TRUE WOMEN by Janice Woods Windle

TRUE WOMEN

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 A Texan first-novelist offers a sweeping historical based on the lives of her own female ancestors--a three-generational epic brimful with all the energy, drama, and occasional ingenuousness one expects from the Lone Star State. Whenever Windle trotted out the family legends of how her maternal great-great-grandmother Euphemia Texas Ashby King scared a Comanche raider off her land with a rifle, or how her paternal great-grandmother Georgia Lawshe Woods shot a Yankee captain for threatening her daughter's virtue, her children expressed doubt that women ever behaved in such a way. The result is this exhaustively researched tale of the King and Woods clans, who farmed, fought, and bred in the fertile south-central towns of San Marcos and Seguin. Beginning with five-year-old Euphemia's witnessing the aftermath of the Battle of the Alamo in 1836, which led to a mass female flight away from Santa Anna's army, Windle traces Euphemia's return to Seguin, where she marries one of the infamous Rowdy King Boys, establishes a horse-breeding farm, and begins a dynasty of her own--all while fending off Comanche and panther attacks and weathering the whipsawing political scene as Texas becomes a republic, then a state, then a member of the Confederacy, and finally a state again. Meanwhile, Georgia Lawshe, a plantation-owner's daughter, is ripped from her genteel surroundings to resettle with her physician husband in sleepy San Marcos. Practical Georgia soon establishes a thriving cotton plantation and refuses to be distracted even by the Civil War from supervising the building of a family estate. The stubborn, make-do genes of these two pioneer women come in handy through several more generations of Texas females--who suffer through tornados, Yankee occupations, death, divorce, and the Depression with relative aplomb--before combining in the form of the author herself. Windle stumbles occasionally in her effort to justify some of her protagonists' actions--but the author's passion for the landscapes and people of Texas overshadows these minor flaws. (First printing of 150,000; Literary Guild Dual Selection for February)

Pub Date: Jan. 14th, 1994
ISBN: 0-399-13813-7
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1993