Inspired by the true story of the thirty-eight Dakota-Sioux men hanged in Minnesota in 1862―the largest mass execution in US history―Dovetails in Tall Grass is a powerful tale of two young women connected by the fate of one man.
“. . . a startling, nuanced amalgam of past events and impressive, delicate literary creation. A dramatically engrossing and thoughtful novel.”
Praise for Dovetails in Tall Grass
— Kirkus Reviews
"Dovetails in Tall Grass is a stark portrait of both the worst and the best of human nature, compelling, unforgettable, and highly recommended.”
— Midwest Book Review
"A melancholy piece of historical fiction that is as sincere as it is emotive. The powerful story will draw you in, but it is the intimate storytelling that will keep you absorbed as you experience Dovetails in Tall Grass."
— Indies Today
"This extraordinary novel is thought-provoking and heartbreaking, and should be read by all.
— Historical Novel Society
“Through her honest and uncluttered writing style, Samantha Specks weaves together the threads of heart and history. In doing so, we are reminded that love is the life force that frees us all.”
— Kathleen A. Blatz, retired Chief Justice, Minnesota Supreme Court
"Samantha Specks weaves an unforgettable tale of two women in frontier America -- one white, one Dakota -- each changed forever by the violence of colonization. A remarkably thoughtful and honest look at the human cost of westward expansion; a welcome addition to the world of historical fiction in this new era of truthful storytelling without romanticization of the past. Specks makes a strong debut with Dovetails in Tall Grass. She will be an author worth watching."
— Olivia Hawker, bestselling author of One for the Blackbird, One for the Crow
"As a journalist, and as an amateur Minnesota history buff, I appreciate Samantha Specks’s painstaking task of blending the stories of actual historical people with the voices of determination from both young women. I love how she authentically took us back in time and left me wanting to read more. Brava!”
— Diana Pierce, retired news anchor for KARE-TV (NBC), and president of Diana Pierce Productions
“Dovetails in Tall Grass allows readers to ponder how history might have been altered if rather than might, we employed our brains and hearts. A perfect choice for book clubs!”
— Martha Hunt Handler, president of the Wolf Conservation Center and author of Winter of the Wolf
“A beautiful debut! This haunting yet hopeful story lives on long after the last page is turned.”
— Abby Mathews, host of the Mom Writes Podcast
“This sweeping story is a gripping epic of a time in our history that we did not know. Emma and Oenikika are painted so vividly that the story stays with you long after you finish. We cannot wait to read the next book!”
— Lori Barghini, The Lori & Julia Show, myTalk 107.1
“Specks's meticulously researched and vividly depicted tale follows one brutal instance of the disintegration in U.S./Native American relations. The story slowly builds to a sad and inevitable conclusion that pays homage to those who needlessly lost their lives. The book kept me on the edge of my seat until I turned the last page, and I highly recommend it!”
— Cindy Burnett, Book Columnist, Podcaster, and Literary Salon Host
"My favorite books teach me something about myself and the world I live in. Dovetails in Tall Grass taught me about the land I grew up on and I finally learned WHY there are few (or maybe no) indigenous people in southern Minnesota — a question I never asked in any of my history courses growing up. Based on true events, Dovetails in Tall Grass brings light to a particularly dark moment in Midwest and especially Minnesota history with an understanding that there are multiple sides to every conflict, and we must stop, listen, and learn to respect each other."
— Terri LeBlanc, owner of Swamp Fox Bookstore