Author: Tamar Myers
Review: The Girl Who Married an Eagle is the fourth and final book in the author’s Belgian Congo mystery series. Tamar Myers writes seve
I requested this book for three main reasons both trivial and serious. First of all I always am looking to read more female authors. This stems from an article I read several years ago that posited male readers avoided female writers. I thought that silly to I actually crunched the numbers on my reading list of the past years and found it to be resoundingly true. So Tamar definitely delivered on this desire.
Second I am a big lover of mystery; and while I am not a cozy fan per se I do occasionally find a series I can get behind, like Mc Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth or Rhys Bowen Evan books. This is where I was slightly disappointed as the mystery was fairly weak. Now this isn’t a knock against the story at all, it is more of a jab at the branding of the book. I would guess given the success of her other series in the genre, there was pressure to label this a mystery too; a lack of faith in her fans to follow here to where ever her writing goes. This work is book is clearly fictionalized biographical mystery and in that it is quite good.
Finally I enjoy reading books that are written by, or mostly take place in other cultures than America. I am not devaluing America based writing; it is just a culture I am already familiar with. When I read I like to expand my horizons by exposing myself to things I know nothing about. Much like Belle getting lost in a novel (check the awesome Beauty and the Beast reference) or even my younger self reading fantasy novels, a book can be a educational experience. Or at least an opportunity to open your mind and make the world a slighter smaller place; it is this power that makes you a better citizen.
Now this is where the book is clearly a tour de force. Tamar brings her life experiences to show just how a Congolese tribe would be as little ago as the 1950’s. Arranged marriages and literally selling your children to assure security for the family on a macro scale. Before you dismiss this as the past, this behavior still goes on in the world today. In some Asian countries daughters are sent to the city to be sex workers in order to provide for the family back home. This blatant human trafficking can be overlooked in are closed Western society but it is through novels like this we can begin to see what is going on behind closed eyes. The perspective of a young girl trapped in this situation is very enlightening, and the consequences of confronting it openly also educate.
If you are after a mystery be sure to read Tamar Myers other books, but if you want to see wonderful example of the plight of young girls that is still happening today, to make you a little more compassionate towards other people and cultures, and just learn more about Africa too, this is the book for you. A little short, but still powerful, pick up The Girl Who Married an Eagle as soon as you can.
Publisher: William Morrow
Quick Review: 4 stars out of 5
Why I Read It: Mystery set in Africa
Where I Obtained the Book: Sent to me by TLC tours for review
Synopsis: The final book Tamar Myers's Belgian Congo-set mystery series, this is the story of an all girls boarding school for runaway child brides, and features events inspired by Myers's childhood in the Belgian Congo.
When Julia Elaine Newton, a young, pretty Ohio girl, volunteered to go on a mission to the Belgian Congo, she knew it was going to be a huge change. But she never expected to wind up teaching at an all-girls boarding school primarily populated by runaway child brides!
Much to her chagrin, Early Dusk was born beautiful. If only she'd been ugly, Big Chief Eagle would not have noticed her. Escaping an arranged marriage, the scrappy eight-year-old girl finds her way to Julia Newton and the school. But this time her jilted husband will not be denied.
It's up to Julia and Early Dusk to try and save the school as Congolese Independence looms and Big Chief Eagle embarks on his revenge. With the help of Cripple and her husband, and even Amanda Brown, these plucky women must learn to save themselves.
Based on actual events, The Girl Who Married an Eagle is a beautiful finale to the Belgian Congo mystery series.
Author Biography: Tamar Myers was born and raised in the Belgian Congo (now just the Congo). Her parents were missionaries to a tribe which, at that time, were known as headhunters and used human skulls for drinking cups. Hers was the first white family ever to peacefully coexist with the tribe, and Tamar grew up fluent in the local trade language. Because of her pale blue eyes, Tamar’s nickname was Ugly Eyes.
Tamar grew up eating elephant, hippopotamus and even monkey. She attended a boarding school that was two days away by truck, and sometimes it was necessary to wade through crocodile infested waters to reach it. Other dangers she encountered as a child were cobras, deadly green mambas, and the voracious armies of driver ants that ate every animal (and human) that didn’t get out of their way.
In 1960 the Congo, which had been a Belgian colony, became an independent nation. There followed a period of retribution (for heinous crimes committed against the Congolese by the Belgians) in which many Whites were killed. Tamar and her family fled the Congo, but returned a year later. By then a number of civil wars were raging, and the family’s residence was often in the line of fire. In 1964, after living through three years of war, the family returned to the United States permanently.
Tamar was sixteen when her family settled in America, and she immediately underwent severe culture shock. She didn’t know how to dial a telephone, cross a street at a stoplight, or use a vending machine. She lucked out, however, by meeting her husband, Jeffrey, on her first day in an American high school. They literally bumped heads while he was leaving, and she entering, the Civics classroom.
Tamar now calls Charlotte, NC home. She lives with her husband, plus a Basenji dog named Pagan, a Bengal cat named Nkashama, and an orange tabby rescue cat named Dumpster Boy. She and her husband are of the Jewish faith, the animals are not.
Tamar enjoys gardening (she is a Master Gardner), bonsai, travel, painting and, of course, reading. She loves Thai and Indian food, and antique jewelry. She plans to visit Machu Pichu in the near future.
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