Wednesday, July 1, 1998

Many Brides for Many Brothers

In 1875 one thousand women made the perilous trek across the American prairie to become the wives of Cheyenne Indians in exchange for horses. May Dodd keeps a detailed journal of the One Thousand White Women and their adventures, friendships and histories on their mission to "civilize the natives." Many of the women are former convicts or sanitarium patients. One is homely, one is a destitute Southern belle and one a zealot. If the women stay married two years and produce children, they may have the option of leaving the tribe. For services rendered each woman will receive a parcel of land. This is a compelling historical novel with many colorful characters and tense situations.
Readers will immediately be drawn to the characters of inquisitive May, proud Euphemia, the rambunctious Kelly twins, and cultured Daisy as May carefully describes the assimilation of the women into Cheyenne daily living, learning the Cheyenee language and the selection of the brides and braves. Author Jim Fergus employs a moderate pace to ensure readers do not miss the intriguing details of the Cheyene culture. The tone is a combination of May's brisk no-nonsense attitude and innocent marveling at the unspoiled countryside and her new husband's family. Look also for the beautiful bird paintings adorning each entry and after the last page is turned, carefully view the book's cover art.

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