Between Earth and Sky
On a quiet Philadelphia morning in 1906, a newspaper headline catapults Alma Mitchell back to her past. A federal agent is dead, and the murder suspect is Alma’s childhood friend, Harry Muskrat. Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him—was the most promising student at the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father, where Alma was the only white pupil. Created in the wake of the Indian Wars, the Stover School was intended to assimilate the children of neighboring reservations. Instead, it robbed them of everything they’d known—language, customs, even their names—and left a heartbreaking legacy in its wake.The bright, courageous boy Alma knew could never have murdered anyone. But she barely recognizes the man Asku has become, cold and embittered at being an outcast in the white world and a ghost in his own. Her lawyer husband, Stewart, reluctantly agrees to help defend Asku for Alma’s sake. To do so, Alma must revisit the painful secrets she has kept hidden from everyone—especially Stewart.Told in compelling narratives that alternate between Alma’s childhood and her present life, Between Earth and Sky is a haunting and complex story of love and loss, as a quest for justice becomes a journey toward understanding and, ultimately, atonement.

Between Earth and Sky Details

TitleBetween Earth and Sky
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseApr 24th, 2018
PublisherKensington Publishing
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Adult Fiction

Between Earth and Sky Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader & Traveling Sister
    January 1, 1970
    4 enlightening and engaging historical fiction stars to Between Earth and Sky! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Alma Mitchell’s childhood friend, Asku, is accused of murdering a federal agent. Alma’s husband is a lawyer, and he agrees to represent Asku at the trial as a favor to her. When Alma knew Asku, he was a successful student at the residential school for assimilating Native American children, and Alma had been the only white student enrolled because her father was headmaster of the school. The Stover School was d 4 enlightening and engaging historical fiction stars to Between Earth and Sky! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Alma Mitchell’s childhood friend, Asku, is accused of murdering a federal agent. Alma’s husband is a lawyer, and he agrees to represent Asku at the trial as a favor to her. When Alma knew Asku, he was a successful student at the residential school for assimilating Native American children, and Alma had been the only white student enrolled because her father was headmaster of the school. The Stover School was designed to strip away the culture and language of its students. Between Earth and Sky is told in a dual narrative- Alma’s past and Alma’s present. The story is one that will have you questioning the real meaning of justice. This is an important story and truly heartrending. Everyone should know about the existence of these schools in United States’ history. Overall, this was a well-written book and one I’m grateful I read! Thank you to Amanda Skenandore, Kensington Publishing, and Netgalley for the ARC. Between Earth and Sky will be published on April 24, 2018!
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  • Kristy K
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 StarsOh my gosh this book broke my heart. There’s a lot in American history that we don’t talk about. It’s skimmed over in school or a pretty or patriotic spin is put on it. In the 1800s the US was busy assimilating Native Americans into their culture, forcing them to dress like them, talk like them, and act like them even though none of the indigenous people expressed a want of this. Skenandore exposes this time in history. Between Earth and Sky follows Alma going from her past as a white c 4.5 StarsOh my gosh this book broke my heart. There’s a lot in American history that we don’t talk about. It’s skimmed over in school or a pretty or patriotic spin is put on it. In the 1800s the US was busy assimilating Native Americans into their culture, forcing them to dress like them, talk like them, and act like them even though none of the indigenous people expressed a want of this. Skenandore exposes this time in history. Between Earth and Sky follows Alma going from her past as a white child in an assimilation boarding school to the present (1906) where one of her beloved childhood friends, Henry (or Asku), has been charged with the murder of a federal agent. Although Henry’s arrest is the catalyst for this story, it is really about Alma coming to terms with what happened during her time at the boarding house and the treatment of Native Americans. I am glad to have found a historical fiction book that touches on this time period and these events. It wasn't always a comfortable read (how could it be when you hear of some of the atrocities committed against Native Americans), but it was enlightening and heartfelt.ARC provided for honest feedback.
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  • Robin
    January 1, 1970
    A slow paced but poignant exploration of the treatment of Native Americans in history from the point of view of a young, coming of age girl. Alma, the main character, is a young white girl in a unique position of growing up among Native American children at her father's boarding school for "civilizing" them. Naturally, she befriends them, and like them, she is caught between two worlds, but does she truly understand them and their situation? As an adult, she has to the face the ghosts of this pa A slow paced but poignant exploration of the treatment of Native Americans in history from the point of view of a young, coming of age girl. Alma, the main character, is a young white girl in a unique position of growing up among Native American children at her father's boarding school for "civilizing" them. Naturally, she befriends them, and like them, she is caught between two worlds, but does she truly understand them and their situation? As an adult, she has to the face the ghosts of this past.I really enjoyed the way this story was told, set in two time periods but told in parallel to each other. I know lots of book have used this method before, but few do it quite so well as this one. It's slow paced, but never boring. The chapters set in 1906 hint and foreshadow at something significant that happened in the past, while the chapters set in the past slowly evolve to show you what happened. Eventually, the past catches up and it all comes to a head.Beautifully written with realistic, three dimensional, sympathetic characters, and complex relationships, this is easily the best novel on this subject matter I've read so far. I definitely look forward to what this debut author has to offer in the future.Advanced review copy from publisher via NetGalley. My opinions are my own.Historical Readings & Reviews
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. This book by Amanda Skenandore is told in alternating timelines. One is set in the 1880’s in Wisconsin, and the other is set in 1906. In the 1880's storyline a seven-year old, Alma moves with her parents to rural Wisconsin when her father becomes the Superintendent at the Stover School for Indians. She is an only child who has been schooled by governesses up to this point in her life. She is excited to get to go to school with other children. But the adul Rating: 3.5 stars rounded up to 4 stars. This book by Amanda Skenandore is told in alternating timelines. One is set in the 1880’s in Wisconsin, and the other is set in 1906. In the 1880's storyline a seven-year old, Alma moves with her parents to rural Wisconsin when her father becomes the Superintendent at the Stover School for Indians. She is an only child who has been schooled by governesses up to this point in her life. She is excited to get to go to school with other children. But the adults immediately try to make her very aware how different she is from the other children. She doesn’t see any difference between her and the new Indian students, and desperately longs to make her first friends. She watches as the Indians are treated cruelly. For instance, they are severely punished if they don’t follow directions spoken in English, which is a language that they don’t understand. The other storyline is set in 1906 and starts in Philadelphia when a grown and married Alma Mitchell reads that one of her best friends from the Indian School is scheduled to be hanged for murder. Her friend Harry Muskrat (or Asku as Alma knew him) has been charged with the murder of a federal Indian Agent. Harry was the most promising graduating student in her class. She can’t believe that he’s guilty of the murder. So she convinces her husband, who is a lawyer, to set out with her to the Indian reservation to help clear Harry’s name.The story told from the schoolhouse days were gut-wrenching. It was hard to read the things that were done to Indian children in the name of Christianity and ‘civilization’. My grandparents went to a Deaf School in Idaho as young children around 1919, and they told similar stories about how their language (sign language) was ripped from them, and they were punished if they were caught signing. I had a lot of compassion for the Indian children, and the stories while hard to read, were not far-fetched. Alma has also kept a huge secret from her school years that is slowly teased out as the years pass in the Indian School timeline and it converges with her present day.The 1906 timeline takes Alma and her husband to the reservation where some of the now adult school children live. Alma finds appalling conditions, and a federal system that cheats the Indians of land, food, resources and dignity at every opportunity. Alma and her husband try to recreate what happened the day the federal agent was shot in order to go back to court with that information to defend Harry.While both of the alternating stories were pretty bleak, they were told in an expert manner. I didn’t feel like the Indians were exploited in this story, and I didn’t feel like Alma was simply a bleeding heart. She had normal human compassion, which was apparently extra-ordinary for the day and age that she lived in. I hope that we have come further in our acceptance of those who differ from us, but some days I have my doubts. I recommend this book if you’d like to read a well-written story about one of the less honorable eras in America’s history. Thank-you to NetGalley, Kensington Publishing, and the author, Amanda Skenandore, for providing a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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  • OLT
    January 1, 1970
    This is an impressive debut novel by Amanda Skenandore. She writes about a very sensitive subject in a very insightful, straightforward and touching manner. There's sadness and despair and tragedy here, all treated without melodrama or excessive emotional pathos. This story moved me deeply, gave me a lump in my throat many a time, and even brought me to tears during the reading and long after finishing the read.Intellectually I knew about this part of U.S. history. I've always known about the in This is an impressive debut novel by Amanda Skenandore. She writes about a very sensitive subject in a very insightful, straightforward and touching manner. There's sadness and despair and tragedy here, all treated without melodrama or excessive emotional pathos. This story moved me deeply, gave me a lump in my throat many a time, and even brought me to tears during the reading and long after finishing the read.Intellectually I knew about this part of U.S. history. I've always known about the injustice toward and mistreatment of the Native Americans by the conquering immigrant settlers from Europe, with their feelings of superiority and entitlement based on nothing more than skin color, religion, beliefs and customs. Yes, I knew that. But it's one thing to know it intellectually. It's another thing to actually see it. Skenandore's novel allows us to see this happening through the eyes of her protagonist Alma (of European descent).The story begins in 1906, with an adult Alma, married to Philadelphia lawyer Stewart Mitchel, reading a newspaper article about the murder of a federal agent by a Native American. The murder suspect is one of Alma's oldest and dearest childhood friends, Asku (Askuwheteau), known in the white man's world as Harry Muskrat. Alma cannot believe that Harry could possibly be guilty of murder and convinces her husband to travel with her to Minnesota to prove Harry's innocence.In alternating chapters which take us from Alma's present to her past, we also learn about Alma's childhood. In 1881 young child Alma and her parents arrived in Wisconsin for her father to take charge of a boarding school for Native American children. Schools of this ilk were set up across the United States beginning in the late 1870s. Their goal: to assimilate the children into American society and the American way of life. Their effect: to rob these children of their own heritage, language, culture, religion, sense of belonging, sense of worth, even robbing them of their very names.Alma is placed in the school as a fellow student, even sleeping in the dormitory with the young Native American girls, by her parents so that she will serve as a role model for the others. So the others will see how a true civilized, God-fearing child behaves and will then emulate her. But Alma is a child. She wants to belong, to have friends, to be accepted by her peers. She is also young enough not to be biased and bigoted. She develops friendships with them, learns some language and customs from them, and learns to question the way they are treated by her parents and others at the school.This isn't a comfortable story to read. Most of the time I was filled with anxiety and a sense of impending tragedy. It's a story to read to try to understand cultural clashes and prejudices. It's not a feel-good story. In this time of wall building, it's all too sad to see how very little we have grown as a country. As one Native American character says, "Our worlds are like the sky and the earth. They get very close but never touch." Will this forever be true?
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  • Brooke
    January 1, 1970
    This compelling novel tells the story of a girl, Alma, whose father runs a residential school on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. The book shifts between Alma's childhood and her attempts as an adult to intervene in, and perhaps atone for, the effects of the school and white society in general on one of her Anishinaabe friends who is on trial for the murder of a reservation agent. The book is not a mystery but holds the reader's attention with the delicate unfolding of dreams, secrets, and relati This compelling novel tells the story of a girl, Alma, whose father runs a residential school on the Wisconsin-Minnesota border. The book shifts between Alma's childhood and her attempts as an adult to intervene in, and perhaps atone for, the effects of the school and white society in general on one of her Anishinaabe friends who is on trial for the murder of a reservation agent. The book is not a mystery but holds the reader's attention with the delicate unfolding of dreams, secrets, and relationships against the backdrop of an oppressive system that, with hindsight, some would call outright genocide. This book provides a good starting point for thinking about the atrocities committed against American Indians; I would even recommend it to young adult readers (there are only a few scenes of a violent or sexual nature).
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  • Lori
    January 1, 1970
    I just had the pleasure of a free afternoon and a pre-release reading of "Between Earth and Sky" by Amanda Skenandore! The story starts in the late 1800's when the central character's father opens an Indian School to basically strip young native Americans of their culture and save their heathen souls. The book brings up a disturbing bit of our country's History and the unjust cruel treatment of native Americans. I really enjoyed this book and strongly recommend it to any historical fiction fan!
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  • Erin Dunn
    January 1, 1970
    See my review here on my blog! 😀 http://angelerin.blogspot.com/2018/05...
  • Deanne Patterson
    January 1, 1970
    This book is the first I've read by this author and I definitely look forward to reading more by her. I'm not even sure how to describe my feelings with this book since it broke my heart! Excellent,excellent read. When Alma was a young child her father stared a school for Indian children a “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father. Alma was the only white student there the students all had a super strict teacher. The Indian children don't trust Alma or the other whites there trying to co This book is the first I've read by this author and I definitely look forward to reading more by her. I'm not even sure how to describe my feelings with this book since it broke my heart! Excellent,excellent read. When Alma was a young child her father stared a school for Indian children a “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father. Alma was the only white student there the students all had a super strict teacher. The Indian children don't trust Alma or the other whites there trying to conform them to white ways. They are forced to give up all their customs and their language. All in the name of making them civilized citizens. Now this starts off in 1906 with Alma married and reminiscing about her time back when she was a student at the Indian school back in the late 1800's. The book goes back and forth between the two time periods explaining her time at the Indian school and her growing up years. Her father defends the Indians and says they are not "savages" as a lot say . Her mother on the other hand thinks they far inferior intelligence and will never measure up. As Alma grows up she falls in love with an Indian and he with her. Planning on running away to be with him the ultimate tragedy occurs. My heart absolutely BROKE reading the description of what happened. This tore me up :( Now in modern time Alma is married but never told her husband about this part of her life. When she finds out one of the Indian students she went to school with all those years ago is being accused of murder of a federal agent. She insists her husband who is a lawyer find facts to prove his innocence. An emotional journey through the wilds of Indian land and your mind this will make this a book for all historical fiction readers a not to miss book to treasure.Pub Date 24 Apr 2018 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kensington Books through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.
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  • Michelle
    January 1, 1970
    One of the things I like best about being a NetGalley reviewer is that it exposes me to authors and books I would have never come across. Between Earth and Sky is one of those precious gems. Amanda Skenadore's writing provides an accurate portrait of Native American boarding schools in the late 1800s. In the character of Harry Muskrat she questions the impact of forced assimilation on one's self-identity. A heartfelt story that brought me to tears.A warm thank you to NetGalley, Kensington Publis One of the things I like best about being a NetGalley reviewer is that it exposes me to authors and books I would have never come across. Between Earth and Sky is one of those precious gems. Amanda Skenadore's writing provides an accurate portrait of Native American boarding schools in the late 1800s. In the character of Harry Muskrat she questions the impact of forced assimilation on one's self-identity. A heartfelt story that brought me to tears.A warm thank you to NetGalley, Kensington Publishing and Amanda Skenadore for giving me the opportunity to read this book.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    I received this from netgalley.com in exchange for a review. Alma Mitchell revisits her childhood in Minnesota when her school friend Harry—or Asku, as Alma knew him— is accused of murdering a white man and faces execution.This book has a plodding pace but offers a thorough examination of the treatment of Native Americans as they are forced to assimilate into white culture during the late 19th century. 3.25☆
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  • ABCme
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you Netgalley and Kensington Books for the ARC.While education and assimilation might have been good intentions, for the Native American children taken from the Reservations and forced to become copies of White Man, Stover School is a prison. Alma is the founder's daughter and grows up stuck in the middle between right and wrong. She befriends the children and although they are forced to speak English, she learns some of their native tongue. This proves to come in handy years later, when o Thank you Netgalley and Kensington Books for the ARC.While education and assimilation might have been good intentions, for the Native American children taken from the Reservations and forced to become copies of White Man, Stover School is a prison. Alma is the founder's daughter and grows up stuck in the middle between right and wrong. She befriends the children and although they are forced to speak English, she learns some of their native tongue. This proves to come in handy years later, when one of her former classmates is accused of murder.Together with Stewart, her lawyer husband, they research the case, in order to find out what really happened.Between Earth and Sky is an amazing story. Full of indepth characters, it gives us an independent account of both sides of history. It lets the reader decide the good or bad.The writing is exquisite with clear dialogue and well described surroundings. This book is a gem. I couldn't put it down.
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  • Lollita
    January 1, 1970
    Well that was kind of depressing.
  • Riddhi Mazumder
    January 1, 1970
    A murder mystery set in 1906 Philadelphia.I'm in.
  • Randee Green
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. I have read a lot of great books so far in 2018 (according to my Goodreads Reading Challenge I’m up to 36 books so far this year), and I can honestly say that BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY by Amanda Skenandore is the best one I’ve read so far. Skenandore’s debut novel, which will be published by Kensington on April 24, 2018, is a compelling and heartbreaking historical fiction set in the 1880s and early 1900s. The novel alternates between the main chara Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC. I have read a lot of great books so far in 2018 (according to my Goodreads Reading Challenge I’m up to 36 books so far this year), and I can honestly say that BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY by Amanda Skenandore is the best one I’ve read so far. Skenandore’s debut novel, which will be published by Kensington on April 24, 2018, is a compelling and heartbreaking historical fiction set in the 1880s and early 1900s. The novel alternates between the main character’s past as the only white child attending the Stover Indian School in Wisconsin, and her present as the wife of a lawyer in Philadelphia in 1906. In 1906, Alma Blanchard Stewart is living a quiet life with her husband in Philadelphia. One morning, while reading the newspaper, she learns that a Native American man was arrested in Wisconsin for killing one of the Indian agents on the reservation. Alma knows the man who was arrested – he was her childhood friend from the Stover Indian School. Convinced that her friend has been wrongly accused, she and her reluctant husband travel to Wisconsin with the intention to uncover the truth and help set Asku Muskrat free. Alma’s mission forces her to confront her past, and leads her to realize that the assimilation of Native American’s into white culture left the children of the Stover Indian School damaged and destroyed as they were never accepted by white people and they were estranged from their families on the reservations. Alma also learns that life on the reservation is not how she imagined it would be.As a child, Alma’s father moved her and her mother from Philadelphia to La Crosse, Wisconsin in the early 1880s so that he could open up the Stover Indian School. At the time, people believed that the only way for the Native Americans to survive was to assimilate them into white culture. To do that, numerous Indian Schools were opened throughout the country to educate Native American children. The children were taken from their families on the reservations and then moved to the Indian Schools where they were forced to adapt to white society. Through Alma’s perspective, Skenandore shows what it was like for the Native American children. Upon arrival at the school, they are stripped of their native clothing and belongings. Their hair is shorn, they are given Christian names, and they are forbidden from speaking in their native languages. They are robbed of the identity. Alma’s father, as well as the other white people who work at the school, believe that what they are doing is the right thing. Even though Alma is a child, she questions what they are going to the native children. As Alma grows up alongside the native children, she learns their customs and their languages. But it is when she falls in love with one of the native boys and asks for permission to marry him that Alma realizes that she is the only one at the Stover Indian School who sees the Native Americans as her equals. I was absolutely blown away by BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY. The story is very compelling, and I love how Alma’s present plays out alongside her past. As the only white child attending the Stover Indian School, Alma is stuck in a difficult situation. She is supposed to be an example for the native children, but she also wants to be their friend. She becomes caught up in the gray area – she is a white woman who knows about and embraces not only the Native American people but their culture as well. The reader witnesses how Alma’s grows and reshapes her opinions as she learns more about the Native Americans and their plight. The story is also a heartbreaking one not only for Alma, but for all of the Native American children who were forced to attend the Stover Indian School. This is a novel about losing one’s native identity while trying to establish a place in a world that is not yet receptive to people who are not white.
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  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I enjoy reading historical fiction and love it even more when I learn about events that I didn't know about while I am reading. Between Earth and Sky does just that and more. The book is about the treatment of Indian children in the late 1800s when many of them were taken from their homes and families and moved to boarding schools. Their language and their traditions were stripped away from them as they were being 'civilized'. In the second time period in the novel - 1906 - we are shown the rami I enjoy reading historical fiction and love it even more when I learn about events that I didn't know about while I am reading. Between Earth and Sky does just that and more. The book is about the treatment of Indian children in the late 1800s when many of them were taken from their homes and families and moved to boarding schools. Their language and their traditions were stripped away from them as they were being 'civilized'. In the second time period in the novel - 1906 - we are shown the ramifications of the changes that the children went through and how it affected the rest of their lives.As the novel begins, Alma is a young girl is waiting for the boarders at the new school that her father has just set up in Wisconsin. She is excited about the possibility of having so many new friends. Even as a child, she is shocked by what happens when the Indian children arrive at the school. Their clothes are burned and their hair is cut. They are no longer allowed to talk in their own language or do anything that would remind them of their past lives. Even their Indian names are changed to Christian names. The alternate time line is about Alma, now grown, who has moved to Philadelphia and reads in a newspaper article that one of her old friends from the school has been accused of murder. She convinces her lawyer husband that they need to help this young man because she felt that her friend had been unjustly accused of murder. What she learns when she travels back to Wisconsin is not only more about herself but also the results of the education that the Indian children had received at the boarding school.This is a beautifully written novel that shows the amount of research that was done by the author. I knew very little about the Indian boarding schools during this time and I was appalled at the treatment that these children received. The characters are well written and the entire novel is fantastic. This is a debut novel for this author and I can't wait to read her future books.Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    I will upload my review after Library Journal prints it.
  • Bookworm
    January 1, 1970
    Between Earth and Sky is a powerful and poignant exploration of the residential school system in the US during the late 19th century. It was nice to learn more about this significant part of history because it continues to have an impact even today. Although the story is based on American residential schools, the story is also relevant to Canadian history. The story starts in 1906 with Alma Michell reading a newspaper article about an old friend from her days living at her father's residential s Between Earth and Sky is a powerful and poignant exploration of the residential school system in the US during the late 19th century. It was nice to learn more about this significant part of history because it continues to have an impact even today. Although the story is based on American residential schools, the story is also relevant to Canadian history. The story starts in 1906 with Alma Michell reading a newspaper article about an old friend from her days living at her father's residential school in the 1880's. Harry Muskrat is being tried for the murder of a government official. Alma can't fathom Harry being the culprit who committed this crime and enlists her husband, an attorney, to help prove his innocence. As Alma digs deeper into the situation, old memories come flooding back and Alma is left wondering if her childhood perspective of being close friends with Harry and the other students and her friends' school related successes are really as accurate as she once believed.This story provides the reader with a snapshot of life for the Native American children in the residential school system. The plot contains really only a taste of the abuse that was suffered by these children. In reality, the abuse was much more significant than what is detailed although the disenfranchisement from both indigenous and caucasian culture is well portrayed. This fictional account also included a unique perspective of the sincere efforts of school personnel at Stover residential school to assimilate the Native American students they deemed "savages" to become respectable Christian citizens. Unfortunately given the patriarchal and racist lens of that era, respect didn't go very and for the most part, they were deemed second class citizens at best or feared as savage beasts at worst. The story is told through the eyes of Alma both as a child and adult with alternating timelines.Excellent writing and character development brings the reader into the folds of this story. We form strong attachments to the whole cast be it love, hate, hope, anger, concern, disappointment, sadness, etc. The story is multidimensional in that we can see the characters' covert decisions but also appreciate the layers beneath. In other words, people can be both good and bad. They can make flawed decisions with the best intentions. This is a book that will make you think and feel. At the heart of its message is the suggestion that assimilation created more problems than it solved, leaving a generation of people who were left without any meaningful identity. Truly a captivating read that leaves a lingering impact on the reader.A gracious thank you to Kensington Books and Amanda Skenandore for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Becky
    January 1, 1970
    1881: Seven-year-old Alma and her family have moved west to start a school. A school for Indians. Here, the tribal children will learn to integrate into society. To lose their Indian ways and become Americans. It's her father's one true passion and Alma is excited to be part of it all. 1906: An Indian has been arrested, accused of murdering a federal agent, and awaiting trial out west. When Alma sees the story she knows it can't be true - the accused is her friend, Harry Muskrat, a man she's kno 1881: Seven-year-old Alma and her family have moved west to start a school. A school for Indians. Here, the tribal children will learn to integrate into society. To lose their Indian ways and become Americans. It's her father's one true passion and Alma is excited to be part of it all. 1906: An Indian has been arrested, accused of murdering a federal agent, and awaiting trial out west. When Alma sees the story she knows it can't be true - the accused is her friend, Harry Muskrat, a man she's knows since her school days. A smart and kind man she is certain could never have murdered anyone. And so she convinces her husband, a lawyer, to help. But when they travel to Minnesota, Harry staunchly refuses their help, posing a question to Alma that forces her to question her father's cause and her own part in it. Between Earth and Sky is a fascinating read. Based on a true case, that of a Lakota man named Tasunka Ota, and the very real Indian boarding schools that began to spring up in the late nineteenth century, the book shines a light on a piece of history many may not be aware of. Alma herself just wants to be friends with her new classmates. But she doesn't realize the truth about the school or their circumstances - that the children are being ripped from their homes and stripped of their cultures. She does see that they're treated unjustly at the hands of their teacher - punished for not learning English quick enough for example - and she tries to help. She does eventually make friends and begins to learn more about these children and their lives before the school. Even still, as an adult she doesn't understand why Harry would refuse the help of a white man. And it's then that she finally has to face the fact that what happened all those years ago may have been a grave wrong on the part of her father and everyone else involved with the schools and more. That the treatment of her friends wasn't for their own good at all.Alma's spunkiness and drive draws the reader in, but it's her overall growth that keeps the reader fully immersed in her story. From the start she's clever and warm, seeing immediately that the kids she's to be schooled with are nothing like the stories and books she's been told. Her determination to make friends is rewarded and her interest in their lives and cultures makes the reader love her even more. The story isn't sweet or happy. These things happened, fictionalized though they may be, but with Alma as a guide and Harry and the others as her own guide to the truth, Skenandore gives voice to and gives the reader a chance to really consider this dark part of our history and the awful treatment of our nations native people.
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  • Deb
    January 1, 1970
    I am a big fan of historical fiction and I especially enjoy books that focus on time periods or events that I know little about, so after reading the summary of Between Earth and Sky, I clamored to be on the book tour. Set in Wisconsin in the late 1800s and then again in 1906, the novel starts with the main character Alma, finding a newspaper article "Indian Man Faces Gallows For Murder Of Federal Agent." The name of the accused, Harry Muskrat, is one Alma immediately recognizes, he was a childh I am a big fan of historical fiction and I especially enjoy books that focus on time periods or events that I know little about, so after reading the summary of Between Earth and Sky, I clamored to be on the book tour. Set in Wisconsin in the late 1800s and then again in 1906, the novel starts with the main character Alma, finding a newspaper article "Indian Man Faces Gallows For Murder Of Federal Agent." The name of the accused, Harry Muskrat, is one Alma immediately recognizes, he was a childhood friend that she grew up with as they both attended the Stover School, a boarding school created by her father after the Indian Wars (the collection of conflicts fought over decades between white America and the various Native American tribes). The purpose of the school and the other schools like it was to 'better' Native American children by making them drop their culture and assimilate them into white America. Alma is the only non-Indian student, used an example of deportment for the children, who are thought of as "savages" by so many. Alma just wants to blend in and befriend these children, like Harry, and doesn't really understand what being forced to straddle the two worlds does to her classmates. Alma gets her patent attorney husband to help her friend, but Harry, or Asku as Alma knew him, doesn't seem to want to be helped. I was quickly caught up in Alma's story--both as a child and as an adult. The chapters alternate time frames well as Alma's story slowly unspools, revealing the secrets she is hiding from her husband and from herself. It is tough reading at times--mainly due to the anger and emotion drawn from how the Native American children were treated--taken from their families, forced to give up their personal and cultural identities--even being forced to take new names and being punished for speaking their tribes' languages. Alma is a character that you can't help but feel for--she holds her father up to a high ideal, and believes that what is being done will ultimately benefit her friends. The author obviously did her research on the different tribes--the descriptions of the school, town, the reservation, and the languages, are painted vividly and make the story come alive. As mentioned, I knew very little about these off-reservation boarding schools that existed primarily from the late 1870s into the 1930s and even beyond as like much of the Native American experience--it was glossed over or left out of the American history classes I took. The book had me googling for more information and will keep me thinking hard about this sad piece of history long after I turned the final pages. While not an easy read, Between Earth and Sky is a compelling one and I recommend it highly.You can see my review, a recipe inspired by the book and enter to win a giveaway for a copy of the book (giveaway through 5/24/18) on my blog post here: http://kahakaikitchen.blogspot.com/20...Note: A review copy of "Between Earth and Sky" was provided to me by the author and the publisher, via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Gregory Kompes
    January 1, 1970
    Skenandore's debut novel is an interesting, evenly paced, well-written exploration of 19th century Indian Schools in America. The writing and descriptions are rich and compelling and the historic details are masterly woven into the book. I look forward to more work from this author.
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  • Dianne Biscoe
    January 1, 1970
    This story tugged at my mind and my heart strings as I read it. Difficult to put down once you start reading page 1. I am so struck by society's desire to "fix" other folks lives to be more like "ours" and how we continue to do this in 2018! Will we EVER learn?!Great read...buy it, borrow it or whatever but READ it! I admit I got this book from my local library and did not purchase it.
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I!!! Am!!! Here!!! For!!! Books!!! About!!! Residential!!! Schools!!! Seriously, they are not written about enough, and even if this is fiction, the world needs to know.
  • Roger DeBlanck
    January 1, 1970
    Skenandore’s debut novel is compelling on many levels. It’s a vivid historical drama, a page-turning mystery, and a heartrending coming-of-age story. Skenandore expertly balances the narrative with short, intense chapters that alternate between the past and present, and she keeps the suspense running high with dual mysteries. What will be the fate of Asku (also known as Harry)? And what secrets of Alma’s past is she keeping buried?In the 1880s Alma Mitchell attended Wisconsin’s Stover School for Skenandore’s debut novel is compelling on many levels. It’s a vivid historical drama, a page-turning mystery, and a heartrending coming-of-age story. Skenandore expertly balances the narrative with short, intense chapters that alternate between the past and present, and she keeps the suspense running high with dual mysteries. What will be the fate of Asku (also known as Harry)? And what secrets of Alma’s past is she keeping buried?In the 1880s Alma Mitchell attended Wisconsin’s Stover School for Indians, a place established by her father. Under the aegis of the U.S. government, the school’s objective is to civilize and Christianize the heathen Indians. Even though the school wants to erase the Indians’ identity by changing their names and offering them industry skills, Alma’s growth over time sees the detriment of programs attempting to eliminate the heritage of an entire people. The friendships and relations she develops with the Indians allow her to reject the stereotypes of the White world and accept the diversity of the Indians.At the outset of the novel, Alma is jolted into her past when an article in a Philadelphia newspaper alerts her to a former Indian at Stover, now accused of murder. Asku (renamed Harry) was the finest student at the school and Alma is convinced he never could have committed such an act. She pleads with her husband Stewart, an attorney, to look into what can be done to help Asku. Within days, Alma and Stewart travel to Minnesota to probe the investigation of Asku’s involvement with killing a U.S. agent on the White Earth reservation. Alma’s quest to prove Asku’s innocence becomes more than an effort to save an old friend. It propels her into confronting the pain and guilt of her own past secrets.Skenandore offers touching scenes of humanity with Alma learning from and standing up for the Indians. Watching her battle with her past is both haunting and redemptive. Skenandore shows how the years the Indians spent at the school led to alienation from their native heritage, but also it caused great harm in their inability to assimilate into a White world that stigmatized and discriminated against them. As for her prose, Skenandore offers a graceful brushstroke of details in each chapter, and she nicely incorporates the native language into the narrative and dialogue. Between Earth and Sky is a harrowing novel that will keep your heart racing and your emotions on edge.
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  • Suanne
    January 1, 1970
    Amanda Skenandore’s debut novel, Between Earth and Sky, looks at those deplorable Indian residential schools established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States and Canada. In these schools, children were forced to abandon their Native American identities and cultures, forbidden to speak their own languages. Many cases of physical, emotional and sexual abuse—atrocities performed in the guise of assimilating young Native Americans into “white” culture while committing cultu Amanda Skenandore’s debut novel, Between Earth and Sky, looks at those deplorable Indian residential schools established in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in the United States and Canada. In these schools, children were forced to abandon their Native American identities and cultures, forbidden to speak their own languages. Many cases of physical, emotional and sexual abuse—atrocities performed in the guise of assimilating young Native Americans into “white” culture while committing cultural genocide of the Native American language and customs.While Between Earth and Sky blends the “past” of the 1880s with the “present” of thhe 1900s, there is not sufficient a time difference to expect “white” cultural attitudes towards Manifest Destiny to change. So there is some projection of twenty-first century perspectives here onto the said Manifest Destiny prevailing at that time.I would have liked to have seen a greater depth of response from Alma towards the two Native American deaths she experiences first hand. The level of her reaction seems less than warranted for the violent deaths of a lover and a dear friend. At the same time, Stewart, her husband’s reaction to learning that his wife was not the pristine woman he’d assumed, but that she’d had sexual intercourse with what he considered a sub-human male, was resolved overnight—again, a depth of emotion that seemed insufficient for the situation.
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  • gwayle
    January 1, 1970
    A historical novel set in the American Midwest at the turn of the last century, Between Earth and Sky is the coming of age of Alma, a white girl who befriends the students in her father’s boarding school for Native American children. The book alternates between her time at school, where she witnesses the heartbreaking and abusive tactics of forced assimilation, and years later, when she reads in the newspaper that one of her classmates has been accused of murder and rushes to his side to defend A historical novel set in the American Midwest at the turn of the last century, Between Earth and Sky is the coming of age of Alma, a white girl who befriends the students in her father’s boarding school for Native American children. The book alternates between her time at school, where she witnesses the heartbreaking and abusive tactics of forced assimilation, and years later, when she reads in the newspaper that one of her classmates has been accused of murder and rushes to his side to defend him, dragging her lawyer husband along with her. I'd love to hear Native perspectives, but my own feeling is that the author, a white woman, handled this material sensitively—she depicted a rich culture but did not presume a Native viewpoint. Alma really grapples with what she was taught, what she feels to be true, and what her Native friends tell (and don't tell) her, and I thought this struggle was the most intriguing aspect of the novel. In all, I was consistently engaged and frequently moved by this dramatic tale of friendship, first love, racism (TW racially motivated violence), injustice, and the terrible consequences of self-righteous white saviorship. Thank you to the publisher, the Goodreads Giveaway program, and NetGalley for the opportunities to read this novel in advance of its publication date.
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  • Chelsea
    January 1, 1970
    I'll say it again, I love historical fiction! This book was so interesting, in a very tragic way, since I had never heard of Native American assimilation schools. I was ashamed to learn Americans had done this, but I always feel like people should know about our history, even if it is unpleasant. The characters really came alive in this story, and the writing was great. Sometimes I get tired of narrations switching back and forth, but I did like that this one only jumped a few years, and it was I'll say it again, I love historical fiction! This book was so interesting, in a very tragic way, since I had never heard of Native American assimilation schools. I was ashamed to learn Americans had done this, but I always feel like people should know about our history, even if it is unpleasant. The characters really came alive in this story, and the writing was great. Sometimes I get tired of narrations switching back and forth, but I did like that this one only jumped a few years, and it was still in the past (early 1900s). That was unique! I also liked that the characters changed quite a bit, which made them more realistic, especially her best friend (that's all I'll say, to avoid spoilers). This is a great book to read if you want to learn about the Native American boarding schools, and read a wonderful story, at the same time.
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  • Renee
    January 1, 1970
    Between Earth and Sky is an engrossing novel of prejudice, injustice, guilt, love, and so much more. I turned the pages anxious for each chapter to unfold more of this complex story which shifts from Alma's current life to her past growing up at an Indian boarding school run by her father. The characters came alive for me, so much so, that I admit to shedding tears during certain chapters and the ending was unexpected. This book also opened my eyes to a period in history that I had little knowle Between Earth and Sky is an engrossing novel of prejudice, injustice, guilt, love, and so much more. I turned the pages anxious for each chapter to unfold more of this complex story which shifts from Alma's current life to her past growing up at an Indian boarding school run by her father. The characters came alive for me, so much so, that I admit to shedding tears during certain chapters and the ending was unexpected. This book also opened my eyes to a period in history that I had little knowledge of. I anxiously await the next book by this author.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    With a unique historical setting, intriguing characters, and lovely prose, BETWEEN EARTH AND SKY makes for a compelling read. It's an eye-opening story about the assimilation/exploitation of Native Americans in the late 1800s that is both sensitive and sympathetic without being preachy. I enjoyed it.
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  • Jennifer Schmitt
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! What a remarkable story, and from a first time author! Amanda Skenandore uses her amazing story telling to shed light on an aspect of often untold US history. You confront your own ideas and assumptions of our past with the Native Americans right along side the main character Alma. I highly recommend this book!
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