Indigo Sky is an enthralling glimpse of what life was like for women in the 1860s. My heart was breaking for Leila, and it was beating for Rork, who not only recognized her independent streak but admired it. And for those like me who prefer to hold a book in their hands, Indigo Sky is now out in print with Soulmate Publishing. It’s also out on Audible and Gail is offering a free copy in exchange for an honest review. Leave her a message right here.
It’s based on the events in the life of Albert Bierstadt, nineteenth-century Hudson River artist, his painting, The Domes of Yosemite, and his travels with a friend from New York to Yosemite, and the romance that ensued between him and his friend’s wife.
In a whirlwind romance, a lovely New York socialite marries a fêted, debonair author. But beneath the charm is a cheating husband addicted to hasheesh. Her dream marriage turns sour and the simplicity of her life runs amok when a handsome stranger, her husband’s business partner, threatens her staunch loyalty to her wayward husband. When she faces the ugly truth about her marriage, her need to finalize her divorce sends her on mad chase across the wilds of nineteenth century America with a handsome stranger—she learns hard lessons of murder, kidnapping and more that almost destroy her.
Dawn finally broke, and Leila sat listlessly on the pallet. Would today be the day she was raped? Death was preferable.
Little Star peeked through the doorway and crooked her finger. “Come.”
Leila crawled out and blinked against the strong light. Rising stiffly, she stretched, enjoying the sun on her face. She smiled at children laughing and playing between the tipis.
A group of women waited for her. “You bathe.”
Bathe? Leila almost laughed with relief.
The women led her silently to a copse of trees. A stream gurgled over rocks. They stripped her clothes off, urged her into a deep pool and washed her with a chunk of herb scented soap.
She reveled in the cold water until an elder hustled her out, drying her with scraps of soft hide.
Stony faced, the elder worried her gums and mumbled something rubbing herb oils on Leila’s body. Deep crevices on her face sagged in a perpetual expression of discontent. The elder peered over Leila, her small black eyes glittered with malice. She rattled off in an angry tirade.
One of the young women giggled behind slim fingers.
Leila glanced from one to the other. “What did she say?”
Little Star arrived with a hide garment over her arm and handed it to the elder. “She say you white like chicken fat, and don’t know why Red Arrow want you.”
The truth dawned on Leila. This was the moment she’d dreaded. She backed away holding up her palms. “N—no!”
Snarling, the elder grabbed Leila and issued brief instructions. The other women hastily pulled the buckskin dress over her head. Beads and feathers decorated the soft garment. Had circumstances been different, the dress would have delighted Leila. The women took her arms and led her back to the lodge.
Red Arrow stood in the center of a clearing between the tipis, hands behind his back, black eyes impassive.
Leila’s heart pounded and she hung back. The women shoved her and she fell to her knees at the warrior’s feet. “I—I will not be your woman—your whore.” She took his callused hand. “Please, I have a husband.”
He shook her off. “You obey.”
Red Arrow looked at Hook Nose. The leader nodded at a group of warriors. They stepped forward and hauled Leila up, dragging her from the clearing.
She twisted around. “What are they going to do to me?” She cried.
Gail is also an artist, and the curator of exhibition at the Lockwood-Mathews Mansion.
Having spent her youth dallying in Coney Island, her new Coney Island exhibit features images from her 2010, 2011, and 2014 photographs. The legendary Brooklyn attraction is near and dear to my heart since, like Gail, a trip to Coney Island brings back many happy memories of when life was simple and you got your thrills on a roller coaster, not the subway.
The deadline is fast approaching to RSVP for the reception.
Gail Ingis writes historical romance, loves history, and romance, of course. Her weekly blog frequently contains historical content. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Gail’s early days began and ended with writing, drawing and music. Her inspiration to write came from books gifted to her by an aunt. But life had other ideas.
After graduating from the New York School of Interior Design with a BFA in Interior Architecture and Design and with master’s studies in Architecture and Design Criticism at The New School (Parsons), she worked in interior design and architecture, and founded a school, the Interior Design Institute. Twice asked by publishers to write a textbook, her efforts were thwarted by a heavy schedule.
She resides in Connecticut with her scientist-writer husband. She and her husband love to travel and do ballroom dancing, a recent commitment. Gail is working on another historic romance about cowboys, wranglers and ranches.