Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom

The New York Times bestselling author of the “touching” ( The Boston Globe ) book club classics The Kitchen House and the “emotionally rewarding” ( Booklist ) Glory Over Everything returns with a sweeping saga inspired by the true story of Crow Mary—an indigenous woman torn between two worlds in 19th-century North America.

In 1872, sixteen-year-old Goes First, a Crow Native woman, marries Abe Farwell, a white fur trader. He gives her the name Mary, and they set off on the long trip to his trading post in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan, Canada. Along the way, she finds a fast friend in a Métis named Jeannie; makes a lifelong enemy in a wolfer named Stiller; and despite learning a dark secret of Farwell’s past, falls in love with her husband.

The winter trading season passes peacefully. Then, on the eve of their return to Montana, a group of drunken whiskey traders slaughters forty Nakota—despite Farwell’s efforts to stop them. Mary, hiding from the hail of bullets, sees the murderers, including Stiller, take five Nakota women back to their fort. She begs Farwell to save them, and when he refuses, Mary takes two guns, creeps into the fort, and saves the women from certain death. Thus, she sets off a whirlwind of colliding cultures that brings out the worst and best in the cast of unforgettable characters and pushes the love between Farwell and Crow Mary to the breaking point.

From an author with a “stirring and uplifting” (David R. Gillham, New York Times bestselling author) voice, Crow Mary sweeps across decades and the landscape of the upper West and Canada, showcasing the beauty of the natural world, while at the same time probing the intimacies of a marriage and one woman’s heart.

Hardcover, 368 pages
Expected publication June 6, 2023 
by Atria Books
4.5/5 stars

I love HF when it’s based on real people from the past. Such is the case with this book.

It's 1872 when  16 year old, Goes First marries Abe Farwell. One is a Crow Native woman, and the other a white fur trader. What follows is Mary‘s journey (her name was changed) to Saskatchewan. Its at their trading post where everything changes. Told from her point of you, she tells what her life is like, from her strong friendship with a Métis woman, to her marriage, and of obstacles and tragedies she faces along the way. Yes I did Google Crow Mary and love how the author stayed true to history.

Crow Mary is a sad piece of Canadian history along with the repercussions that follows Mary and Abe. It’s a past that doesn’t let go many, many snows later. What’s happens to the Crow people is sad, I felt many emotions reading the last half of this book.

The author notes tells how the author has been researching Crow Mary’s story since 2000, it definitely shows in her writing. So glad I read this, it’s a story that will stay with me.

Crow Mary hits bookshelves on June 6th.

My thanks to Atria Books (via NetGalley) for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

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