Review: The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus
The Vengeance of Mothers by Jim Fergus continues the adventure that left us hanging in One Thousand White Women. Historical fiction meets mystic lore in this engrossing continuation about the women we loved in book one.
If you haven’t read One Thousand White Women, I highly suggest it because you get May’s point of view and it’s a really good book. It’s possible to read The Vengeance of Mothers as a standalone because plot points and situations are rehashed from book one. This is helpful for those who read One Thousand White Women so long ago that your memory needs a reminder. Personally, I can’t imagine one book without the other because they fit together. They’re also different in that book two includes some mysticism that was only hinted at in book one. I will reread both in the future to relive the adventure, and that’s not normally something I do which is the highest compliment.
This time we get several point of views (POVs), starting out with the Irish scamps otherwise known as the Kelly twins, which can be repetitive and confusing. Even with that bump, I zoomed through this story because it’s so good. That’s probably why POV switching confused me – I was often zooming along, not paying attention to the nitty-gritty details. I was so anxious to find out what happens next. Molly McGill was my favorite, so her story often gutted me. What a heart-wrenched saga that finally gave me some peace.
The story begins by repeating some of May’s journal, then a snippet from the monk who knew the white women. Next, we’re in modern day Chicago with JW Dodd, May Dodd’s great great-grandson and Will Dodd’s son. He is visited by a Native American woman who has two well-worn saddle bags with her. She is dressed as a Cheyenne of another time and claims to be a shape-shifter. She leaves him with the journals of the white women who tell the rest of the story.
Let me remind you, that just like One Thousand White Women, The Vengeance of Mothers is gruesome at times. It’s written during a time of war between the Cheyenne, other native nations, and the white man. The beginning of this book is written by twins who feel all the hate imaginable for those who killed their adoptive family. Their vengeance doesn’t come along quietly. We’re given some brutal detail on what happened since the first book, as well as some of those gory details of the last chapters of book one.
A fictional tale, The Vengeance of Mothers utilizes real people like Crazy Horse to make the story seem realistic. Because it’s told in journal format, you can’t help but get wrapped up in these characters’ lives. Some of the story made me very sad. It’s not easy to read, especially when you want it to be a HEA for all, while fully knowing it cannot be. There are many villains, one of them beyond creepy while others sneak up and surprise you.
The only part of this book I’m not sure I liked is the end. It’s creative. I can appreciate that. I guess I get frustrated when historical fiction takes a mystical turn, then ends outside its historical roots. I can understand the mysticism based on Native American lore. I’m just not sure I like the combination.
I read an advanced copy of this book months ago, prior to publication. My apologies to the publisher and author for not getting to the review until now. I needed to digest it, then read parts of it again to really sort my feelings to write my review. I was frustrated as well as enamored. Surprised and contemplative, I just couldn’t put words to paper on how I felt. With time away from it, then back to it again, I hope I’ve done the book justice.
With that in mind, One Thousand White Women is my favorite of the two novels. But, I must admit the creativity of The Vengeance of Mothers is just as good in some ways. My only question is, will there be a third book to the series? I have a yearning for more. Highly recommend the two books to those who love historical fiction that bends the rules.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Advanced digital copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.
The Vengeance of Mothers: The Journals of Margaret Kelly & Molly McGill by Jim Fergus
Category: Western Historical fiction with Paranormal elements
Series: One Thousand White Women, Book 2
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (September 12, 2017)
Rated 4 out of 5