I've often picked up a number of Tamar Myers' books for some of my 'cozy mysteries' displays at the library. She writes the Den of Antiquity as well as the Pennsylvania-Dutch with recipes series.
But she also pens a third set of books that are quite different. These books are all set in Africa - the Belgian Congo - in the 1950's. The Girl Who Married an Eagle is the fourth book in this set.
Julia Newton is entranced by a missionary's talk at her church in Ohio in the 1950's. The subject - the need for staff at a mission in Africa. Enthralled, this young woman heads to the Belgian Congo to teach at a school for runaway child brides.
One runaway is Buakane - promised to Chief Eagle - a brutal powerful leader. Myer's narrative alternates between Julie, Buakane and Nurse Verna at the mission. But the most engaging voice is that of Clementine - the nine year old daughter of Henry - a widowed missionary. Clementine is precociously clever but still a lonely child. Can Julia adapt to this new land? Can she and the others at the mission keep the child brides safe? Will Chief Eagle reclaim Buakane?
Myers has written a lovely little tale that will appeal to fans of Alexander McCall Smith. The language, the customs, the land, the people - I found all of the descriptions absolutely fascinating.
"Forget all your preconceptions of what a town is, or ought to be, because the Belgian Congo had its own peculiar definitions. A place was a town only if it had white residents; no matter how large an all-black settlement, it was always called a village. But give it a handful of whites and it was sure to pop up on the map like mushrooms after the first September rain."
I felt like I was sitting listening to a storyteller. Each of the narrator's voices is quite distinct and bring their own take to the tale.
It was only after I finished reading The Girl Who Married an Eagle, that I learned of the author's background. Tamar Myers was born in the Belgian Congo to missionary parents. With that piece of knowledge, the book took on a different slant. Many of the situations and descriptions are from Myer's own life and are based on real events.
I enjoyed this book, but the 'mystery' tag is a bit of a misnomer. There's not much mystery, but lots of questions as to the outcome of many situations. I found it to be an easy, enjoyable, informative read. Read an excerpt of The Girl Who Married an Eagle.
See what others on the TLC book tour thought - full schedule can be found here.