Monday, August 4, 2014

Book Review: War Eagle Women by Tina Coleman Bausinger

War Eagle Women

By: Tina Coleman Bausinger

Reviewed by: Sandra Long

War Eagle Women is a fairly short novel but it is a very interesting, refreshing look at family problems, as seen and told through the eyes of three women from different generations of the same family. These women have a rich Cherokee Indian heritage as well as Irish. Born and raised in the same small mountain town of War Eagle, Elizabeth is the great-grandmother, Eden is her granddaughter that she raised from her early teen years because Eden’s mother, who was Elizabeth’s daughter, died. She was a drug and alcohol addicted whore who brought an almost continuous stream of men into their home, making Eden’s life one of shame and exposure to many things that were not appropriate for a child to see. Eden and Elizabeth both re-live their pasts as they sit at the bedside of Eden’s teenage daughter, Samantha ( Sam ) who has been critically injured in a car accident and is in a coma. We also get to look 
into Sam’s mind as her great-grandmother sits by her hospital bed and tells her about her life. 

As Elizabeth talks about her young years Sam’s dreams seem to be taken over by these stories and they play in her mind like a giant movie screen. She feels like the things she is hearing are actually happening now. Eden also starts thinking about her life and all the things that had happened to her over her lifetime. We learn about her deliberate seduction and having sex with her best friend’s step-dad while she is staying with them, waiting for her mother to get out of the hospital. The hospital feels her mother’s death is imminent so their social worker begins to track down a suitable relative who is willing to take teenage Eden into their home. She locates the maternal grandparents and that is when Eden goes to live with her grandmother Elizabeth and her grandfather and she finally gets to see what a happy marriage and normal home life are all about. She goes on to finish high school and nursing school 
and marries her high school sweetheart a month after their graduation. He attends college on a full scholarship but his real burning desire is to be an artist and after one of his paintings sells, he decides to become a full time artist and quits school and his job immediately. With two young daughters to feed and clothe and needing money for household expenses and monthly utility bills, Eden works hard and begins to suspect her husband is bi-polar. The marriage eventually falls apart as Eden has to work more and more in nursing to support her family. After Sam is injured the ex starts coming around and wants to reconcile. She has found herself attracted to Sam’s neurosurgeon who has worked with her for years and is now divorced also. 

He has asked her for a date but backs off after seeing her and her ex kissing 
outside Sam’s hospital room. Eventually Sam comes out of her coma when she meets her grandmother as a young woman in a wedding dress who tells Sam that it is her time to go on and Sam must return, then grandmother Elizabeth the bride rushes into the open arms of her young husband and they walk away into the light. Sam learns of her pregnancy after she wakes up and that everyone believes the father is the boy who was killed in the wreck with her. She does not tell them any different. She expresses her intent to abort the baby but learns she has been in a coma so long that she is too far along for an abortion. She then plans to give it up for adoption but after a confrontation with the boy’s mother, who states her intentions of taking the baby, Sam decides she loves this baby girl and wants to keep her. Her mom supports her decision and after several weeks of intense physical therapy she can walk with a walker and has improved enough to go home. Her dad announces his intentions of moving back home to. Eden is very tempted because she still has feelings for him but after thinking it over she 
realizes it would only turn out the same as before and turns him down. Sam and Eden both really miss grandma Elizabeth, her wisdom and her stories regarding their heritage, and they both have a lot of important decisions to make regarding their futures, but thanks to the wisdom and strength they have inherited from grandma Elizabeth and a long line of War Eagle female ancestors, they are going to get on with their lives and trust themselves enough to make the right decisions. This is a very good book, very well written, and being told from the memories of three different generations adds a lot to the interesting storyline.

 I would definitely recommend this book to readers of historical romance and to women who need encouragement in dealing with generational issues that most mothers and daughters 
deal with in the difficult years of becoming a woman.

Samantha has a secret, and it's killing her.

In the sleepy town of War Eagle, Arkansas, a tiny place steeped in Indian legend, a tragic car accident sends 17-year-old Samantha to the surgical ICU. Samantha, who harbors a dark secret, hovers between life and death, and her mother, Eden, worries that ghosts from the past have come calling for retribution in the form of her daughter’s life. Great-grandmother Elizabeth resolves to camp out at the hospital and tell Samantha all of her own hidden stories in the hopes that she will find the strength to come back to the land of the living and reveal her secret as well. Deep in the recesses of Sam’s psyche, she hears the legends of the War Eagle Women and experiences a journey of her own where she finds her own identity within the old tales.