Thank you to the publisher for sending me a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
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.
One of my favorite parts of being a voracious reader is all of the learning that comes with it, especially when reading historical fiction. When Between Earth and Sky made its way into my radar, I was intrigued by the setting. I’m incredibly unfamiliar with the Indian Wars and the aftermath, so I was really looking forward to learning a bit about some of it. The fact that Skenandore was able to reference a primary source of sorts, a relative who is a member of the Ojibwe Tribe and a survivor of an Indian mission school during the 1950s, made me feel confident in my choice to read her book.
The story alternates between “current” times (1906) and the “past” (late 1880s), and I thought this was a good way to tell it. The reader knows that Asku is a murder suspect, that Alma knew him as a child, and that she is adamant in her belief that he’s not guilty, but not how he got from there to here. Jumping back and forth in the timeline built a lot of suspense into the story, which helped keep the pacing moving at a good speed. I also liked that it helped me to get to know the characters on a deeper level, learning about who they were in the past and who they are “now”. And as we all know, I need good solid characters in order to make it through a book.
Fans of historical fiction will definitely want to add Between Earth and Sky to their TBR piles. You’re going to fall in love with Alma’s feisty ways and enjoy the scenery along the way. Bonus: part of the story takes place in/near La Crosse, Wisconsin. This Sconnie girl was excited to see her home state in print. Happy reading! ~Amber
Thank you to TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this tour.