KLIATT - Janis Flint-FergusonCoosaponakeesa, called Coosa, is the daughter of Creek "royalty" and an English fur trader. As a young girl she grew up in a Creek village, visited often by her father who traded furs and hides. But when her mother dies suddenly, Coosa and her younger brother are thrust into an adventure that places them in the middle of two cultures, the Creek and the European. Their father takes them to live with him at his trading post outside of Charles Town, where they are educated in an English school and learn English customs. They are also given English names, Edward and Mary. The two learn the trade business from their father and when another trader comes with his son to talk business at the outpost, Mary falls in love with John Musgrove. The story follows Mary and John through Indian uprisings and life on the trading post. In 1733, Mary and John provide food and shelter for James Ogelthorpe, the Englishman who has come with a band of colonists to establish the settlement of Savannah, Georgia. Ogelthorpe hires Mary to mediate between her native culture and the English culture as the settlement takes form. She develops a deep and abiding relationship with Ogelthorpe, who ultimately returns to England, leaving behind letters proclaiming his undying love for Mary and his sad recognition that their love cannot be. Readers may have little background knowledge of this woman and the times in which she lived, but the careful description of the Creek culture and the accounts of the difficulties of the early settlements provide a wealth of information about the life of a remarkable woman and the beginning of a new nation.
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