Beneath the Bending Skies By Jane Kirkpatrick

Mollie Sheehan was totally committed to caring for her father after her mother’s death.  She was only six years old in 1858 when her mother passed.  His freight wagon business kept him gone for long periods and left her in the care of others.    Mollie wanted to keep the biblical statute to honor her father in spite of his many times, unreasonable ultimatums.   When he remarried her new stepmother, Anne, more and more responsibilities were piled upon her and he always quoted the scripture when she tried to disagree.  While life was difficult and often miserable she persevered to keep her duty to “honor her father”.  That was until she fell in love with his best friend Peter Ronan who was 13 years older than her.  After this she truly understood that honoring her father did not mean never having a life of her own.

Peter became Superintendent of the Confederated Tribes on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana.  It was a daunting job, one that he excelled at and made his own history. Here they began their family. 

Mollie loved her husband and stepped into her difficult and often frightening role as his helpmeet.  The area was remote and many necessities were not available.  There wasn’t even a doctor at first!   Supplies could be scarce, plus the unpredictability of Indian attacks.

At any moment she could be called upon to host a meal for any number of people.  They might be Indians or someone famous.  A feast was pulled together with whatever was on hand and done so graciously.  Mollie’s love and respect of all people, no matter what their station in life, was beautiful.  Her love ran deep to help others and she would make whatever sacrifices were needed.

The open door policy with the Indians where they could walk into their home anytime day or night (and they did) had to be difficult, but Mollie took it all in stride.   In addition to the constant company and erratic life, she was giving birth to her children in quick succession.   She was an amazing woman. 

It might seem odd but one of the things that fascinated me about her was the description of her thick, massive hair that hung well past her hips.    (I searched pictures of her on the internet and it was remarkable!) I cannot imagine how hot and uncomfortable it was in the summer, but the sheer effort it took to wash, comb and dry it without modern conveniences is beyond my imagination.

Ms. Kirkpatrick once again has written a great book. 

I received this book from LibraryThing and Revell Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  The opinions stated are my own.