A FEATURED OPRAH "10 Titles to Pick Up Now" February 2018
AWARD-WINNING CREATIVE NONFICTION BIOGRAPHY
1885 - 1914. Mary Fields, a fifty-three-year-old second-generation slave, emancipated and residing in Toledo, receives news of her friend’s impending death. Remedies packed in her satchel, Mary rushes to board the Northern Pacific. Days later, she arrives in the Montana wilderness to find Mother Mary Amadeus lying on frozen earth in a broken-down cabin. Certain that the cloister of frostbit Ursuline nuns and their students, Indian girls rescued from nearby reservations, will not survive without assistance, Mary decides to stay.
She builds a hennery, makes repairs to living quarters, cares for stock, and treks into the mountains to provide food. Brushes with death do not deter her. Mary drives a horse and wagon through perilous terrain and sub-zero blizzards to improve the lives of missionaries, homesteaders and Indians and, in the process, her own.
After weathering wolf attacks, wagon crashes and treacherous conspiracies by scoundrels, local politicians, and the state’s first Catholic bishop, Mary Fields creates another daring plan. An avid patriot, she is determined to register for the vote. The price is high. Will she manifest her personal vision of independence?
PRAISE FOR DELIVERANCE
O, THE OPRAH MAGAZINE
...former slave who braved the Montana Rockies on a journey to rescue a dying friend is the real-life subject of this 19th-century frontier narrative. Adventure abounds in this little-known tale of the heroic middle-aged woman who became the first female African American mail carrier in the U.S.— Hamilton Cain
MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW
Under McConnell's hand, frontier challenges and Montana landscapes come to life. Mary Fields is a true historical figure, dramatized in novel format. Her story will delight readers who look for a blend of accurate historical facts, hard-hitting drama, and realistic scenes powered by a feisty protagonist whose concerns become part of the social changes sweeping the nation.—Diane Donovan
Miantae Metcalf McConnell has fashioned a historical narrative marrying prose and poetry, fact with creative writing. With the discerning eye of a photographer, the deft hand of a historian, and the literary heart of a poet, the life of Mary Fields rises majestically off the page into living history.—Michael Searles, Author, Professor, Augusta University
Miantae Metcalf McConnell provides us with a great history of Mary Fields, an important black westerner. A must-read.—Bruce Glasrud, Author, Professor, CA University
Powerfully written with excellent characterization. The author knows her history and seamlessly has her characters live within it...prose is lovely; every sentence a joy to read...well researched, I’d recommend to history students, strong hero. A fascinating, hard-hitting saga. Highly recommended.—Wishing Shelf Book Awards, U.K.
MCCONNELL’S RESEARCH enabled USPS historians to verify Mary Fields as the first African American woman star route mail carrier in the U.S. A fact-based chronicle of Fields’ life in Montana from 1885 until her death, the narrative examines women rights, bootleg politics, Montana’s turn-of-the-century transition from territory to state and its scandalous 1914 woman suffrage election.