Cover Image: Beneath the Bending Skies

Beneath the Bending Skies

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Jane Kirkpatrick's writing career has focused on telling the stories of ordinary women who lived extraordinary lives settling America's west.  As always, her heroine is a real woman whose significance is probably fading as the years pass.  BENEATH THE BENDING SKIES introduces readers to Mollie Sheenan who despite her father's disapproval marries the older Peter Ronan, a newspaperman in 1860's Montana.  When fire wipes out Peter's second news enterprise, the family moves to a reservation where Peter serves as the new Indian agent.  Shortly after Custer's Last Stand and during Chief Joseph's attempt to regain land, Mollie's father is sure Peter has put his family in grave danger, but the local tribe is peaceful, even promising to protect the Ronan's if  any violence erupts nearby.
Kirkpatrick, as always,  did extensive research before writing this novelization.  This time she relied on Mollie's own diaries, especially those passages where Mollie ponders honoring one's father vs. finding one's own happiness and love for her husband and family.  I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Netgalley and highly recommend it for those who love the early west.
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If I could give 10 stars I would, but will settle for a rare 5 star. Oh my a book close to my heart. I have always loved books about the western/prairie lifestyle. I have also always sympathized with the native Americans as the whites came and stole their lands by hook and crook. This storyline is based on the life of Peter Ronan and his “childbride” Mary. 
It was almost love at first sight for Peter and Mary. Since she was only 16 her father strongly opposed their marriage. I could sympathize with their plight since I also married at 16. 
The author did a great job explaining their life as a married couple and Mary as a child, who narrates the book. This is full of historical information about the life of an Indian agent during the time that they were being removed from their native lands and reservations. 
The book is mainly set in the state of Montana, a beautiful place to visit and if I liked cold weather would think of living there.
I received an ARC in e- format from the publisher through NetGalley. The review is my opinion of a wonderful book.
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This story is so emotional and heart stirring. I loved going through the love story and watching the heroine find her way and forge her own path. This story was so well done.
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A young girl wants her father's approval and even as she enters womanhood, that longing is pressed deep within her. Her story highlights this tension and reminds us how to find purpose where we are and the difficulty of in coming out from the control of others.

It's the first novel I've read by the author, I found it paced quite slow. I particularly enjoyed the last half, as her life begins to change and take on different challenges and environments. 

*Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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Mollie has done her best to be a dutiful daughter, but soon finds herself wanting more.  She has spent so much of her life doing everything her father wanted her to that when she finally gets a chance to do something she wants to do, her plans don’t go as she wishes.  She has fallen in love, but her father does not want to lose her and does all he can to keep them apart.  I really enjoyed reading the story of her perseverance and how Mollie learned to come into her own.
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I have read quite a few books by Jane Kirkpatrick over the years but not all of them yet.
What I absolutely love about them is the authenticity of them. You won't get the run around with her books or a bunch of fluff. Many of her books, like this one are based on true events and people.
They are so well researched and written you'll understand what she is talking about.
The characters just come alive the way she writes about them.
I loved Mollie and Peter's story. The book had many layers to it, happy and emotional times.
At this time period in this historical novel a woman and a wife as well has really no say and has to listen to her father/husband.
Mollie is a strong woman who has really gone through a lot but yet she still perseveres.
The story is uplifting, Mollie changes with her situations trying to stay ever optimistic and encouraging.
The setting and character development are phenomenal . The author knows how to do historical perfectly and is one of my absolute favorite writers of this genre.
Highly recommended!
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This story was unlike anything that I have read in awhile. It follows Mollie through her life. It is a book that embraces all that happens in life. She experiences being left behind, love, heartbreak, and more all set with descriptions of the beautiful vistas of Montana. `

The descriptions brought the entire world to life. I felt transported. to Montana and California as Mollie went through her life. I felt like I was interacting with the different and wonderful characters of different backgrounds. I felt their triumphs and their heartaches. 

I love when an author can transport me into the story as well as make me feel what they are feeling. Jane Kirkpatrick did this with mastery. I loved this novel based on a true story. It was a fantastic tale that I would read again.

I received an early copy through NetGalley and the publisher.
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Oh my goodness this book was so boring. 

I don't usually say that about historical fiction, but it was true for this book. I really tried to get into it, but it did not read like a work of fiction. It seemed to stay very close to the historical references (journals) the author used to create the book. The relationship between Mollie and her father was disturbingly controlling. He had a new wife who was a lovely person, cared for Mollie, was resourceful, and took wonderful care of their home and the child they had between them. The fact that he kept running off, and then ignoring his wife was very disheartening. 

To be honest with you, I'm not sure how far I made it through the story, because I started skimming. It was the same thing over and over again town after town, even after Mollie fell in love. I became very tired of reading disappointment after disappointment that didn't seem to move the storyline along. 

I would not read another book by this author unless it was not historical fiction. This was not a win for me, unfortunately.
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Beneath the Bending Skies
Jane Kirkpatrick 

Mollie Sheehan is a dutiful daughter who diligently works to honor her father and provide for her stepfamily during his long absences. Life in the gold camps of 1860s Montana is difficult,  but Mollie finds hope for a brighter future when Peter Ronan begins to court her. When her father forbids the match and moves her to California to ensure the breakup, Mollie remains obedient.  Over the course of time, she learns that God is orchestrating the course of her life.

It is with a heavy heart that we relay our personal review. Both of us love to read all types of Christian fiction books and that may explain our lack of enjoyment with Beneath the Bending Skies. It was very similar to a non-fiction text and read more like a life-long journal. Unfortunately, it did not compel us forward from an intriguing introduction, to a climactic point, and then to a satisfying conclusion. In addition, we found the father-daughter relationship to be unsettling and never fully resolved to any comfortable level. However, if you enjoy non-fiction or biographies, this may be just the book for you. One segment toward the end of the book nicely summarized the life of the main character. “I don’t think we’re put here to do great things. But to do small things bravely and with gratitude and kindness.”

We received an advance copy from the publisher.  This is our honest review.
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This historical novel covers a period of familiar American history from a different perspective. It offers the insight who of a woman who lived during conflicts with Native Americans and helped make a difference in her setting. The book is based on the life of Mollie Sheehan, who struggled with honoring her demanding father balanced against her dedication to her husband and children. She narrates her biographical tale in first person, but that made it hard for me to connect with her character and I didn’t find it engaging—especially the beginning portion of her childhood. That part read too much like a diary entry rather than an intriguing story. The latter part of the book drew me in more, but I still didn’t feel like I “experienced” it like I do most compelling fiction. I have enjoyed other books by this author and I like to learn about history. I have visited the sites of the Nez Perce and Chief Joseph, so I could picture that part. This fictional account fleshes the events out in a new way. I really liked the way she and her husband related to the Indians. I received a copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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I struggled with this one. The cover is beautiful and this sounds like something I would love. However, I was bored and felt like it was a little too long. I will pick up more books from Jane Kirkpatrick still.
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Jane Kirkpatrick is known for highlighting little-known historical figures and eras through her stories, and Beneath the Bending Skies brings a fantastic heroine to life in Mollie Sheehan. The reader experiences the rugged beauty of Montana through Mollie's eyes, and Ms. Kirkpatrick does a beautiful job of honoring the pioneers and settlers as well as the Native American culture and traditions. Rich with authentic historical detail, this is a poignant story of faith, courage, family, and the sometimes complicated relationships between fathers and daughters. Fans of historical fiction, especially during the Gold Rush era, will enjoy this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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Mary Sheehan Ronan is a wise, intelligent woman of great courage. Growing up with her father instilling her Irish roots and customs into her life, she was dotted on as his favorite, although she always felt lacking. Circumstances drives a wedge between them when she turns 16.

The author's recounting of Mary's life struggles as James Sheehan's daughter and then her life as a wife and mother living at a government post, is beautifully recounted. I felt as though I was there watching history take place. The author's descriptions of events and hardships tugged at my heart. It is a moving and inspirational story.

The ending wrapped everything up nicely and after closing the final page, I realized that the faith aspects of the story had given it a very real richness that warmed my heart. It's a definite must read. I can't wait to see what the author has in store next for her readers. I am now a fan. I didn't realize until the end in reading the author notes, that it was based on a real event.

I received a complimentary copy from the publisher and voluntarily choose to review it.
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Mollie Ronan was born in 1852, a time when things weren't easy for women.  Her mother died when Mollie was young, and her father often left her with others for long periods.  Unexpectedly, he remarried which led to Mollie having a stepfamily.  While her stepmother was a kind and loving woman, her father was a selfish and demanding person.  For most of her life she believed her father felt she was a disappointment. When she met and later fell in love with Peter Ronan her life changed. This book is a work of historical fiction that is based on a real person.
Impeccably researched and vividly presented is the story of an extraordinary woman and the extraordinary life she and her husband lived in the late 1800's at the Jocko Agency in Montana.  It was there that Peter worked as an agent who tried to help the Indians.  Experiences, exposure to cultural differences and kindness are some of the things that shaped Mollie's life and she was grateful for all the meaningful people and aspects of her life.  But sadly, there was always an undercurrent-her father. 
I found this book to be well written and engrossing.  In this story, Mollie Ronan is brought to life to tell her story.  Highly recommended.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley.  The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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First, what a gorgeous cover! It grabbed my attention immediately. Secondly, seeing that Beneath the Bending Skies is written by Jane Kirkpatrick made this book choice doubly appealing. And I wasn't wrong. This captivating story of Mollie Sheehan touched me deeply.

I love how this author creates such vivid imagery and raw, believable characters that are effortless to connect with. I enjoyed getting to know Mollie and to witness her journey through this first-person narration. And I empathized with her struggle when so much was at stake. Her controlling father made it so difficult for her.

This is an exceptional story of love, obedience, and faith.

Disclosure: #CoverLoverBookReview received a complimentary copy of this book.
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Beneath the Bending Skies is my first book by Jane Kirkpatrick and now I have to read all of her other books. Where have I been all this time?!

Mollie Sheehan works hard to be a good daughter and please her parents. After the loss of her mother, her father remarries and Mollie does all she can to help take care of her new family. The family often moves as new opportunities come out for Mollie's father. The frequent relocation is okay for the most part with Mollie as it is a way of life for her, until she meets Peter Ronan. 

Mollie does not plan it, but she and Peter fall in love and make plans to be married. Her stepmother is very pleased for her. In fact, everyone seems to be okay with the couple except for Mollie's father. He is so determined to stop the marriage that he forces Mollie to break the engagement and once again moves the family away.

Mollie and her family face hard times and yet very obviously something bigger than Mollie or her father is at work. The resulting story is a beautiful reminder that our own plans only take us so far. God is at work in all circumstances and His plans for us are often bigger and better than we can imagine.

I loved everything about this novel. I could tell early on that Ms. Kirkpatrick does an amazing job with her research and incorporating history into her story. The resulting story touched my heart and was a timely reminder about how good the Lord is and how He is always there for us, we just have to be patient and wait sometimes.

I voluntarily received a copy of this book from Revell Books. All views are my honest opinion.
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I requested, through Revell Reads program, to read and review this book. I am sorry to say, I did not enjoy this book very much. I have read other books by Jane Kirkpatrick and have enjoyed most of them but this book was just too slow. It dragged on without much really going on. The characters were not very well developed and it felt like reading someone's calendar almost as if each chapter was another week from the calendar.

I am sorry to say I give this book a 2 out of 5 star review.
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Based on the true story of Mary Ronan and the work her and her husband did with the Jocko Agency in the state of Montana. A husband and wife team that was a liaison between the miners/settlers and the many Indian tribes of that area.

Mary's story starts with the death of her mother and her father bringing his family to Denver, than on to Montana. Kirkpatrick always narrates her novels with great detail that you can see the Mountains and the struggles that were prevalent. The narration is centered around Mary's relationship to her father. Her dying mother spoke to her of being a good and loyal daughter and she fought hard for that but seemed to miss the mark. She desired the blessing of her father but always felt that it was lacking. That her father purposely kept that from her. You begin to see the complication of their relationship and how it prepared her for marriage and working with the Indian nations.

I appreciated this complicated relationship and the insight it gave me with my own relationships. I also enjoyed the history lesson that Mary's story gave. Her determination, her grace, love for her husband and children and loyalty to friends. She was eager to learn about other cultures and the respect she gave was intentional. I very much enjoyed her story.

A special thank you to Revell and Netgalley for the ARC and the opportunity to post an honest review.
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A glorious story of a woman who lived a life that she never expected to have.  She lived trying to please others especially her father.   

Mollie did everything she could to please her father.  He knew how to make her feel guilty.  He didn't do this as much to the other children in the family.  Why Mollie? What would have happened if she did what her father wanted?  What was her father's intentions?  Did he want Mollie to be happy?  Was he merely being selfish? What was his motivation?

Mollie finally made a decision that her father didn't approve of.  This decision changed the course of her life.  She knew that it was a risk she had to take.

I enjoyed Beneath the Bending Skies and the background of the story.  It brought this time period to life.  

The cover is beautiful.  

I received this book from Revell to review.
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Oomph! This one's a tough read, and admittedly that's one reason I was curious about it. I related to Molly on a deep level and adored reading her story. I felt her pain and longing and loved seeing them portrayed so well here! That said, this is a difficult read, and for anyone who's had an abusive parent, especially a father, or similar relationships and has strived to please someone who was impossible to please...this one might be better to skip. I had a good idea of what I was getting into, and still struggled to read this one in places.

My favorite part was meeting  Shows No Anger, a Salish Kootenai woman who befriends Molly at one point. The rest of the cast felt a little flat to me, and with the difficult topics, it was hard to actually enjoy the story at times and that made it slightly more difficult to connect with the characters than it might have been otherwise...
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