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March 28, 2021: Brenda K. Marshall - Dakota, Or What's a Heaven For

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

Brenda K. Marshall received her undergraduate degree from North Dakota State University and her Ph.D. from The University of Massachusetts-Amherst.  She is the author of Mavis (a novel, 1996) and Teaching the Postmodern (scholarship, 1992).  For more information about Brenda and Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For, please visit

Dakota, Or What’s a Heaven For

A brave and moving epic set in late-nineteenth-century Dakota Territory, the lives and schemes of frontier politicians, Northern Pacific Railroad executives, bonanza farmers and homesteaders converge in the story of Frances Houghton Bingham.  Emotionally complex, willful and resourceful, Frances is seduced by the myths of opportunity driving the settlement of Dakota Territory and dares to dream of a new world in which to realize her unconventional desires.  Providing a counterpoint to the dramatic risks taken by Frances is the generous voice of Kirsten Knudson, the daughter of Norwegian homesteaders.  As Kirsten grows from a voluble girl to a formidable woman, her observations (equal parts absurdity and insight) reveal the heart of the novel.

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