The Bones of Paradise  wins The High Plains Book Award!

The Bones of Paradise has won the 2017 High Plains Book Award in fiction. Thirty-six books were selected as finalists in twelve categories for the 11th annual awards, which were presented at the annual Awards Banquet on October 21, 2017. Of the thirty-six finalist books, twelve authors hail from Canada, eleven are from Montana and the remainder represent nine US States. 

The High Plains Books Awards have been established to recognize regional authors and/or literary works which examine and reflect life on the High Plains including the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wyoming, Nebraska, Colorado, and Kansas, and the Canadian provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. [For more information]

The Bones of Paradise Wins the Nebraska Book Award

The Bones of Paradise was chosen by the Nebraska Center for the Book as the 2017 winner of the Fiction Award. The Nebraska Book Awards program, sponsored by the Nebraska Center for the Book (NCB), recognizes and honors books that are written by Nebraska authors, published by Nebraska publishers, set in Nebraska, or concerning Nebraska. For more information.

The Bones of Paradise wins Omaha Reads!

The Bones of Paradise has been picked as the Omaha Public Library’s 2017 Omaha Reads selection.

Each year the library announces a book for the community to read together. The library then purchases stacks of copies of the winner, hosting a series of events and discussions around the book throughout September.

The finalists are determined by write-in suggestions from readers and the winner by a public vote.

Agee’s 2016 book “The Bones of Paradise” beat out nominees “1984” by George Orwell, “Between the World and Me” by Ta-Nehisi Coates, “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend” by Katarina Bivald and “The Underground Railroad” by Colson Whitehead. [For more information]

Library Journal calls The Bones of Paradise "an evocative story of survival."


Here's what Booklist has to say in a starred review about Jonis Agee's forthcoming novel The Bones of Paradise (August 2, 2016):


“A haunting tale . . . Agee brilliantly interweaves two stories of loss, guilt, and vengeance, which play out against the vivid backdrop of the [Nebraska] Sand Hills . . . Beautifully rendered and thought-provoking.” — Booklist (starred review)


Here's what Publishers Weekly has to say about Jonis Agee's forthcoming novel The Bones of Paradise (August 2, 2016):


Jonis Agee. Morrow, $25.99 (432p) ISBN 978-0-06-241347-5

Agee’s (The River Wife) emotionally rich tale is as wild and sprawling as the Midwestern plains. This is the Nebraska Sandhills a decade after the army’s massacre of more than 200 Lakota at Wounded Knee in 1890. When middle-aged white rancher J.B. Bennett and the younger Native American Star are murdered, apparently together, their families collide. J.B.’s wife, Dulcinea, estranged from her sons through the machinations of his J.B.’s father, Drum, seeks reconciliation with her boys even as she wrestles to maintain rights to the ranch that Drum wants back, no matter the means. Meanwhile, Rose’s efforts to solve the murder of her sister, Star, threaten her long friendship with Dulcinea. The evolving friendship of Dulcinea and Rose is a poignant counterpoint to the cruelties born of ignorance and greed in the face of cultural difference. The story’s several parts—gritty Western, family saga, mystery—work together for a memorable tale of heartbreak and redemption. Agent: Emma Sweeney, Emma Sweeny Agency. (Aug.)


Booksellers around the country have nominated Jonis's forthcoming novel The Bones of Paradise (August 2, 2016) for Indie Drive, and some have already chosen it as a Staff Pick. Here are a few excerpts from their reviews:


“The harsh and unrelenting weather and landscape of northern Nebraska mirrors the hard and desperate lives of its inhabitants in this powerful historical novel set in the aftermath of Wounded Knee. . . . The beauty of the language creates a stunning portrait of a momentous and often brutal era.” — Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, Ms.


“An excellent historical novel that captures the essence of the west along with an action filled story that keeps you on the edge of your seat.” — Deon Stonehouse, Sun River Books, Sun River, Oregon (also a Staff Pick)


“A lovely, tough-as-nails story.” — Amanda, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL


“Highly recommending.” — Andrea Jones, Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT


“The majestic beauty of Agee's language captures the land, the people, and one family's story that a sea boarder might appreciate but never fully understand. . . . Nebraska's for believers.  Agee is one of its poets. — Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI


“This is a book which I will enthusiastically sell to anyone. It is now two weeks since reading Bones of Paradise and I think more highly of the writing each day.  I also find myself convinced that the author's attempt to explain the power of the Ghost Dance and Wounded Knee in its time and place is outstanding. — Larry Yoder, Floor Manager, The Bookies, Denver, CO


We're excited about the pre-publication reviews for Jonis's new novel, The Bones of Paradise, in bookstores August 2, 2016! Here's the latest, a starred review from Kirkus:


*The Bones of Paradise.

Agee, Jonis (Author)

Aug 2016. 432 p. Morrow, hardcover, $25.99. (9780062413475).

Agee’s (The River Wife, 2009) sixth novel is a haunting tale set in the Nebraska Sand Hills in the years following the massacre at Wounded Knee in 1890. Her saga revolves around three generations of the Bennett family: J. B. Bennett, a rancher; his estranged wife, Dulcinea; their two teenage sons, Cullen and Hayward; and J. B.’s father, Drum, a harsh, manipulative man responsible for the fracturing of this previously closely knit family. Agee deftly portrays how the forced separation of Dulcinea from her boys and J. B. affects each character, especially Cullen and Hayward as they approach adulthood without the influence of a caring mother and only that of their domineering grandfather. The second plotline involves Rose, a Lakota woman close to Dulcinea whose family was devastated by Wounded Knee, and who still seeks revenge. Agee brilliantly interweaves these two stories of loss, guilt, and vengeance, which play out against the vivid backdrop of the Sand Hills, the breathtaking yet unforgiving land where each family is struggling to maintain its roots. Another beautifully rendered and thought-provoking novel from Agee, who calls this land home.

— Deborah Donovan


Here's what Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Above the Waterfall, has to say about Jonis Agee's forthcoming novel The Bones of Paradise (August 2, 2015):


“From the opening image of a ‘windmill slowly clanking in a wobbly circle’ to the sublime final sentence, Jonis Agee’s The Bones of Paradise is a beautifully written epic that seamlessly intertwines a family’s history with a region’s, and, ultimately, with a nation’s. This is an ambitious novel.”


Here's what Stewart O'Nan, bestselling author of A Prayer for the Dying, has to say about Jonis Agee's forthcoming novel The Bones of Paradise (August 2, 2015):


“Deadwood has nothing on Nebraska’s Sand Hills. Jonis Agee serves up a gritty, bloody romance set a decade after Wounded Knee. Half murder mystery and half family saga, The Bones of Paradise is a spirited reweaving of history.”