Wednesday, June 1, 2005



Highly regarded Limberlost Press is pleased to announce the release of a Second Edition (December 1, 2003) of the critically acclaimed novel, The Ferry Woman (including new maps). Demand for the novel continus to increase from customers of major vendors including Amazon. com, Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine bookshops. Distribution is handled by Ingrams (iPage), and Baker & Taylor.

(PRWEB) November 12, 2003

Highly regarded Limberlost Press is pleased to announce the release of a second edition of The Ferry Woman-A Novel of the Mountain Meadows Massacre (including new maps)December 1, 2003 in time for the holiday gift-giving season.

Demand for the novel continues to increase from customers of major vendors including Amazon. com, Barnes & Noble, Borders and other fine bookshops after it was listed as Out of Print. Distribution is handled by Ingrams (iPage), and Baker & Taylor.

Over 3,500 copies of author Gerald Grimmett's first novel were sold within a year of its release. Due to the unprecedented quality, and sensitive handling of the tragedy of the massacre in the Mountain Meadows Sept. 11, 1857 at the hands of Mormon avengers, the novel was well received by critics, and has a special appeal to women readers.   

America's seemingly haunted date, September 11, was the scene of one of America's great unprovoked tragedies when fifty armed Mormon settlers and their Indian allies slaughtered over 120 unarmed men, women and children by treacherously luring them from the safety of their meadow sanctuary. Under a flag of truce and a promise of protection from allied Indian bands, the Mormons lined the innocents two by two into an executioner's file, and slaughtered everyone except those who were not old enough to speak.

Full reader comments and reviews of The Ferry Woman may be found at www. geraldgrimmett. com; Amazon. com; Barnes & Noble. com; and Borders. com.

The publisher says the remarkable novel is all the more rare because a male author managed to capture the essence of a woman's voice and heart in the midst of the terrible turmoil in the American West. The first edition jumped from obscurity briefly into the top 100 listings on Amazon. com by the time the first edition went out of print.

The last five pristine author's copies of the First Edition have been placed on the auction block at ebay. com

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Rating the Best of the West



  A novel narrated by one of the wives of one of Utah 's most infamous historical figures was the best book published in and about the West in 2001. 

 The Ferry Woman by Gerald Grimmett is narrated by Emeline Buxton Lee, fictional 16th wife of John D. Lee, the only man punished for the murder by massacre of more than 120 persons by Mormons and Paiutes at Mountain Meadows in 1857. The novel, like some of the works of Dostoyevsky, examines the nature of guilt. The anguish the narrator experiences because of the conflicting pulls of guilt and love for her husband provides the book with its disturbing power. It is a great novel.


Sunday, March 25, 2001

Ferry Woman' Offers An Artist's 

Take on Mountain Meadows

                                                                                                                                                   BY MARTIN NAPARSTECK


The Ferry Woman

By Gerald Grimmett;

Limberlost Press; $16.95    


     Some truths are best revealed by the scientist, some by the historian, some by the artist. Gerald Grimmett reveals truths in The Ferry Woman that only an artist, a superb novelist, can reveal. He has given us a great novel.

 Grimmett does that despite some small lapses, including a not-quite-accurate subtitle: A Novel of John D. Lee and the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

 The novel is less about John D. Lee than it is about Emeline Buxton Lee, his fictional 16th wife, and less about the Mountain Meadows Massacre than it is about the aftermath -- particularly the legacy of guilt -- of that dreadful day in September 1857 when a ruthless gang of Mormons, on orders from church leaders, killed 120 or more men, women and children traveling across southwestern Utah.

 The novel is great because of the richness of Grimmett's language; because of the grand, at points biblical sweep of his tale; because of his insight into the psychology of Emeline, whom he manages to portray as richly individualistic and real, but also as a metaphor for Mormon culture; and, mostly, because of his courage in confronting the most discomforting episode in Mormon history and the implicit complicity of the Mormon culture's single most revered leader, Brigham Young.   

  The novel is narrated by Emeline four decades after the massacre, after she has remarried and moved to Washington, D. C. Thus, it benefits from a sense of distance in time, place and emotion, a distance that allows Em (as John calls her) to impose not merely objectivity but, more important, imaginative interpretation on the story she unfolds. The massacre itself is in the past of the past she narrates; that is, she tells us about what transpired after she married Lee, something she does years after the massacre. She is the wife who goes with Lee to Lonely Dell (later named Lee's Ferry) to avoid capture by the U. S. government for his role in the killings. It is there that she helps run the ferry across the Colorado River (thus the title). Despite the fictional protagonist, Grimmett stays close to the version of the story as rendered by Juanita Brooks in her classic study, The Mountain Meadows Massacre, and in her biography of Lee.

 We see Lee in near-exile, in prison, at his trial, at his execution; we see, too, his shunning by fellow Mormons, his abandonment by some of his wives, and his confusing (even in his own mind) fidelity to Brigham Young. The plot line will be familiar to anyone who has read about the massacre, anyone who (unlike the state of Utah ) is willing to admit who did the killing.

 The willingness to create similes and metaphors that slap the reader into awareness ("feelings like deranged black ravens crashed into places they did not belong," "o'er all, lay the shadow," "my momentary refuge in what can only be called a madness") enrich page after page of this novel. At points, a reader may wonder if the richness of the language will overwhelm the book, like too-sweet icing topping a wonderful cake. But that never happens.

 It doesn't happen because Grimmett repeatedly returns to the complexity of Em's personality: She loathes John, once she learns about the massacre, for his role in it, and despises Brigham Young for sacrificing her husband, and loves her husband because he is a thoughtful and kind man, a caring and gentle husband and father (although he admits, "I've never been a man to have friends"). That is, she recognizes the evil her husband participated in, is outraged at Brigham Young (not because he ordered the massacre -- in this story he does not -- but because he synchronized the keeping of the secret), yet accepts her role as the dutiful wife (much like Ruth in the Old Testament).

 Em will befriend a young woman, Olivia, a polygamous wife of an abusive husband who is a bishop in the church, and together -- although without complete knowledge of what the other plans -- go to Salt Lake City to kill Young. We are told Young "used his money and the church's money as if they were one and the same" and that he should be sent to "the Inferno, where the damned slaked their thirst in a lake of red and yellow fire." We see him lying to John about the earliest report of the massacre, hear him tell Olivia her husband is right to beat her, see him live a life of selfishness, with an impulsiveness that damages the lives of others. Grimmett's fictitious Brigham Young is evil.

 Whether Grimmett has painted a historically accurate portrait of Young will, no doubt, be the most controversial part of this novel. It is the right of the novelist to paint such a portrait, and the courage required to paint some portraits differently than others have done deserves some credit. (While in the book, all of the condemnations of Brigham Young are products of the characters, the author clearly his protagonist.)

 Along with the 1999 publication of Dancing Naked by Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner and (to only a slightly lesser extent) Levi Peterson's 1995 Aspen Marooney, Grimmett's The Ferry Woman is part of a great awakening in Mormon literature. Peterson gently examined the relationship between premarital sex and Mormon culture. Van Wagoner angrily probed into the hypocrisy of any rigid moral system (in this case, a Mormon one). Grimmett takes us into the deepest, darkest chamber of the Mormon heart and helps us understand its architecture.

 The Ferry Woman is a novel that can provide an entire culture with an Aristotelian catharsis; like all great literature, it forces us to confront truths that make us uncomfortable. And it cures us in the process.


 Martin Naparsteck reviews books from and about the West for The Salt Lake Tribune.


 Copyright 2001, The Salt Lake Tribune All material found on Utah OnLine is copyrighted The Salt Lake Tribune and associated news services. No material may be reproduced or reused without explicit permission from The Salt Lake Tribune.