Daughter of the Fifth Moon
by Lynn Armistead McKee
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Her name is Nyna. Carib savages have destroyed her peaceful island village. They have killed her parents as well. Nyna escapes by drifting away in a canoe. Many days later, sick and dehydrated, Nyna's boat reaches a far-away island.

Joog, a young Ais boy, finds Nyna amongst the greenery. He alerts the adults who are suspicious of her unusual features. She's different and some Ais feel she represents evil spirits.

Nyna is just a young girl, though, nothing more. Joog's mother takes Nyna in and cares for her.

Nyna matures into a beautiful woman. However, she is never considered to be part of the Ais tribe. She is always an outsider. She longs to return home to her people.

Through the years, Joog is her friend. His support helps her endure loneliness and depression. Naturally, Nyna has feelings for Joog, but their differences prevent her from sharing her feelings. Joog must take an Ais wife. Nyna can only sit back and watch.

Daughter of the Fifth Moon details the life of a young Taino girl. Tragic circumstances force her from home. Now she must survive in another land until she can return again to her birthplace.

Lynn Armistead McKee has written an interesting tale of prehistoric fiction. Her story is set in the Caribbean islands before European occupation.

McKee is very familiar with the time period. She goes into great detail about the customs and beliefs of these island people. The descriptions of food, medicines and tools further enhance the story.

Though Daughter of the Fifth Moon has been deemed "prehistoric fiction," the author weaves in many modern story lines including adultery, homosexuality, deception and murder. You might think this sounds like a caveman Melrose Place, but I assure you the topics fit well and are quite plausible.

The loyal 2.5 readers of my reviews know that I try to stay away from romance novels. The phrase alone conjures up a vision of Fabio riding up on a bareback horse and rescuing the fair maiden because she doesn't have the brains to save herself.

I am pleased to say that Daughter of the Fifth Moon is nothing like this image. There's no Fabio or white horse. In fact, the main character can actually think on her own! Nyna is strong-willed and independent. In fact, all of the characters have a nice three-dimensional shape to them.

McKee's work is an all-encompassing novel filled with triumph, tragedy, history and romance. Women may enjoy the story more than men might, but none will be disappointed.

The ending suggests a possible sequel. Some readers may not like the broad conclusion. Others will appreciate the sense of hope McKee offers.

I wholeheartedly recommend Daughter of the Fifth Moon. The book was given to me and I am grateful for the gift. I would have never picked it up on my own. The term "prehistoric fiction" would have turned me off earlier. After reading Lynn McKee's novel, I have changed my opinion.

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Lynn McKee