Arletta Dawdy manages to pass on an amazing amount of southwest history in Hauchuca Woman. The story ranges from 1886, toggling to 1952, and ends with a satisfying 1961 epilog. The historical fiction is the first of the Huachuca (pronounced Wha-chew-ca) Trilogy, followed by novels By Grace and Rose of Sharon.
Josephine, the story teller, born in 1877, was about nine years old when she first met the famed Chiricahua Apache, Geronimo. Josephine’s family befriended the small starving band and in turn were considered the infamous chief’s friends.
Although the episode with Geronimo is a short scene, it sets the pace of a historical novel about the life of a white woman who lived through the taming of the Southwest, particularly in Arizona, in the late 1800’s. Josephine, 75, tells her story to her two young-adult grandchildren who are cousins, and offspring of Josephine’s twin sons. The young people are eager to tape record their grandmother’s fascinating history, bits and pieces of which they’ve heard all their lives. Toggling from 1952 and the telling of the story back to the events of 1880’s, makes for an interesting contrast. The three travel to the nearer story settings, allowing the reader to “see” through more modern eyes various historical events.
Through Josephine, the grandchildren are able to piece together their grandmother’s complex and enlightening story. Josephine’s Lazy L ranch, is her family’s homestead and a place the grandchildren cherish. They hope to encourage their families to help make it a place where family, friends and guests could gather and relish in an atmosphere of history carved from decades of dedicated labor.
Josephine’s colorful life takes surprising and often unconventional turns and twists. Her story demonstrates the highs and lows of a life well lived.
I found the segment about Fort Huachuca particularly fascinating. The Fort, still in active use, headquartered the famed 10th Calvary, the “Buffalo Soldiers,” one of the Army’s elite black cavalry corps.
Arletta Dawdy does a good job captivating the spirit of yesteryear. The details of time and setting, dialect, clothing and transportation, add immeasurably to the work.
Huachuca Woman is available in print and e-book formats. To learn more about the author, visit www.ArlettaDawdy.com