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The Good Journey

Gilchrist, Micaela

213 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0684871432 / ISBN 13: 9780684871431
Published by Simon and Schuster, New York, 2001
Condition: Fine Hardcover
From Black Falcon Books (Wellesley, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

First printing, full number line. Signed by the author in black marker on the title page: "Micaela Gilchrist." The author's debut novel. Book is tight, square, and unmarked; the dust jacket is not price-clipped (original price $24.00). Brodart protected. Bookseller Inventory # 002971

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The Good Journey

Publisher: Simon and Schuster, New York

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Signed by Author

Edition: First Edition

About this title


In the tradition of such memorable bestselling authors as Willa Cather and Edna Ferber, or such more recent successes as Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain and Philip Kimball's Liar's Moon, Micaela Gilchrist has written a first-rate, romantic and deeply moving historical novel, rich with the kind of detail that brings history to life and peopled with the kind of larger-than-life characters that stand out against even the brilliant, tumultuous, bloody backdrop of the struggle for the West.

Inspired by the real-life letters and diaries of Mary Bullitt, an outspoken and strong-willed young Southern belle whose life on the frontier is the stuff of legend and of epics, The Good Journey is the sweeping and enthralling story of two extraordinary people, set against a West that was still to be won. It is at once a love story, the intimate portrait of a marriage and a fascinating recreation of the Black Hawk wars, the long, bloody clash between one of the great Native American leaders and his principal opponent, a tough, resourceful and determined American general with deeply conflicted feelings on the subject of Indians.

When Mary Bullitt first meets General Henry Atkinson, who has come east from his outpost on the Mississippi specifically to find a bride, she is barely civil to him, and that only to humor her mother, who is anxious to have her oldest daughter make a good match and get on with her life by becoming a wife and mother. No one is more surprised than Mary herself, therefore, when only a few days later she finds herself married to this intriguing older stranger and headed away (in circumstances of extreme discomfort) from the civilized life she enjoyed in Louisville, Kentucky, into the unknown wilds of the western frontier.

The midwinter journey from Louisville to St. Louis, where the General has his headquarters, is arduous, but nothing prepares Mary Bullitt for the rigors -- and very real danger -- of life at the edge of the vast expanse of the Western Territory, a name given at the time (approximately 1820) to everything that lay beyond the Mississippi River. Living conditions are primitive, especially compared to the wealth and luxury Mary left behind in Kentucky, but more unsettling still is the constant threat of attack from the Indians that hangs over their daily lives -- and Mary's growing awareness that she knows even less about this man she has married than she does about the place and the people who live there.

The unfolding of their marriage -- and the appearance in their lives of Bright Sun, a pretty young Indian woman who seems to have a close and mysterious relationship to the General, and of Black Hawk himself, a fierce and determined enemy whose connection to the General is tangled, deeply personal and another mystery -- takes place against the background of war and hardship, as Mary struggles not only to find herself, but to make a success of her marriage with a man even more stubborn than herself.

The Good Journey spans the approximately twenty years of Mary and the General's marriage, during which many battles, both large and small, are waged. In the end, none is a clear victory, for nothing is won without a loss, whether it is something as substantial as more land for the settlers or something as basic as Mary's gradual uncovering of the hidden secrets of the General's past. Micaela Gilchrist's debut novel offers a journey that you will not soon forget.

About the Author:

Micaela Gilchrist is the author of The Good Journey, winner of the Women Writing the West Award and the Colorado Book Award. She lives with her family in Colorado.

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