her dismay, her father and her fiancé believe she is squandering her future. Both doctors, they want her back in Philadelphia, working in her father’s comfortable practice.

Inspired by her beloved grandmother, a trail-blazing doctor who believes in holistic medicine, Carrie holds her ground. She resists her fiancé’s stealth campaign to bring her home and falls in love with the Blackfeet people, the local medicine woman, and the spectacular though harsh land itself. Then there is Nate, the gifted young surgeon drawn to this remote area in Montana by a mysterious past.

Watched over by a she-wolf, Dr. Golden Hair is determined to find her rightful place in the universe. But what if the price of her quest is too high? Will it destroy her family, drive away her fiancé, and upend her promising career?

Says Strachan, “This novel was inspired by the work of a dedicated group of volunteer physicians who go to the Blackfeet Indian reservation each July to provide care that otherwise wouldn’t be available in such a remote location. After visiting the reservation, experiencing the grandeur of Glacier National Park, and seeing the Blackfeet Medical Corps in action, I was certain readers would love the story of a young female physician who devotes her life to the Blackfeet people.”

Robin Strachan’s poetry, fiction, and nonfiction have been published in local, regional, and national publications for over thirty years. Her last novel with Camel Press was Designing Hearts. Born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, she began her writing career as a reporter doing features. Since 1981, Ms. Strachan has served in executive and development roles in higher education, health care, and medical research. She holds a bachelor of arts degree with dual majors in English and philosophy. She is also a published poet and a professional artist. She makes her home in the Chicago area. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

On a gorgeous Friday evening in mid-July, with most of the medical corps volunteers and their families in town and Indian Days in full swing, Carrie accompanied Dr. Jim and Lois to the powwow grounds to watch competitive dancing. The sacred campground was the hub of Indian Days, featuring a small stadium and bleachers. Over the loudspeaker, the voice of the announcer could be heard, introducing each event.

They walked around the festival, stopping to look at booths selling trinkets, jewelry, leather garments, and other carnival fare. As they entered the stadium, Carrie saw Nate sitting on one of the bleachers. It was the first time she had seen him in anything other than scrubs and sporting two days’ growth of beard. Tonight he looked dashing in dark navy jeans and a white dress shirt open at the neck. Although she found Tom attractive and sexy, Carrie’s first thought upon seeing Nate was that he was the most handsome man she had ever seen. With his light-brown curls, show-stopping blue eyes, and muscular physique, he could have been an actor playing the part of a television surgeon.

“Carrie, over here!” Nate’s face lit up when he saw her. He beckoned her to join him on the bench. Dr. Jim and Lois stopped to talk with a group of volunteers, leaving Carrie and Nate alone.

“I’m not used to seeing you in anything other than scrubs,” she said. “I almost didn’t recognize you.”

“You clean up well, too,” he said with a grin. “Did your fiancé leave already?”

She grew quiet. “He was just here for the weekend.”

“So, is he okay with you staying here for a year?”

“No,” she said without hesitation. “But there’s a long line of people not happy with me over that decision. My father is mad that I didn’t start working in his practice like he expected me to. My mother is just now able to speak to me without crying. The truth is Tom came here to talk some sense into me. It just happened to sound more like an ultimatum.”

“That bad?” Nate looked at her. “They should be proud of you.” He smiled. “I am.”

“Thanks.” She smiled back. “My grandmother is proud of me, but that’s a story for another time. The bottom line is that I made a choice that may end up ruining my life—or so I’m told. My father may never speak to me again, and my fiancé is telling me I have a decision to make, and we know what that is.”

“Hmm. If it’s any comfort, my mother still cries on holidays when I see her. And my fiancée, Marisa, broke up with me over my coming here. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, I think it was probably for the best. She would’ve hated these long hours. I’m doing far more surgeries here than I ever did back home.”

“I bet. You probably see a lot of broken bones from falling off horses … or cliffs.”

“You’d be amazed how many gunshot and knife wounds I get.” He shook his head. “I also see my fair share of limbs that need to be removed—complications of diabetes, stuff like that. Tumors, bowel resections, bypasses, what have you. It keeps me on my toes and staying abreast of the newest techniques. If I were in a bigger hospital, I wouldn’t get to do as many different procedures. It’s great to be able to use everything I’ve been taught.”

“I think so, too.” Carrie and Nate exchanged smiles of understanding. “I hope you’ll call on me again some time to assist. I enjoyed my surgical rotations.”

“You bet. Hey, do you want to walk around a little?”

They strolled over to join Dr. Jim and Lois in an area where Blackfeet competitive dancers were lining up behind their chief and the governor of Montana. Dancers of all ages stood solemnly in line for their turn to proceed into the inner circle. Some of the men wore long-feathered headdresses. Everyone was decked out in brightly colored costumes, beads, and moccasins. As the drumming began, Carrie felt each beat in her chest, thumping in perfect rhythm with her heart. Members of the medical corps were thrilled by the invitation to walk with the tribal members.

“It all has a deeper meaning, doesn’t it?” she asked Dr. Jim in a low voice as she and Nate joined the volunteers in line to go into the inner circle. “What they wear, what they sing, the dance steps, even the number of feathers means something. I can’t get enough.”

“Sometimes I forget to breathe.”

Comments are closed.