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Extended Audio Sample Bones of Paradise: A Novel, by Jonis Agee Click for printable size audiobook cover
5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jonis Agee Narrator: Christina Traister Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A beautifully written epic that seamlessly intertwines a family’s history with a region’s, and, ultimately, with a nation’s. this is an ambitious novel.”

    Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A haunting tale set in the Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee…Agee brilliantly interweaves…two stories of loss, guilt, and vengeance, which play out against the vivid backdrop of the Sand Hills, the breathtaking yet unforgiving land where each family is struggling to maintain its roots. Another beautifully rendered and thought-provoking novel from Agee, who calls this land home.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “A deceptively leisurely, intensely heart-rending historical Western about greed and love gone wrong…Rose and Dulcinea are women strong enough to cow John Wayne [in] this sexy, violent, intricate Western.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Agee’s emotionally rich tale is as wild and sprawling as the Midwestern plains…The story’s several parts—gritty Western, family saga, mystery—work together for a memorable tale of heartbreak and redemption.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “With larger-than-life personalities, sudden violence, and the relentless influence of landscape and weather, this Western by the author of The River Wife is an evocative story of survival, and the lengths people will go to for wealth and property. With strong historical content as well as a murder mystery, family dysfunction, and a hint of romance, there is plenty here to keep readers satisfied.”

    Library Journal

  • “Deadwood has nothing on Nebraska’s Sand Hills. Jonis Agee serves up a gritty, bloody romance set a decade after Wounded Knee. Half murder mystery and half family saga, The Bones of Paradise is a spirited reweaving of history.”

    Stewart O’Nan, author of City of Secrets

  • “A gifted poet of that dark lushness in the heart of the American landscape.”

    New York Times Book Review, praise for the author

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