FICTION

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

St. Martin's. Sept. 2017. 352p. ISBN 9781250093424. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9781250093448. F
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Fergus continues his reimagining of the American West in the 1870s in this follow-up to One Thousand White Women, which was inspired by a historic proposal (never carried out) to send white women west to marry Cheyenne men. The story is told through the journals of women involved in the "Brides-for-Indians" program; Meggie Kelly, the Irish wife of a Cheyenne warrior, and Molly McGill, a murderess who joins the program to escape a life sentence in Sing Sing. Both mothers, Meggie and Molly have lost children in acts of violence. The women channel their grief by training to be warriors and vowing for vengeance.
VERDICT Readers sensitive to racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes will find no enjoyment here, as the author ignores the more interesting stories of the Cheyenne and Lakota women who appear on the margins. However, fans of the TV show Hell on Wheels might find the novel of interest.

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