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There are one million new books published each year. With so many books and so little time, where do you begin to find your next must-read? There’s the New York Times Bestseller list, the Goodreads app, the Cape Library’s Staff picks shelf and now Martin’s Must-Reads.Every Wednesday at 6:42 and 8:42 a.m., and Sunday at 8:18 a.m., Betty Martin recommends a must read based on her own personal biases for historical fiction, quirky characters and overall well-turned phrases. Her list includes WWII novels, biographies of trailblazers, novels with truly unique individuals and lots more. Reading close to 100 titles a year, Betty has plenty of titles to share.Local support for "Martin's Must Reads" comes from the Cape Girardeau Public Library and the Poplar Bluff Municipal Library.

Martin's Must-Reads: 'Crow Mary'

“I hope that as you read the amazing story of Crow Mary you felt her spirit and her courage and strength as she fought to do what she knew to survive in the 1800’s. Both the author and I, Crow Mary’s great-granddaughter, felt her overwhelming spirit for the first time when we visited Fort Walsh, AKA Fort Farwell, a historical site in Saskatchewan, Canada. There I learned about the Cypress Hills Massacre and my great-grandmother’s part in it.”

Those are some lines from the forward of Kathleen Grissom’s historical novel Crow Mary. It’s based on the true story of a Montana Crow woman, Goes First ,who, at age 16, marries a white fur-trader, Abe Farwell, and moves with him to his trading post in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan, Canada.

The story spans the years of 1863-1892. After Goes First marries Abe, she is given a new name, Crow Mary. She cooks for the traders and witnesses first-hand what whiskey does to the Indians, the traders and eventually her husband. The men responsible for a Nakoda massacre take five Nakoda women back to their camp to abuse them. The historical fact of Crow Mary following them and single handedly rescuing the women is included in the novel. Crow Mary and Abe have three children, two of whom are sent to a white school against Crow Mary’s wishes.

As the jacket says, “inspired by the life of the real Crow Mary and endorsed by her great-granddaughter, Crow elders, and Crow scholars, this is an epic love story that sweeps across decades, showcases the beauty of the natural world, and probes the intimacies of a marriage and one woman’s heart.”

If you’re looking for a well written novel about the harsh realities of life for Native Americans on the frontier, then you must read Crow Mary by Kathleen Grissom.

Betty Martin was born in Boston, Massachusetts to a Lutheran pastor and his organist wife. Betty’s love of books was inspired by her father who read to all four children each night.