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Book Reviews for Linda Kirkpatrick
Book Title:  Somewhere In The West Reviewed by:  Margo Metegrano, 
Managing Editor of www.cowboypoetry.com
Date: 03-15-03
Reviewer is from:  Unknown Rating:  ллллл  

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Linda Kirkpatrick's new book, Somewhere In The West, Texas Women Who Left A Legacy, is filled with the stories of the women who helped settle the West.  Some of the women are famous, some are unsung heroines, and some are Kirkpatrick's own ancestors.
Much of the book grew out of Kirkpatrick's research for the historical poems she writes about pioneer Texas women.  One of the most compelling stories is of Cynthia Ann Parker, captured by Commanches at age 9, who "soon assimilated into the tribe where she accepted her new home and way of life."  Ransoms for her return were rebuffed by the tribe, and she eventually became the wife of a Comanche Chief and bore three children.  The Indian wars raged, and at age 34 she was recaptured and reclaimed by her white family, and once again had to learn the ways of an alien culture.  She is said to have "grieved herself to death".  But her tragic life left an important legacy, as her son Quanah became the famous Comanche leader who brokered a final peace for his tribe.  Kirkpatrick tells the story with drama and excitement.
Other well-researched, spellbinding stories accompany original poems.  Kirkpatrick says she had to tell the story of Cathay Williams, the escaped slave who disguised herself as a man and served as a Buffalo soldier.  Kirkpatrick's passion for passing down these important histories infuses most of the stories and poems in this book.
Another stunning tale is told of the courageous widows of the Alamo, and it includes letters from their husbands, written in the last hours of the siege.  The stories of the surviving widows, including Mary Milsap, the blind mother of seven, are a testament to the strength that helped build the Lonestar state.
Wonderful family photos help tell the stories of Kirkpatrick's own exceptional ancestors, including her great-great-grandmother who fled to Texas alone with her children as post-war carpetbaggers forced her from her southern home.  She died never knowing what became of her husband, a mystery that Kirkpatrick researched and solved nearly 150 years later.  The very contemporary story of Kirkpatrick's eastern mother, who worked for Stetson Hat Company in Philadelphia and met her father when he was stationed in Philadelphia for a time during WWII, carries along the thread of strong women adjusting to new circumstances.  The story of the city girl who comes to a ranch in West Texas "sixty miles from the nearest town, no electricity, no running water in the house, no indoor facilities, no phone" - and a playful husband who told her she needed to run a broom handle between the bed sheets each night to dislodge the rattlesnakes that liked the coolness of the sheets - is told with humor and love.
It's clear that these colorful, strong, inventive people helped to make Linda Kirkpatrick such an engaging storyteller.  The book also includes legends, ghost stories, and a few tantalizing recipes.  A useful bibliography cites Kirkpatrick's sources for her historical research.
The book was published by Cowboy Miner Productions of Phoenix and edited by founder Janice Coggin.  Cowboy Miner publishes classic and contemporary poets (S. Omar Barker, Bruce Kiskadoon, Larry McWhorter, Sunny Hancock, Jesse Smith, Chris Isaacs, and others) and this book carries the distinctive production quality for which Cowboy Miner is known.

By Margo Metegrano, Managing Editor, www.cowboypoetry.com

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