Recommended byNY Journal of Books
The award-winning author of The River Wife returns with a multigenerational family saga set in the unforgiving Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee—an ambitious tale of history, vengeance, race, guilt, betrayal, family, and belonging, filled with a vivid cast of characters shaped by violence, love, and a desperate loyalty to the land.
Ten years after the Seventh Cavalry massacred more than two hundred Lakota men, women, and children at Wounded Knee, J.B. Bennett, a white rancher, and Star, a young Native American woman, are murdered in a remote meadow on J.B.’s land. The deaths bring together the scattered members of the Bennett family: J.B.’s cunning and hard father, Drum; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; and his teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward. As the mystery of these twin deaths unfolds, the history of the dysfunctional Bennetts and their damning secrets is revealed, exposing the conflicted heart of a nation caught between past and future.
At the center of The Bones of Paradise are two remarkable women. Dulcinea, returned after bitter years of self-exile, yearns for redemption and the courage to mend her broken family and reclaim the land that is rightfully hers. Rose, scarred by the terrible slaughters that have decimated and dislocated her people, struggles to accept the death of her sister, Star, and refuses to rest until she is avenged.
A kaleidoscopic portrait of misfits, schemers, chancers, and dreamers, Jonis Agee’s bold novel is a panorama of America at the dawn of a new century. A beautiful evocation of this magnificent, blood-soaked land—its sweeping prairies, seas of golden grass, and sandy hills, all at the mercy of two unpredictable and terrifying forces, weather and lawlessness—and the durable men and women who dared to tame it. Intimate and epic, The Bones of Paradise is a remarkable achievement: a mystery, a tragedy, a romance, and an unflagging exploration of the beauty and brutality, tenderness and cruelty that defined the settling of the American West.
About Jonis AgeeSee more books from this Author
This sexy, violent, intricate Western is ultimately a love letter to the Sand Hills, “where all was alive, all living, in one form or another.”Read Full Review of The Bones of Paradise: A Novel | See more reviews from Kirkus
The Bones of Paradise is everything a Western novel should be: a setting that challenges men and women to survive, a love of the land that as strong as that for one’s family, and a story as strong and harsh as the land itself.Read Full Review of The Bones of Paradise: A Novel | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books
Three-fourths in, I felt so annoyed by the white settlers’ squabbles I didn’t care which lowlife killed J.B...But just when you think you can’t read another word about this sorry lot and their brutality and bad parenting, Rose resurfaces with a vengeance. You’ll have to read all the way to the end to see what I mean.Read Full Review of The Bones of Paradise: A Novel | See more reviews from Star Tribune