Notes From The Frontier
CROW MARY, Exciting New Book and Upcoming Bestseller
NYT bestselling author, Kathleen Grissom, brings to life the amazing and heroic tale of a real-life Crow woman, once lost to history, who married a white fur trader and struggled to live in a world not her own and to protect her people and other Native Americans.
Kathleen Grissom is a giant in historical fiction and has already written two New York Times bestsellers, THE KITCHEN HOUSE (which has sold over 1.3 million copies) and GLORY OVER EVERYTHING. I loved them both and highly recommend them. The bar for her third novel has been very high, not only for her readers but for Kathleen herself.
CROW MARY had been in Kathleen's head for decades since she first visited a historical village in Canada where she grew up. There, a historical re-enactor at a living history museum introduced her to the story of a courageous Indigenous Crow woman who had really existed, but whose story had been lost largely to mainstream history. Kathleen was immediately smitten and knew that some day, she would write a novel about the real CROW MARY.
Now that book is complete and being printed as I write this. AND Notes from the Frontier readers get an early sneak peek! CROW MARY is slated for publication on June 5, 2023 (but readers can order early online--see links below at the bottom of this post).
Kathleen worked on the book for decades. She spent years researching and reached out to the Crow Nation to help ensure her book was accurate and respectful of Crow culture and history. And, amazingly, Kathleen was able to find the real Crow Mary's great granddaughter, Nedra Farwell Brown, who wrote a very touching FORWARD for Kathleen's book.
Once I opened the cover and read the opening scene, I was immediately captivated! And, like wild horses running through the pages, that compulsion never let up. Kathleen Grissom has done it again.
Crow Mary was a real woman. She existed and her story was lost in the mists of time like so many indigenous stories. But Grissom brings the tale to spectacular, blood-and-bone life, with all its grit and violence, but also beauty and strength. CROW MARY is about a fiercely independent but also very cerebral Native American woman caught in a world not her own. She must navigate a white-man's world after marrying a fur-trader (who also existed). But, throughout the book and even her episodes of happiness, there is an undertow of menace.
CROW MARY witnesses firsthand how Native Americans and whites try to trade with each other and co-exist at her husband's large trading post. But the presence of whiskey (which, let's face it, was a common culprit in much of the frontier's violent history) seems always the final ignition point for exploding underlying tensions between whites and American Indian tribes.
For all the tribulations and violence Crow Mary faces, there is much beauty in this book too. I loved, for example, the lyrical refrain throughout the book that marks time passing: "It was early September, in the moon that plums fall" or "May, the moon when chokecherries bloom" or "June, the moon when the katydids sing."
Grissom's years of exhaustive research and working with Crow elders to ensure her depictions are accurate and respectful are evident throughout. Her scenes of buffalo being butchered, how a cradleboard is made, the many plants used for medicinal purposes, are just some examples that make the Crow culture come alive.
Crow Mary does much more than make cradleboards and nurse the sick. She is not a passive character in this novel. Growing up in her Crow tribe, her grandfather taught her to ride and shoot as well as any Crow or white man. And in her struggles, she must use these skills to help her people and to save other Tribal women. These actions are based on the actual life of the real CROW MARY.
In fact, many Native women showed this kind of courage, were excellent horsewomen and shooters, and showed courage in battle or supporting the male warriors in battle. Many took up arms to defend their tribes and they risked their lives running horses, ammunition, food and water to male warriors out in battle, as well as digging trenches and breast works. (These themes play a central theme in my own upcoming novel and it is why I love CROW MARY so much!)
In short, I would give CROW MARY ten stars if I could. Kathleen Grissom has written a magnificently compelling historical fiction novel that, once you open its pages, pulls you into a magical world of another time and another culture. CROW MARY is a tribute to brave women whose stories were lost long ago but are now being found. Grissom makes the story of this unsung Native woman of courage and integrity soar back into our contemporary lives. And those who read it will be richer for it.
CROW MARY just recently went on sale through online links. The hardcover book is scheduled to be published on June 5, 2023, when it will be in bookstores. But you can order your copy now by pressing one of the following links:
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