Clear Title: A Novel

Clear Title: A Novel


By Grace Stone Coates
Introduction by Caroline Patterson
Edited by Shana Harrington

256 pages


Clear Title is available in fine bookstores everywhere. To order a copy directly from our distributor Riverbend Publishing, visit the Riverbend online store.

With the publication of Clear Title, Drumlummon Institute releases the last remaining unpublished work by renowned Montana novelist, poet, and editor Grace Stone Coates.

In 1931, Alfred A. Knopf published Grace Stone Coates’ first novel, Black Cherries, made up of a series of linked stories. In her introduction to the 2003 reprint of Black Cherries, Mary Clearman Blew wrote that Coates wasn’t entirely satisfied with the novel, noting that perhaps “a more coherent book would have been a more revealing book.” Clear Title, written soon after the publication of Black Cherries, may be that more coherent book—it certainly tells a more revealing story. When Coates submitted this second novel to Knopf, in the midst of the Great Depression, the publisher rejected it, though he praised its “beautiful writing.”

Just as Black Cherries reveals, in Blew’s words, a “family caught in a web of tension so acute that it binds them inexorably even as it separates them,” Clear Title tells the story of the same family, but more directly, revealing the secrets, lies, and betrayals that created that painful web.

In her introduction to Clear Title, Caroline Patterson—editor of the award-winning anthology, Montana Women Writers: A Geography of the Heart—writes, “Clear Title is a frank exploration of power in marriage: the moral, sexual, intellectual, and legal power between a husband and a wife. . . . By the end of the book, the power in the family has shifted. . . . Instead of a father ruling the roost, we see three sisters, traveling as equals, released . . . from the rigidity and anger of the past.”

Drumlummon Institute now makes this powerful, heartbreaking novel available to readers already passionate about Coates’ writing and life.

Also available from Drumlummon, through our distributor, Riverbend Publishing, are Food of Gods and Starvelings: The Selected Poems of Grace Stone Coates, edited by Lee Rostad and Rick Newby, and the award-winning biography, Grace Stone Coates: Her Life in Letters, by Lee Rostad.