New Novel by Kerry Feldman

Feldman.jpgFive Star/Gale published Kerry Dean Feldman’s historical frontier novel, Alice’s Trading Post: A Novel of the West, January 19, 2022. Feldman is professor emeritus, anthropology, at the University of Alaska Anchorage. He was born in Terry, Montana, near General One Star Terry’s Landing along the Yellowstone River. He holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Anchorage Barnes & Noble will host a book signing in a few weeks, after the Covid infection rates decrease. Library Journal (New York, Jan. 1, 2022) gave the novel its highest recommendation in a review by Emily Hamstra (Seattle). (Gale publisher has recently committed to more inclusivity in its various publications, with Feldman’s novel about a Native American woman being one of their examples). 

Alices trading post.jpegAlice’s Trading Post is the story of an untamable, unforgettable woman with a wry wit who lives 103 adventurous years. She survives all the West could throw at a woman, fights to be herself, live free, and find love. Treat her with respect, you walk away safe. Young Alice must learn how to become a woman on her own, wonders if she’s Indian like her mother or white like her father whom she never met. She longs for family, love, and knowing where she fits in a violent Plains era. Alice’s stories are found, as recorded by her grandson, under her burnt-out trading post in South Dakota, transcribed by the Buffalo Gap Historical Society.

Editorial Review

Born in the 1860s along the Columbia River, Oregon Territory, Army Girl is the daughter of a Klickitat woman, Molly, and an absentee white father. Army Girl's stepfather, Chub, a white trapper, raises her to shoot straight, survive in the wild, and speak Plains Indian Sign Language. When hard times hit, Molly and Chub move east to Fort Benton, MT, where they trade Army Girl to an old trapper, Mr. McFadden, who in turn sends her to a bordello to learn about sex. She eventually makes an escape to the Plains with a handsome man named Lone Wolf, whom she later marries. (He and the setting are described in the book as "Sioux," a French exonym for the Oceti Sakowin Great Plains tribal system.) Lone Wolf gives Army Girl the name Sweet Medicine Woman, and she begins a new life far away from Molly, Chub, and Mr. McFadden—a life that requires all the skills Chub taught her. VERDICT Feldman (emeritus, anthropology, Univ. of Alaska, Anchorage; Drunk on Love) includes fascinating details about Indigenous tribal customs, daily life, and history. Recommended for readers of immersive historical fiction.—Emily Hamstra

Library Journal

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