For me reading is an escape and when I find a really good book, I have a hard time putting it down. I get wrapped up in the characters and can hardly wait to see what happens next. The historical fiction novel, Bone Necklace, by author Julia Sullivan is one of those books.
Admittedly, I knew very little of the Nez Perce tribe and the and the war in 1877 and appreciated the references to actual events during that time.
Sullivan does a masterful job of developing the characters.
I found myself understanding the troubled Jack Peniel hoping he would find answers and peace while he leads the U.S. military through Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana while tracking the Nez Perce. His entire life he seemingly makes the wrong decisions all while trying to earn the respect of his tough father.
I was compelled to cheer for Running Bird, the Nez Perce warrior whose culture is being desecrated. He is a gallant fighter who is desperately trying to save his family and fellow tribe members. Although greatly outnumbered in multiple battles, he never gives up.
Then there is Nicole Lowsley, the English painter vacationing with her husband in Yellowstone National Park who literally gets caught in the crossfire. The realities of life in the west during this period are really brought to life through this character.
While reading I was transported to the mountains and plains of Montana in 1877 working my way to the Canadian border and political asylum with the Nez Perce.
No war is pretty and this war is no exception but the story needs to be told and heard as it continues to resonate today. The underdog fighting against goliath and the courage it takes to stand up and protect those that can’t protect themselves.
My recommendation…read this book!
P.S. My husband, a history buff, loved the book too.
Learn more Bone Necklace and how to purchase it at www.juliasullivan.com
About the author
Julia Sullivan is an author and an attorney.
After taking an interest in the history of the Nez Perce War while visiting the Big Hole Battlefield in Wisdom, MT, Julia spent over 20 years researching, drafting, and editing what would eventually become her debut historical novel Bone Necklace. Her research and preparation for the book led her to both the Library of Congress and the National Archives.
The issues explored in the novel resonate with her work as an attorney and her passion for justice.
Julia has represented inmates on death row, undocumented immigrants, and victims of domestic and elder abuse. She provided countless hours of pro bono work as Executive Director and Chairman of the Board of MAIP (Mid-Atlantic Innocence Project). Her focus has been on righting the scales in a system where corporations or the very wealthy often have the upper hand – while lower-income individuals frequently had their entire lives destroyed by a system that often fails the most fragile.
Julia lives with her husband in Annapolis, Maryland and Hamilton, Montana.