The Shelters of Stone
By Jean M. Auel
Book Five of the Earth's Children Series takes the main characters, Ayla and Jondalar, back to Jondalar's home, the Ninth Cave of the Zelandonii. Ayla is nervous to meet Jondalar's family but after more than a year of traveling to get there, she is ready.
As has been the case with all the groups of people they've encountered on the way, Jondalar's people are startled by the woman with the horses and wolf as traveling companions. But because they remember Jondalar, some of them are more willing to accept her at face value, including Jondalar's family, although some members of the community hold grudges against Jondalar and take it out on Ayla.
Once again, Ayla comes to the rescue of various individuals in her new community, including a baby who is being neglected and a boy who gets gored by a wooly rhinoceros. Ayla struggles with her innate ability to heal and faces some tough choices.
In The Shelters of Stone, Ayla and Jondalar finally become officially "mated" and have a baby to expand their family as they start this new life.
This is not my favorite book in the series. Partially because it is so dang long (753 pages, in case you were wondering why I haven't posted anything in awhile). Partially because now that they're "back home", they have to re-tell their story several times (and the author includes these retellings in the book), which gets a little redundant. However, it does have some interesting plot twists and new adventures for the pair, as well as some very novel characters.
Once again, I do really love Auel's ability to tell a story and capture the feeling of a situation through her words (although the "adult" portions of the book are pretty over-the-top graphic). And this is the last "old" book in the series (one that I have read before). Next will be the last book in the series that was just published this year, The Land of Painted Caves (watch for my review as soon as it comes up in my library queue!)