Amanda Skenandore is a historical fiction writer and registered nurse. In writing Between Earth and Sky, she has drawn on the experiences of a close relative, a member of the Ojibwe tribe, who survived an Indian boarding school in the 1950s. Between Earth and Sky is Amanda’s first novel.
Amanda Skenandore shares a special message below exclusively with Southern Lady Book Club readers. Enjoy!
I’m delighted to share with you my novel, Between Earth and Sky. Time is precious, and I thank you for sharing some of yours with me.
Between Earth and Sky is a coming-of-age story set in the late nineteenth century at the tragic intersection of white and Native American cultures. It’s about friendship, betrayal, and the sacrifices we make in the name of belonging.
As the novel opens, Alma Mitchell learns an Indian friend and former classmate has been arrested for murder. Her fledgling investigation to prove him innocent brings her face-to-face with the destructive legacy of the “savage-taming” boarding school run by her father that she once called home. To discover the truth behind her friend’s arrest, Alma must first reckon with the past; with love, racism, and betrayal; and with the seemingly impassable divide between their cultures.
My mother-in-law, who herself attended an Indian mission school as a girl, first told me of the Native American boarding schools. Even having grown up in the West, where many of these schools were located, I hadn’t learned of this ignoble part of our history. In writing this story, I wanted to shed light on that history, explore its complexities, and give voice to the children taken from their homes in the name of assimilation.
While the tragedy of this period is inescapable, Between Earth and Sky is also a story of hope and resilience. I hope you enjoy it.