In the spring of 1866, pregnant Elizabeth Duly decides to leave her tenement home in Chicago for the mining town of Virginia City, Montana Territory. Her sister Cornelia and her husband have struck it rich and want “Libbie” to live with them. Since Libbie’s husband is incarcerated in a mental institution, she feels she has no reason to remain in Chicago. Along the way to Virginia City, she and her child meet with a hostile Sioux tribe led by Chief Red Cloud.

The author has written a novel with an unusual point of view – the unborn child, Danny Duly, and then the newborn boy. At first it is difficult to believe that an unborn child could have the rare ability to see with his mind’s eye and then be able to record the events later when he can write. Even with this offbeat approach to writing a novel, the author was able to keep me interested in the story, the plot as it unraveled, and the various characters the child and his mother meet along the way.

The author does a fine job mixing actual historical characters such as Red Cloud, and the soldiers William Fetterman and Henry Carrington, with his fictional characters. This novel is a fun read, with its twists and turns, and I recommend it highly to western as well as historical fiction devotees who may enjoy novels with an unusual twist.

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12 of the best stories selected from the 2012 Historical Novel Society Short Story Award






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