Straight Flies the Arrow

Book Review

Laura Ironmonger, Staff Writer

Bridgewater Va. – Local author, Sydney Tooman Betts, has recently released the third and final book in her captivating trilogy. Set in 1841, Straight Flies the Arrow follows the story of a young wife within a Native American tribe. 

The novel, rich with history and culture Midwestern tribes during the 19th century, takes the reader back in time, filling them with knowledge of a culture and a people that is not well known to most present day readers. 

Betts paints a beautiful picture of a peaceful tribe, known as the Allies, who seek cooperation and alliance with their surrounding tribes, though their harsh reality is a lack of willingness and frank hostility from the tribe that neighbors them, known as the Sparrow Hawks. 

The tale follows that of a young woman called Small Doe, whose husband, the leader of the tribe, disappears after following the trail of an enemy warrior who brutally killed a member of their tribe. After Small Doe’s husband does not return from his vengeful mission, Small Doe’s world is turned upside down.

It is here that Betts begins to take the reader down a harrowing, emotional journey. Betts has an uncanny ability to draw the reader in and create a specific devotion to the characters. The reader follows with Small Doe as she struggles to figure out what her life is to look like now. 

Betts presents a question of loyalty and faithfulness as Small Doe is faced with the decision to marry a warrior chosen for her – and finally give up hope that her husband will return to her alive – or to fall victim to her suitor’s rivals. 

Junior Carolina Bouldin states of the novel, “I just love [Bett’s] work. She just has a heart for true, rich, Native American culture and makes that into such a beautiful story. Honestly, she’s just inspiring. And it’s really cool to have such a great author right in our backyard.” 

Truthfully, this is the best of Betts’ novels. The worst thing about this book is that she insists that it is that last she’ll write, at least for a while. Her characters come to life from the pages and they become people that touch the reader and take up residence within their very heart. 

Betts’ writing is unlike that of any other author, as she skillfully weaves suspense, love, and the Gospel into a novel that truly reaches a new depth within the hearts of her readers, deeming her works well-beloved by many who read them.