Winona Cole is an orphaned seventeen year old. She is a Lakota Indian who saw her mother and sister murdered. Subsequently, she was raised by two men. Thomas McNulty and John Cole are not your average Tennessee frontiersmen, but they are loving, kind and honest. A Thousand Moons takes place soon after the Civil War, Although the north has won in western Tennessee, which is where the novel is set, bigotry and violence against minorities is often accepted, even encouraged. When Winona is raped and her friend and former slave, Tennyson Bouquereau is beaten to within an inch of his life, Winona decides to search for the culprits and seek justice.
I had never read Sebastian Barry before even though I know many who enjoy him, and he is the recipient of many literary awards. I hope A Thousand Moons isn’t ranked one of his best. I couldn’t empathize with the characters nor did I find their situations very realistic.