The Swan Keeper is an historical, coming of age novel set in Northwest Montana’s Mission Valley in the late 1920s.
Lillian Connelly loves trumpeter swans and vows to protect them from a hunter who kills them, leaving their carcasses for the wolves and coyotes. On her eleventh birthday, Lilly’s family travels to see newly hatched cygnets. The family outing turns tragic when Dean Drake shows up with his shotgun. The carnage includes both the swans and Lily’s father. Drake also injures her mother.
The sheriff, Charlie West, thinks Lilly continues to react to the trauma by blaming Drake due to previous conflict between Drake and her father. Lilly’s mother, sister, and her best friend, Jerome West, the sheriff’s son, all think the same thing: Lilly is trying to make sense of a senseless accident.
Left alone to bring Drake to justice, Lilly’s effort is further subverted when Drake woos her sister, courts her mother, and moves into their home. How will she keep herself safe when she couldn’t even save the swans.
Milana Marsenich lives in Northwest Montana at the base of the beautiful Mission Mountains. For the past 20 years she has worked as a mental health therapist in a variety of settings. 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 many newspapers and journals and her debut novel, Copper Sky. Visit her author page at https://www.milanamarsenich.com/