Beneath the bending skies A novel

Jane Kirkpatrick, 1946-

Book - 2022

"A young woman torn between duty and her own happiness defies her father to become the wife of a man with few prospects. Based on a true story"--

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Biographical fiction
Western fiction
Grand Rapids, Michigan : Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group [2022]
Main Author
Jane Kirkpatrick, 1946- (author)
Physical Description
342 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

After her mother's death, Mollie Sheehan is her father's whole world as they traverse the late-nineteenth-century frontier. But his fixation on the biblical commandment to honor one's parents challenges Mollie when she finds the fairy-tale love for which she has always longed. Through marriage and the making of a family, Mollie wrestles with whether duty or love will ever heal the brokenness from the father she left behind. When she arrives at a Native American reservation, Mollie learns about their struggles for their land, identity, and autonomy and how the smallest gestures often carry the most meaning. Kirkpatrick (The Healing of Natalie Curtis, 2021) offers a thoughtful exploration of the dualities that women embody from daughterhood to womanhood and the agility required to navigate within differing roles. Based on the life of Mary "Mollie" Sheehan Ronan, wife of well-published Flathead Indian Reservation agent Peter Ronan, this tale also brings insight and empathy to historical intercultural relations. Readers will enjoy the sweeping landscapes, complex father-daughter relationship, and the unassuming power and relevancy of this wonderfully multilayered novel.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Kirkpatrick (The Healing of Natalie Curtis) tells the story of real-life woman of the frontier Mary "Mollie" Sheehan in this pleasant fictionalized account of her life. After Mollie's mother dies in 1858, six-year-old Mollie moves from Ireland to Kentucky with her father, James, and her siblings. Years later, James remarries and the family decamps to Montana, where 14-year-old Mollie is courted by Peter Ronan, age 24 . With her father preoccupied with work, Mollie keeps the courtship a secret for two years, but when the truth comes out, her father forces her to end the relationship and relocates the family to California. She prays for years to be reunited with Peter until her father finally consents and the couple marries and settles down in Montana. Mollie's relationship with her father remains complex, but they make peace. Contemporary audiences might have a hard time swallowing the historically accurate relationship between teenage Mollie and the significantly older Peter, but her travels across the Western U.S. offer an enjoyable look at hardscrabble life on the frontier. Inspirational historical fans will find plenty to delight in. (Sept.)

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