Kathleen Grissom, former Charlotte County resident, releases new novel

Published 5:16 am Wednesday, May 31, 2023

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Former Charlotte County resident and New York Times bestselling author Kathleen Grissom will release her third and highly anticipated novel Crow Mary on June 6.

Published by Simon & Schuster, the historical fiction draws inspiration from the life of the legendary Crow Mary and is backed by her great-granddaughter, Crow elders, and Crow scholars. 

According to Grissom, the novel captures the true story of Crow Mary, an indigenous woman torn between two worlds in 19th century North America and is a tale of an epic love story that spans generations, taking place in the upper West and Canada, and delves into the complexities of marriage and a woman’s heart.

More about Crow Mary

In the novel Crow Mary, Grissom takes readers back to 1872, where Goes First, a 16-year-old Crow Native woman, married a white fur trader, Abe Farwell. 

Renamed Mary by her husband, they embarked on a journey to his trading post in the Cypress Hills of Saskatchewan, Canada. Along the way, Mary formed a bond with a Métis named Jeannie but also made a lifelong enemy in the Wolfer, Stiller. 

Despite discovering a dark secret from Farwell’s past, Mary fell in love with her husband. The winter trading season passed peacefully until a group of drunken whiskey traders massacred 40 Nakota people on the eve of their return to Montana.

Mary witnessed the horrific event, including the abduction of five Nakota women by the murderers, which included Stiller. 

She implored Farwell to save them, but he refused. 

Determined to save the women, Mary took matters into her own hands. Armed with two guns, she infiltrated the fort and rescued the captives, setting off a clash of cultures that brought out the best and worst qualities in the unforgettable characters.

Grissom’s previous novels include The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything.

In fact, it was in Charlotte County that Grissom began her career as an author when she started to research and write The Kitchen House.

Kathleen Grissom and her career

Originally from Saskatchewan, Canada, Grissom moved to the Madisonville community of the county in the early 90s and it was when she and her husband began to renovate their circa 1830 home, she became interested in learning the history of the home and the area.

It was when she was shown a map that she became even more interested. 

“I wanted to know what happened there,” Grissom said. “I joined a writers’ group, and the Piedmont Literary Society, and when I met Eleanor Dolan, a gifted poet, she generously agreed to mentor me in my writing.”

In addition to Dolan, Grissom said it was the late Pamplin native Raymond Dickerson that helped in her search for answers.

“I just remember feeling at peace and being able to ask questions and they generously shared those answers with me,” Grissom said. “I don’t know if I would have ever been an author if I had not moved to Charlotte County.”

Today, Grissom makes her home in Charlottesville but says that Charlotte County will always feel like home to her.

“I felt at home when I moved there … and I still consider it my home,” Grissom said.

Beginning next week Grissom will kick off her book tour for Crow Mary with her first appearance and reading at Givens Books at 2236 Lakeside Drive Lynchburg beginning at 6 p.m.

For more information on Grissom’s other novels or to preorder Crow Mary, click here