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October 13, 2022

Beneath the Bending Skies by Jane Kirkpatrick ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"Once upon a time there was a place, a people, and a love as astonishing and rare as a blood moon over a Montana peak.  I - Molly Catherine Fitzbibbon Sheehan - was forced to leave that place and love behind in 1869, complying with my father's wishes without understanding why."
(p 15)

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

book cover of historical fiction novel Beneath the Bending Skies by Jane Kirkpatrick
September 2022; Revell; 978-0800742195
audio, ebook, print (352 pages); historical fiction

Molly was young when her mother died and she was 6 the first time her father left her to go West.  He left her with a German family who took care of her for several years until he came back to take her further west with him.  He married again and Molly had to get over her jealousy that she had to share her father with someone else.  As she grew up she learned to love her new mother and new family.  She fell in love and wanted to get married until her father expressed his disapproval and moved the family further west.  Molly finally stands up to her father and marries the love of her life.  The second half of the book is about the lives of Molly and Ronan.  They started a family and spent time living on an Indian reservation and their friendship with the Indians made it possible for them to become agents to help take care of the welfare of the members of the tribes.  Molly lived a long satisfying life while being a real pioneer woman and helping to make changes to the lives of other people.

Be sure to read the author's notes at the end of the book.  She explains that her book is based on a real person - Mary Ronan - and her travels throughout the West during the late 1800s.  She also explains where she discovered information about Mary and her travels and what characters and events in the story are based in reality.  Her research to find all of this information was extensive and she managed to incorporate real people and events with fiction to create a very readable story.

I've read several other books by Jane Fitzpatrick and she is one of my favorite authors of Christian fiction.  Her books emphasize relying on God and praying for his direction but they are never preachy.  As usual, she has done extensive research into her subject and makes the reader feel that they are traveling with Molly throughout her journeys in the late 1800s.

Susan Roberts grew up in Michigan but loves the laid-back life at her home in the Piedmont area of North Carolina where she is two hours from the beach to the east and the mountains in the west.  She reads almost anything but her favorite genres are Southern Fiction and Historical Fiction.  You can connect with her on Facebook.

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  1. I appreciate novels that are rooted in a genuine past like this one is. I'd not heard of Mary Ronan before so would be keen explore her life and times through this fictionalised story. Thanks for sharing your review :-)