As the first wave of pioneers travel westward to settle the American frontier, two women discover their inner strength when their lives are irrevocably changed by the hardship of the wild west in The Removes, a historical novel from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Tatjana Soli.
Spanning the years of the first great settlement of the West, The Removes tells the intertwining stories of fifteen-year-old Anne Cummins, frontierswoman Libbie Custer, and Libbie’s husband, the Civil War hero George Armstrong Custer. When Anne survives a surprise attack on her family’s homestead, she is thrust into a difficult life she never anticipated—living among the Cheyenne as both a captive and, eventually, a member of the tribe. Libbie, too, is thrown into a brutal, unexpected life when she marries Custer. They move to the territories with the U.S. Army, where Libbie is challenged daily and her worldview expanded: the pampered daughter of a small-town judge, she transforms into a daring camp follower. But when what Anne and Libbie have come to know—self-reliance, freedom, danger—is suddenly altered through tragedy and loss, they realize how indelibly shaped they are by life on the treacherous, extraordinary American plains.
With taut, suspenseful writing, Tatjana Soli tells the exhilarating stories of Libbie and Anne, who have grown like weeds into women unwilling to be restrained by the strictures governing nineteenth-century society. The Removes is a powerful, transporting novel about the addictive intensity and freedom of the American frontier.
Soli (The Lotus Eaters) unleashes a thrilling novel set in the violent Wild West just as the Civil War ends, when a newly formed United States set its sights on Native American territory. Onto the larger canvas of the lives of George Armstrong Custer, the soldier tasked with defeating and corralling the Natives, and his spirited wife, Libbie, is painted the horrific tale of Anne, a young daughter of settlers in the Kansas Territory. The story opens with unimaginable violence as Anne is captured and her family slaughtered by the Cheyenne, then jumps from her travails to the lives of Libbie and Custer, nicknamed "Autie." Soli depicts Custer flailing to find a purpose after the war; his love of battle and the open prairie make him more kin to his Native "enemies" than to his own people. The Custers forge an unbreakable bond, the story swinging from Libbie's perspective to Autie's, and to Anne's, who is battling simply to stay alive. Anne survives starvation, rape, and childbirth, only to eventually be brutalized by one of her own. The clash of cultures is Soli's grand theme, and here she drives home her message that the winners are no more worthy than the losers, and that "not even brotherhood was enough to safeguard people who had what others coveted."