TITLE: Right Under Their Noses
RIGHT UNDER THEIR NOSES is an offbeat historical novel (72,000 words) set during the creation of Mount Rushmore, through the Great Depression and on into America's post-World War II euphoria.
At nineteen, Pêche and Ernie marry under George Washington's chin at a time when his face is the only one carved on Mount Rushmore. Pêche prefers a hardhat to the pillbox hat of the day and loves a good fight. She tangles with the Rushmore bosses over working conditions that force Ernie to suck granite dust into his asthmatic lungs. She battles doctors over their treatment of his illness and, as the years pass, questions why she can't get pregnant. To pay these doctors, Pêche fights to sell her own presidential artwork—some find it offensive—at the foot of Rushmore.
When Pêche hightails it for the top of Abe Lincoln's head to greet the aliens during Orson Welles' 1938 War of the Worlds broadcast, the townsfolk blame her for the hysteria that follows when Ernie jokes that she's been abducted by Martians. When Ernie dies and Pêche is finally pregnant, Ernie's parents use her spirited and sometimes misguided forays as leverage in a legal battle for custody of her baby. This is one fight Pêche is not about to lose.