Wednesday, February 3

Book Review: Strongheart by Jim Fergus

Jim Fergus
Title: Strongheart -The Lost Journals of May Dodd and Molly McGill
(One Thousand White Women #3)
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: ebook
Pages: 400 
Published:  2019
Where I Got It: My shelf (Netgalley)

In 1873, a Cheyenne chief offers President Grant the opportunity to exchange one thousand horses for one thousand white women, in order to marry them with his warriors and create a lasting peace. These women, "recruited" by force in the penitentiaries and asylums of the country, gradually integrate the way of life of the Cheyenne, at the time when the great massacres of the tribes begin.

After the battle of Little Big Horn, some female survivors decide to take up arms against the United States, which has stolen from the Native Americans their lands, their way of life, their culture and their history. This ghost tribe of rebellious women will soon go underground to wage an implacable battle, which will continue from generation to generation.

In this final volume of the One Thousand White Women trilogy, Jim Fergus mixes with rare mastery the struggle of women and Native Americans in the face of oppression, from the end of the 19th century until today. With a vivid sense of the 19th century American West, Fergus paints portraits of women as strong as they are unforgettable.

Didn't realize this was part of a series until I started reading. Somethings seemed names and places and etc. I feel like I read book 1 a million years ago? The summary seemed familiar. I know I didn't read book 2 at all. Mmmm. BUT - this did okay as a standalone. 

In 1873, a Cheyenne chief offers President Grant a chance to exchange one thousand horses for one thousand white women in order to marry them with warriors and try and create peace. These women are recruited by force and sent to the Cheyenne tribe. They gradually integrate and become beloved members of the tribe. However, after the battle of Little Big Horn, the peace is destroyed. Some female survivors, including some of the white women, decide to take up arms and fight back. In this final volume, we will follow our girls as they face the struggles of being women, Native American oppression, and the struggle to keep a culture alive.  

This was all done in diary/journal formatting. Which I did like for the most part. We got to see three different viewpoints. Mary and Molly McGill who are two women who were given to the Cheyenne in the 1800s. We also follow an ancestor also named Molly in modern day who is fighting a battle to save all the Native women who vanish in droves each year. It was a lot to keep track of so it is a slow read (at least for me). 

There is a lot going on and this is a book I do not recommend speed-reading through. The timeline is not straight all the time. We do some jumping around so you really have to pay attention. I'll admit that I had to backtrack a couple of times. 

Besides for the jumping timeline, I really enjoyed this novel. It made me want to read the past books (like I said...I swore I read book 1 years and years ago). This did get dark but the West at this time was a dark place especially for women and Natives. Soooo dang sad. But yes - just a warning because we do have some graphic scenes. 

The ending had me in tears. Not in a bad way necessarily, but I was said to say goodbye. These women are so strong!!! I really admired them and their strength. Maybe we'll get more diaries in the future ;)

I adored the 2 Mollys and May. I also adored Chance and Hawk. Hawk and Chance both have my hearts! 

Overall, I really did like this book. It did well as a standalone, but I think I would recommend going back to book 1 first. I want more from these women! I'll give this 4 stars.


Sophia Rose said...

I read book one and by the end I was teary-eyed. I didn't see book two release, but I managed to snag a review copy of this one so I am really looking forward to seeing the progression of the earlier story. Sounds like I'll need tissues for this one, too.

Melliane said...

It's funny that you realized that it was a book 2 of a book you did read a while ago.

Blodeuedd said...

It sounds so interesting, I need more

Carole Rae said...

Sophia, yesss you'll need it!

Melliane, hahaha right? Feels like destiny.

B, me too!