It’s the Roaring Twenties, Jake and Raisa Kessel are married with two kids and a pile of growing debt. They need a change, some new pickings. They pack up for the bright lights and new opportunity in Port Huron, Michigan. Soon, they are living high on the hog and enjoying life’s pleasures. Overnight, Jake finds himself standing in endless soup lines and even longer job lines. Its The Great Depression. Jake knows he has to make some ‘fast money’ to get his family back to Wyoming, even if it might be illegal or dangerous. Back in a Lovell, Wyoming ‘share cropper’s shack’, Jake and Raisa struggle to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. Raisa isn’t cut out to do the hard physical field work and soon she’s down to the flesh on her bones. She gives Jake an ultimatum. It’s just the push Jake needed as they move off the rented farm and into their own tar-papered home in town. Japanese bombs fall on Pearl Harbor and everything changes. The government needs men to build the Heart Mountain relocation camp and Jake signs on. Months later, he takes a job with Marathon Oil giving him a steady pay check and a retirement plan. The tide has turned, life is good. Their only son enlists to fight in WWII in Europe and they both have brothers who are Japanese POW’s. Who will come home and who won’t? What does the end of their life together bring? Who will be the first to die? Life is not always what it promises or seems and sometimes it breaks a person. In the winter of their years, Jake is left alone after Raisa dies, he’s like a boat without a rudder. What does he do to fill the void? He and longtime friend, Pastor Floyd Schweiger take an interest in saving the Pryor Mountain wild horses-but will this diversion fill his lonesome nights without Raisa? Flesh on the Bone is a touching, realistic account of a true American family, filled with ambition, promises, love and loss; it is a legacy of surviving the ups and downs of life. The novel twists and turns through family stories passed down and fleshed out with imagination and carefully researched historical events. Schutte lays the tension, poverty, and daily grind of the lives of her characters on the table. She has a knack for getting into their heads and hearts and taking the reader with her. This—is a family saga, a story of the personal struggles of the immigrant’s children!
Finalist, in top 4 nationally for Cover & top 7 for Historical Fiction – USA Book Awards – 2014. First in Historical Fiction – 2015 by Wyoming Historical Society.