The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill

Jim Fergus. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (368p) ISBN 978-1-250-09342-4
Set in the 1880s, Fergus’s follow-up to his bestselling One Thousand White Women focuses on the women who fell in love with Cheyenne men during a vicious war between the United States government and the indigenous population. Told through two alternating journals that cover the same time period, the book begins with the logs of Margaret Kelly, who—along with her sister, Susie—was part of the Wives for Indians program that sent “undesirable” women from prisons and asylums to marry Native Americans as a means to encourage assimilation. The second journal is that of Molly McGill, another woman sent to marry into the Cheyenne tribe. But when Molly arrives in the West, the program is virtually defunct, and the group of Cheyenne she was sent to meet is now on the run. After their village is destroyed by U.S. soldiers in a raid that leaves their children and husbands dead, Margaret and Susie are overwhelmed with a desire for revenge and refuse to leave the Cheyenne. Meanwhile, Molly and the other women sent west must either return to imprisonment or make a life for themselves in the face of extreme violence and danger. Although historically accurate, the book’s reliance on the journal form leads to long monologues that read as wooden and redundant. However, the book starts quickly, bringing readers immediately into the time and place, and fans looking for adventure during the time of the Oregon Trail will find some thrills. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 09/12/2017
Genre: Fiction
Compact Disc - 978-1-4272-8945-2
Hardcover - 682 pages - 978-1-4328-4360-1
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-4272-9598-9
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