The boundaries between love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, and cooperation and competition among Native Americans and white settlers are explored in this stunning novel, set against the unforgiving wilderness of frontier Kansas in the mid-nineteenth century.
Iris, India, and Singing Bird. Theirs is an uneasy alliance--a makeshift trinity of mother, daughter, and ambiguously holy spirit--that together forges a family of necessity. The fates of these women and their loved ones are inextricably linked by the powerful magic of the talisman known as the Life Stone.
Author's Comment: When my former mother-in-law began her slow slide into Alzheimer's, we all hoped it might be an easy descent – from knowing to not knowing and then (ideally) into sweet oblivion. The heartbreaking reality, however, was that her moments of "sweet oblivion" were few and far between and that, more often, she was teetering between panicked bewilderment and the terrifying realization that everything she knew and loved was slipping away. Because I could not be with her as much as I would have liked, I did the only thing I could to alleviate that awful feeling of powerlessness as well as to honor her memory: I wrote. "Fertilizer" is purely fictional; it is not factually true on any level. But my hope is that it might resonate with moments of emotional truth for anyone who has accompanied a loved one on that difficult journey. This story is for you.