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Under the Gallus Frame by Darlene Matule

Under the Gallus Frame

by Darlene Matule

422 pages
Illiterate Croatian woman becomes wealthy family Matriarch in Butte, Montana.

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Category: Fiction:Historical
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About the Book
In 1889, to save his honor, seventeen-year-old Ljubica’s selfish father forces her to journey from Croatia to Butte, Montana, and marry forty-year-old Vik Bartolji whose cruelty not only affects her life but her name, as he changes it to Marija. She refuses to satisfy Vik’s lust before their marriage and sets the pace for their fiery relationship in a town called The Richest Hill on Earth where men deemed Copper Kings make vast fortunes from mining the rich ore hidden beneath the gallus frames, triangles of steel that dotted the hills, drawing money out of Butte on the back of thousands of miners who work underground in horrendous conditions.

While Vik finds his pleasure in the arms of a brothel madam, Marija educates herself and finds love, wealth and social status with her second husband. She reins as Matriarch of her family. Her children become leaders in The Company, The Miners’ Union, and The Church.

Like Butte, where the copper and zinc mined from the miles of tunnels beneath the city are melded together to become a stronger metal—brass—Marija and her family weather multiple hardships and merge from the crucible of adversity, stronger than ever before, though marked by their diverse experiences.


Matule is masterful at portraying the history of Butte during the days of the 'Company' and the lives of immigrant miners and their families. The interweaving of history in the company, union, and church, along with the poor and affluent gives the reader an appreciation of the social and economic conditions of the Richest Hill on Earth.
- Barbara Hoffmann, Supervisor, Valley County (Glasgow,Montana) Pioneer Museum and grand daughter of Montana pioneers
An expansive family saga adroitly woven into history of the rip-roaring mining center of Butte, Montana.
- Bruce L. Foxworthy, Author, Wenatchee, Washington
Making Do and Hanging On: Growing up in Apple Country Through the Great Depression
Volcanic Eruptions of Mount St. Helens—The First 100 Days



About the Author
A Montana native, Matule found her vocation while on vacation in Yugoslavia. A "What if?" changed her life. Matule's idea of fun is researching and/or writing books, enjoying her daughters and three grandsons, gardening, sewing, and traveling with her husband, Steve. She lives in the Pacific Northwest.



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