OF THE HEART
2nd in the Winona Trilogy
By Priscilla Cogan
Double Day – Nov 1999
Romance / Contemporary - Native American
Reviewed by: Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com
Buy It Here
Priscilla Cogan has brought us the second title in the Winona Trilogy, the first being WINONA’S WEB. Although reading COMPASS doesn’t really reveal anything that would ruin it for the reader if she chooses to read it first, I would still recommend finding WINONA’S WEB and reading it before COMPASS.
The story is a contemporary romance and takes place on the Indian Reservations in Northwest Michigan. Winona Pathfinder is an elderly medicine woman who knows she is dying. She calls in her younger cousin Hawk, who she has been teaching and tells him to gather the family. The family is her daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. As the family tries to communicate in this sad and awkward time, the author lets us hear what each one is really thinking although tradition and manners has them saying something different. We learn Winona’s daughter is as much a woman of the present as her mother is of the past. And one of her grandchildren will someday carry on the tradition. Hawk is surprised when she tells him to give her social pipe to a white woman named Meggie. Meggie is a psychologist who attempted to treat Winona and convince her she wasn’t dying, instead Winona taught Meggie about the earth and spiritual world. Hawk is even more surprised when Winona asks him to watch over Meggie. Hawk has dedicated his life to his people and he feels to love a white woman would be a betrayal, yet here is the wise woman he left the South Dakota Reservation for, telling him to watch over the one white woman he already fights temptation with, Meggie O’Connor.
The reader will be drawn into the enchanting world of Indian life; its myths, its beliefs. And they will see how our American Indians must balance their past with their present. The glimpse into their version of the afterworld is captivating. I think we all can learn from the different traditions and methods of other cultures. Priscilla Cogan shows a side of the Indian culture that is both mesmerizing and fascinating. Also, take notice of the Glossary of Lakota words at the back of the book.
Look for the first award-winning book in this trilogy, WINONA’S WEB, to become a movie in the year 2000.