I have yet to read this book, but I will be reading it this summer. Is this book historical fiction? Was there really a brides for Indians proposal? I see in one review where it states this was an actual event and the author fictionalizes a women from this event. Another reviewer says none of it happened - it's just great writing.
I loved this book! By now you have probably read it and know the answers to your question. But for someone happening upon this - I think the book says that the proposal by the Indians to exchange 1000 horses for 1000 women is true; however, they were turned down. The story then is told as if the exchange really took place. This is a funny yet interesting story of the women that offered to go - most women were escaping from bad situations and thought that they would find 'love' from an Indian man and live happily ever after. Boy were they surprised at the life of an Indian wife! It is the one book that I am tempted to read again. I really loved the book!!!!!!
Laurel, You can also find the answer in the forward/preface of the book (at least in the the paperback trade edition which I read) which contains an author's note that states the only truth to the story is the proposal of 1000 horses for 1000 white women made by an Indian chief at peace talks that were talking place under President Grant.
I know it didn't really happen, but I thoroughly enjoyed the book. Out of all of the books that I read, I don't usually remember the details. The author is a wonderful writer and made the details memorable and thought provoking.
There is actual documentation of the meeting between President Grant and Chief Little Wolf and his delegation that traveled to Washington DC to meet with President Grant in 1873. It was quite a meeting and Mrs. Grant fainted onto the floor when she heard the actual proposal for the exchange of women for horses. I teach history and happen to share this story with my students-if I have time (depends on how many snow days we have and if I am under a time crunch!)