In Amanda Skenandore's provocative and profoundly moving debut, set in the tragic intersection between white and Native American culture, a young girl learns about friendship, betrayal, and the sacrifices made in the name of belonging.
On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma's childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry-or Asku, as Alma knew him-was the most promising student at the savage-taming boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they'd known-language, customs, even their names-and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.
The bright, courageous boy Alma knew could never have murdered anyone. But she barely recognizes the man Asku has become, cold and embittered at being an outcast in the white world and a ghost in his own. Her lawyer husband, Stewart, reluctantly agrees to help defend Asku for Alma's sake. To do so, Alma must revisit the painful secrets she has kept hidden from everyone-especially Stewart.
Told in compelling narratives that alternate between Alma's childhood and her present life, Between Earth and Sky is a haunting and complex story of love and loss, as a quest for justice becomes a journey toward understanding and, ultimately, atonement.
About the Author
Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. Her first novel, Between Earth and Sky, won the American Library Association's Reading List Award for Best Historical Fiction. She lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her at amandaskenandore.com.
Emily Sutton-Smith is an audiobook narrator, a professional actress, and a classically-trained pastry chef. She has narrated over sixty-five audiobooks and has worked onstage at almost all of Michigan's Equity Theatres. A New York City native, she studied acting at the Atlantic Theatre Company and also holds a Grande Diploma in pastry arts from the International Culinary Center.
Skenandore's deeply introspective and moving novel will appeal to readers of American history, particularly those interested in the dynamics behind the misguided efforts of white people to better the lives of Native Americans by forcing them to adopt white cultural mores.
-- "Publishers Weekly"
Sweeping, epic, heart-wrenching, and powerful...A well-written, carefully researched, compelling novel.
-- "RT Book Reviews (4 stars)"
Unfolds a heartbreaking story about the destructive legacy of the forced assimilation of Native American children. Historical fiction readers and book discussion groups will find much to ponder here.
-- "Library Journal"
Gripping and beautifully written, Between Earth and Sky tugs at the heart with its dynamic heroine and unique cast of characters. Though this novel brings alive two historical American eras and settings, the story is achingly modern, universal and important.
-- "Karen Harper, author of The It Girls"