Today, I am happy to host Milana Marsenich and her book, Beautiful Ghost, as part of her Coffee Pot Book Club tour. Milana’s novel is set in 1918, just as the dreaded Spanish Flu starts spreading – and I imagine that present-day audiences are better equipped to understand the reactions to this influenza after our own exposure to a pandemic.
Let us start by looking at the blurb:
During the fall of 1918, the influenza pandemic crosses the nation and reaches the mining town of Butte, Montana.
Marika Jovich, who wants to go to school to become a physician, works menial tasks for Dr. Fletcher. She feels useless as she tries to save friends and neighbors from the ravages of the flu. In the midst of the pandemic, she watches the town shut down, young and old perish, and her medical dreams all but evaporate.
Kaly Monroe used to be a half-good woman of the night. She left that life to raise her daughter, Annie, and live and work with her long-lost mother, Tara McClane. Kaly waits for her husband, Tommy, to return from the war. Word from the east is that soldiers are dying of influenza and she prays that Tommy is not one of them.
When an out-of-town woman named Amelia suddenly dies in Dr. Fletcher’s office, both women try to learn more about the mysterious woman and the circumstances regarding her death. Is she another casualty of the pandemic, or the victim of manmade foul play? Who is this stranger, and is her demise a portent of the fate that awaits the residents of Butte?
Praise for Beautiful Ghost:
“Marsenich doesn’t just describe the place and times, she conjures it up like time travel.”
~ Amazon Review by Ellen Leahy Howell
Universal Buy Link: https://books2read.com/u/m06BOJ
And here is a little snippet to further tease your interest!
Amelia clearly had her secrets, like everyone, but her secrets had led her to Butte and ultimately to some kind of violence and death. The flu might have killed her, but strong hands stopping her breath were not far behind.
She hadn’t been running from the flu. She’d been running to the flu. The striations on her neck had blended with the blue gray of her skin and, in the end, were barely visible. Amelia’s coat had been left in the sick room, folded, and put on a shelf. Marika covered her hand with a cloth and reached into the pockets to see if the woman had carried a clue to her identity, to her family in Philadelphia. Most travelers did. A piece of paper crinkled under Marika’s fingers. She pulled it out and unfolded it. The scribbled lead of the pencil had faded and fallen into the folds.
Still, it was readable: J.K., Butte, Montana.
Marika wrapped the paper in the cloth and put them both on top of the filing cabinet. Thinking of the nursing instructions command: wash your hands with soap and water every time you think the word “pee,” she rushed to the washroom to do just that.
Award winning author, Milana Marsenich lives in Northwest Montana near Flathead Lake at the base of the beautiful Mission Mountains. She enjoys quick access to the mountains and has spent many hours hiking the wilderness trails with friends and dogs. For the past 20 years she has worked as a mental health therapist in a variety of settings. As a natural listener and a therapist, she has witnessed amazing generosity and courage in others. She first witnessed this in her hometown of Butte, Montana, a mining town with a rich history and the setting for Copper Sky, her first novel.
Copper Sky was chosen as a Spur Award finalist for Best Western Historical Novel in 2018. Her second novel, The Swan Keeper, was a Willa Award finalist in 2019. Her short story, Wild Dogs, won the Laura Award for short fiction in 2020.
She has an M.Ed. in Mental Health Counseling from Montana State University and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana. She has previously published in Montana Quarterly, Big Sky Journal, The Polishing Stone, The Moronic Ox, BookGlow, and Feminist Studies.
She has three published novels, Copper Sky, The Swan Keeper, and Beautiful Ghost, and one popular history book, Idaho Madams. Her upcoming novel, Shed Girl: A Juliet French Novel, will be released January 2024. Her popular history book, Mary MacLane: Butte’s Wild Woman and her Wooden Heart, will be out sometime in 2025.
You can find her books and blog posts at https://milanamarsenich.com/.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/stores/Milana-Marsenich/author/B07DTJRR2K/