The Earth’s Backbone, by Nancy Leonard

On the cusp of earning her Master’s in Education, Lizzie O’Connell finds her life at a point of divergent paths. Should she slip effortlessly into an affluent world of privilege and predictability, or should she search for more?

Her dilemma is urgently focused when her older sister Ellie is nearly murdered in Northern Montana while being stalked in a blizzard by an ex-boyfriend. Traveling to Montana to be with her sister, Lizzie is immersed in a different world where she becomes intensely involved with Win Sanders, a complex Blackfeet man.

In searching for balance in her career and love life, Lizzie will learn morality is not black and white, that cultural differences can threaten even the strongest love and devotion . . . And hatred, combined with despair, is often integral to the human condition.