True Women

True Women

4.8 7
by Janice Woods Windle

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Alive and pulsating with the events of our history, TRUE WOMEN tells the story of two dynastic family lines in Texas, the Kings and the Woodses. Euphemia Texas Ashby King could ride and shoot like any man, and she was there when Sam Houston's rag-tag army routed Santa Anna at San Jacinto . . . . Though she risked her plantation running the Yankee cotton blockade


Alive and pulsating with the events of our history, TRUE WOMEN tells the story of two dynastic family lines in Texas, the Kings and the Woodses. Euphemia Texas Ashby King could ride and shoot like any man, and she was there when Sam Houston's rag-tag army routed Santa Anna at San Jacinto . . . . Though she risked her plantation running the Yankee cotton blockade during the Civil War, Georgia Virginia Lawshe Woods still had to defend her family from a corrupt Yankee officer . . . . Bettie Moss King survived wolves, storms, and the Ku Klux Klan to steer her family through the turbulent birth of modern times.
Inspired by the author's own Texas roots, here is an unforgettable saga of the grit, determination, and courage of TRUE WOMEN.
""Heartfelt . . . The hardships and adventures faced by [this] family are so movingly described that I was in tears." — The New York Times Book Review

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Filled with tales of the strength and bravery of Texas women, this uneven first novel, a fictionalization of the author's family history, moves from 1831 to 1946. Featuring well-known historical figures as well as members of the King and Woods clans, it is a sort of Gone with the Wind , Texas-style. Windle's pastiche of imaginative language (a community is made of ``clapboard and promise'') and cliche (``hair black as night'') is generally appealing. Her story, while sometimes stilted, has many gripping moments. Euphemia Texas Ashby survives Indian attacks and a flight from the Mexican General Santa Anna, marries William King and wrestles with issues of slavery and women's rights. The victim of prejudice because she's rumored to be part Creek Indian, Georgia Lawshe marries gentle physician Peter Woods. During the Civil War, Georgia is forced to kill a vicious Yankee soldier in her house. In the next generation, another doughty heroine, Bettie Moss, marries William's son Henry King and copes with five siblings and a daughter, the Great Depression and the rise of the Klan in Texas. Each succeeding section of this saga is a bit weaker in force and style, as the author's depiction of her kin gets closer to the present day. Characterization sometimes falls victim to the infusion of dry historial data--yet some events--WW I and the influenza epidemic, for example--are quickly dispatched. Slavery is handled in both admirable and saccharine fashion, but interracial marriage and love affairs are depicted refreshingly. In sum, this Texas-sized read is an unusual, intriguing blend of historical novel and family memoir. 150,000 first printing; $150,000 ad/promo; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club super-release. (Jan.)
School Library Journal
YA-Tracing four generations of Windle's relatives, this compelling novel is drawn from family stories, diaries, letters, historical accounts, and interviews. It not only reveals glimpses of Texas history from the early 1800s on, but also describes the women who aided in the territory's quest for independence. From feisty Euphemia Texas Ashby King, who fights against the Mexicans and Indians and for the right to vote, all the way to fourth-generation Bettie Moss King, who takes a stand against the Ku Klux Klan, all of these figures have a part in and/or know the major players in Texas history. Though their story is fictionalized, their gritty determination is real, as they run the family farms and other concerns while their husbands are away at war or on business. Unique and meticulously researched, this tale of four amazing women will both inspire and inform YA readers.-Pam Spencer, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Denise Perry Donavin
As Windle passed on amazing folklore about the women in the Woods, King, and Lawshe families of Seguin, Texas, to her children, their skepticism plunged her into an ancestral search to validate these hair-raising tales of Indian raids, visits from Sam Houston and Santa Anna, the murder of a Union general, and more. Windle culled thousands of documents and interviews and melded them into this novel, which focuses on Euphemia, Georgia, and Bettie and incorporates the adventures of many other female relations--black, white, and American Indian. American history, Texas style, along with a pointed, personal look at women's issues from survival to suffrage, awaits any reader who opens these hard-to-close pages.
Kirkus Reviews
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 moregenerations 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)

Product Details

Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
Novel of Texas Series
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Product dimensions:
4.25(w) x 6.85(h) x 0.85(d)

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True Women 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Here_Be_Bookwyrms More than 1 year ago
"...True Women is not just a genealogical treasure for the author and her family, but a novel of a genuine and legitimate Texas pride, and a novel of making it through all these difficulties with the added historical disadvantage of being a woman. It is a novel about determination, resilience, and perseverance. I would read this again, and I plan to lend it out to as many people as possible." For full review, please visit me at Here Be Bookwyrms on Blogger: herebebookwyrms dot blogspot dot com
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got this book after watching the movie. I wanted to know more about the characters. The story made me think of a part of American History I hadn't really thought of before.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am Bonnie Y. Lawshe,my Great Great Grandfather was William Emory Lawshee and he married Mary Caroline Markette. I have just learned about the book from researching my family history and plan to read it and keep for my children and grandchildren to enjoy.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book, I never get tired if reading it. The romantic lure of Texas and the women that shaped it from the start. The women are so inspiring. I know I couldn't live through what Sarah, Euphemia, Georgia, and Bettie did. I think everybody should read it, even men. You actually learn a lot of history from this book that everyone should know but they do not teach you in school anymore. We need more books like this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a book that I would recommend for ALL women to read. True Women is an inspiring book that highlights the strenth of women and the bonds that they share. It gives you a whole new perspective, a woman's perspective, on the early difficulties facing women.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the reason I began my search for the True Women in my family history. I also have strong, independent women in my family. Every women should read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those who have a hunger for true history, this book is the most captivating book you will ever read. Never have I read a book where the characters are so lifelike that after reading the book, I felt as though I knew Euphemia Ashby King, Betty Moss King and the rest of the true women, on a personal basis. I felt as if they were family. Finally, someone was able to tell the true story of how the women of our families were the true settlers of this land. Definately worth reading over and over again.