The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin; now out in Trade Paperback
9 March 1876
My name is Meggie Kelly and I take up this pencil with my twin sister, Susie. We have nothing left, less than nothing. The village of our People has been destroyed, all our possessions burned, our friends butchered by the soldiers, our baby daughters gone, frozen to death on an ungodly trek across these rocky mountains. Empty of human feeling, half-dead ourselves, all that remains of us intact are hearts turned to stone. We curse the U.S. government, we curse the Army, we curse the savagery of mankind, white and Indian alike. We curse God in his heaven. Do not underestimate the power of a mother’s vengeance…
So begins the Journal of Margaret Kelly, a woman who participated in the U.S. government’s “Brides for Indians” program in 1873, a program whose conceit was that the way to peace between the United States and the Cheyenne Nation was for One Thousand White Woman to be given as brides in exchange for three hundred horses. These “brides” were mostly fallen women; women in prison, prostitutes, the occasional adventurer, or those incarcerated in asylums. No one expected this program to work. And the brides themselves thought of it simply as a chance at freedom. But many of them fell in love with their Cheyenne spouses and had children with them…and became Cheyenne themselves.
The Vengeance of Mothers explores what happens to the bonds between wives and husbands, children and mothers, when society sees them as “unspeakable.” What does it mean to be white, to be Cheyenne, and how far will these women go to avenge the ones they love? With vivid detail and keen emotional depth, Jim Fergus brings to light a time and place in American history and fills it with unforgettable characters who live and breathe with a passion we can relate to even today. ( publisher)
About the author:
Jim Fergus is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in numerous national magazines and newspapers. He is the author of several fiction and non-fiction books. Jim divides his time between southern Arizona, northern Colorado, and France.
Praise for THE VENGEANCE OF MOTHERS
“THE VENGEANCE OF MOTHERS reads like a fact-based tale, and the characters are as real as any pioneer woman who braved the rigors of westering. Fergus is a superb writer…and the finale is both clever and satisfying.” – Denver Post
“Fans of ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN, a book club favorite for 20 years, will recognize familiar characters in THE VENGEANCE OF MOTHERS, but newcomers to Fergus’ imagined intermingling of Caucasian women and the Cheyenne people will easily step into this incredible spinoff from American history.” – Shelf Awareness
“Twenty years on, Fergus’ best-selling novel, ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN (’98), remains vivid in readers’ memories and continues to be discovered by historical fiction fans. He now continues the gripping tale, a history lesson infused with both sadness at the violence perpetuated against the Cheyenne and awe at the endurance of this remarkable group of women.” – Booklist, starred review