Margaret Verble is an enrolled and voting citizen of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and a member of a large Cherokee family that has, through generations, made many contributions to the tribe’s history and survival. Although many of her family have remained in Oklahoma to this day, and some still own and farm the land on which the book is set, Margaret was raised in Nashville, Tennessee, and currently lives in Lexington, Kentucky.
Her first novel, Maud’s Line, was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Many of the characters of Maud’s Line are based on people Margaret knew as a child and the setting is land she roamed for many years of her life. In part, Margaret wrote this book to keep those people and that land alive in her heart.
Margaret’s new novel, Cherokee America, was released by Houghton, Mifflin, Harcourt on Feb. 19, 2019. A prequel to Maud’s Line, it is set in 1875 in the Arkansas River bottoms of the old Cherokee Nation West.
About Cherokee America
A baby, a black hired hand, a bay horse, a gun, and a neighbor have all gone missing in the same corner of the Cherokee Nation West. Cherokee America Singer, known as Check, is none too pleased with these developments. As a wealthy farmer, the mother of five boys, and the matriarch of her family, she’s accustomed to wielding authority. And she’s determined to find out what’s going on.
In the aftermath of the Civil War, complex alliances and simmering race and culture clashes unite and divide the people living on Cherokee lands. Tensions mount and violence escalates, and the long arm of white law encroaches further into Indian Territory. Determined to survive and thrive on their own terms after decades of betrayal and hardship, Check’s family, friends, and neighbors must come together to avenge a crime, outwit federal authorities, and protect their sovereignty.
Inspired by Margaret Verble’s family history and written with dry humor and a lot of heart, Cherokee America is a different kind of Western, one told from a Native American point of view and with a mixed-race woman at its center. Check—member of a distinguished Cherokee family, daughter of a famous soldier and a slaveholder, wife of an abolitionist—is a necessary, revelatory addition to the literature of the American frontier.