Nancy M. Peterson

Nancy M. Peterson

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Not to be Forgiven was given a FINALIST AWARD for BEST FIRST NOVEL in the nation-wide 2014 NEXT GENERATION INDIE BOOK AWARDS competition. The competition was begun eight years ago by the Independent Book Publishers Professional Group of small presses and independent publishers. Awards were announced on May 28 in New York City in connection with the Book Sellers of America annual meeting.

Not to be Forgiven is named the Best Adult Mainstream Novel by the judges of the 2014 Colorado Authors' League annual contest. Among the judges' comments: "This book slowly, but totally, draws the reader into a world of wartime in America.... This is a book that lingers after you've read it."

Colorado Authors League was founded in 1931 and its membership is about 250 authors. Judges were from out of state.


via email: reader Joy Glasgow

"I just finished Not to be Forgiven and can't stop crying. What a wonderful, beautiful book. I so much identified wit Sis. I was born a few years after you, but knew a lot of what you wrote about....

It will take me a long time to forget this book, Danny, Horst, Lou, everyone. This was the first of your books that I have read. I am going to read all the rest of them.

Has anyone ever suggested that you write a sequel to your book? To let us know what happened to Sis after she grew up? Oh, please write another novel."
" What a story! I'm not a literary critic, nor any kind of an author, but if your goal in writing this book was to provide the reader with real pleasure, you just scored a triple-double, tied your calf in under 6 seconds and rode that bull for a 100 score!"
Ron P. (not a cowboy, either, a retired school principal)
"Nancy, I had to call you. I finished your book at 4 a.m. I had to finish it before I could sleep. I think it is one of the best-written books I've read in a long time. I really cared about your characters, and it opened my eyes to things about the war I'd never known. I'm so impressed -- for a first novel, you rang the bell!"
Melodye B.
"I haven't quite finished Not to be Forgiven, and am enjoying every page. It brings memories of those War Years....You do it so well!.
"It's hard to put down. I couldn't find a place to stop. And what a powerful ending!"
Julie T.

"A great read. Your understanding of the feelings and emotions of the characters was second to none."
Jim H.

"Oh, Nancy! I rationed the pages I read each day, just like Sis does in the story, trying to make it last longer. When are you going to write another novel?"
La Merle M.

"Wonderful book! I can give your book to my grandchildren and say, 'This was my childhood."
Betty O.

I received your book, Thanks. My daughter was here over the weekend and after she started reading it, she could not put it down.
Bob M.


Not to be Forgiven wins two awards. See details on the left.

In 1942, our shocked nation was just beginning to learn how to fight a war, and people in the Nebraska Panhandle were learning a World War leaves no one untouched. My new novel, Not to be Forgiven, tells how even a family far from the battlefield can be marked with the scars of war. Readers' reviews are below; you will also find more information by clicking on Not to be Forgiven to the right.

List price: $17.95
Introductory price $16 , shipping /​$2.00
To order an autographed copy from author, click on Contact Page
Not to be Forgiven is a paperback, of 256 pages.
Hugo House Publishers (February 19, 2013)
Dimensions: 6 X 9

Margaret Coel, author of Buffalo Bill's Dead Now, a Wind River mystery says:

Not to be Forgiven explores the explosive emotions that ripped through the home front as World War II raged on and on. With the sure-handed strokes of a master writer, Peterson tells of friendship marred by hatred and fear, and of the way in which love and understanding can finally redeem the past. A magical and mesmerizing story.

Sandra Dallas, author of True Sisters and The Quilt Walk says of the novel:

Not to be Forgiven is a haunting novel about how the war twists the life of a young girl living thousands or miles from World War II battlefields. Both historian and story teller, Nancy M. Peterson, whose nonfiction books on the West are classics, writes how a wartime friendship flares into hatred, leaving scars that cause a lifetime of regret. Set against a background of wartime rural America, Nor to be Forgiven is not to be forgotten.


By Beeny Elno "Beeny"

Finalist in Indie Book Awards -- Well deserved!, June 4, 2014 (Amazon)

A real page-turner with significant historical detail, M.K. Greggory a/​k/​a Sis tells the story of how a child experiences World War II in the heartland of America. To this small town arrives an air base and a POW facility for captured Nazi prisoners, who then provide needed work on the surrounding farms while residents are cooperating with the couponing and giving metals and other products to the war effort. No one is immune to the war. Prisoners are both human and nonhuman -- and the same is true for town residents.

M.K.'s father runs the town's newspaper, and her mother is a reporter. The deaths of young men from all the surrounding communities have to be reported, and families have to be constantly prepared for loss. M.K.'s brother is sent to war. Through his letters to the family, we can see some of his experiences, and through M.K.'s eyes, we see the effects of propaganda on the town residents. His absence continues suspense -- will he make it home again, and if so in what condition?

M. K.'s heart opens and closes, and by the end, we fully understand what "not to be forgiven " means.

I had just read The Book Thief, and I must say that Not to Be Forgiven compares well -- parallel tales of the same war on different continents...I highly recommend Peterson's novel.

Christopher Fischer, reviewer for Good Reads:


Not to be Forgiven by Nancy Mayborn Peterson is an amazing book. Written in the innocent voice of a young girl it tells the story of the Greggory family in Nebraska during the years of WWII.... An air base being set up in their vicinity, the evacuation of Japanese 'aliens', the growing hate towards Germans and Japanese in the country and the draft of Danny into the war are bringing the war closer to her life than what this reader could have imagined from a European view point. Using the perspective of a young girl enables the author to make a lot of important points, which 'we grown ups' often tend to forget. Children's naivety can put a magnifying glass on subjects such as hatred and intolerance. This is a beautifully written and heart warming story of a girl growing up, coming into her own and learning important life lessons. To me it is an amazing achievement in combining world history with a very personal moral tale that really moved me. A wonderful book that I cannot recommend enough.

See​review/​show/​658355708 for complete review.

Sandy Whiting in Roundup Magazine June 2014:

"Some actions have forever consequences, especially those done in anger. Although 11-year-old Mary Kathleen, known as MK lives in the middle of the United States during World War II, that far-off war still affects her and her community. When drunken men wreck havoc on the local cafe owned by those of Japanese ancestry, citizens rally to support the owners. When MK lashes out in anger at an innocent German POW who has befriended her, the revelation of their friendship results in tragic consequences to the man. This novel would be a good read for the 'tween group, too. It's a good lesson in history, and how hasty decisions affect others. "

Ariel Smart in The Pen Woman, National League of America Pen Women, Spring 2014:

"Hiram's Spring, Nebraska, an 'our town' shocked to learn it will host German Prisoners of War, who will be shipped into their valley to work in their fields. The relationships and dynamics of their presence in the community are well-addressed in the story.

Mary Katherine's idol is her brother, Danny, who...will be fighting men like those who will be working on their farms. 'Sis' takes a vicarious journey through the evils of war with her beloved brother. Underneath the patriotism and irrational fear lies prejudice and cover-ups that only now in this decade have been known.

...Nancy Mayborn Peterson asks deep, philosophical questions in her novel, Not to be Forgiven . God only knows if we can answer truthfully."

"Nancy Mayborn Peterson perfectly captures the voice and spirit of Sis Greggory, the precocious young girl whose patriotism is fueled by love for her soldier-brother Danny. She deftly portrays Sis's attempts to reconcile her hatred for the German enemy, a constant threat to Danny's safety, and her friendship with Horst, a gentle German POW assigned to a nearby prison camp. Through Sis, this paradox builds to a shocking climax that left me stunned. Its powerful impact remained with me long after I'd turned the final page."
Carolyn B.

"Spectacular writing. Beautifully told."
Eleanor B., July 5, 2014

      I'm reading your book now and am enjoying it, remembering events and phases from those years, and remembering the feelings too. You've captured it all so well.
      I'm at the part where the POW camp is being built. My Dad worked at the air base, and we had a lady whose husband was stationed there living in one of our spare rooms ---- and I almost freaked out the first time we had to go to the basement at Roosevelt (Grade School) for a drill.
     I'll be reading long past bedtime tonight. Wonderful job, Nancy.
Shirley F. (librarian, retired)

Dick and I have both read your novel. We enjoyed every page of it!
Linda & Dick W.



In my previous books I deal with the people who lived in Frontier times. With my latest book, I chose a traumatic time closer to today. It is individual people and their reactions when they face a challenging situation that hold my fascination.

I’ve written of the last moments of Lt. Caspar Collins as he faced Crazy Horse on the Platte Bridge. Of smoke drifting from ruined Cheyenne lodges after their final, futile battle at Summit Springs on the Colorado plains. Of Nebraska homesteader Luna Kellie’s grief and desperation as she buried her second baby. These stories appeared in my first book, People of the Moonshell, a history of the Platte River.

Going farther afield, I did a two-volume history of the Missouri River. I joined Edward Drinker Cope, clinging to a Montana cliff as he uncovered the first fossil of a triceratops. With a steamboat captain, I’ve “grass-hoppered” my boat over sandbars to find the maddeningly elusive river channel. And I joined a young Hidatsa girl, guarding the corn crop in her youth, and later giving birth in a tipi by the Missouri.

Over the years, I’ve found myself drawn more and more toward native peoples. I’ve tried to understand their feelings as they were systematically driven from their homes. These interests produced my book Walking in Two Worlds, released by Caxton Press. Subtitled Mixed-Blood Indian Women Seeking Their Path, it tells the stories of 11 women of various tribes, most born of Indian mothers and white fathers. Snatched away to Eastern schools, where they were stripped of their native culture and trained for the white world, they had to discover who they were and what they could do with their lives. What they accomplished with those lives, each in her own way, I found amazing and inspiring and I wanted to write their stories.

As I say in my preface to my book People of the Old Missury, “Thrown against each other like cottonwood trees caught in the violence of the raging river, some people of the Old Missury splintered and disintegrated; others, though battered and torn, rode through the flood. Their stories, as individual as their faces, remind us how the currents of history can catch us all and sweep us irresistibly in directions never contemplated.”

I, too, am caught in the currents of history. It’s a great ride!

Selected Works

Historical Fiction
It's 1942. The World's at war. Hiram's Spring, Nebraska, is awash in fear and hatred. Before it is over the passions the war arouses will forever mar the lives of Sis Greggory, her soldier-brother, Danny, and Horst, a German prisoner of war.
Western History
Torn between two cultures, eleven mixed-blood women fight to discover who and what they are.
Indians, artists, Mormons and scientists all left their footprints in this rich Platte River history.
“... a brilliant narrative of the successive cavalcade of fearless men and women who penetrated the far West... Aspects and biographies about the fur trade and the opening of the West have been published with consistency, but no one has used such a strong uniting force as does Peterson.”
--Dean Krakel, High Plains Heritage Society