There was a legend among the Sierra Band of Miwok Indians. It said that a female would someday become the Shaman of the band and she would reunite the Miwok Indians and make them strong again. Many people believed in the legend at first but, throughout the years, less and less Miwoks even remembered the legend and it didn't get passed down to the newer generations. At least, not to all of them.
There were a few who still remembered, and waited. The old Shaman was one of the believers, but one day he walked into the mountains and was never seen again. Everyone thought he had gone away to die.
The band dwindled after that. They had a chief who was strong, but the young people left, especially those who lived in the isolated mountain town of West Point, California. There was nothing there for them.
Then, one day in 1989, a little Miwok girl disappeared from her front yard on the reservation.
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About the Author
I remember the first long story I ever wrote. I was in the third grade and my teacher, Miss Steere, asked us each to write a story about something in history. I chose to write about the Donner party and the tragedies that befell them as they tried to make it to the Wild West. I went on and on. I was having so much fun and making up stories about the people and conversations between them. It was like a game to me. It didn't occur to me that I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I wasn't even old enough to understand what it meant to be grown up. Throughout school, whenever I had to write something, I always had a lot of fun with assignments. I remember writing about the Salem Witches when I was in high school and how exciting it was to make up "real" people who lived then and, unfortunately, also died. So what did I do when I was finally an adult? I worked as an accountant, secretary, draftsman of pre-fab metal buildings, I studied Criminal Justice and worked at the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department for a time. I ended up with a career as a paralegal. Well, that wasn't too bad. It encompassed a lot of research and writing and, in the meantime, I had actually written short stories, poetry, and two unpublished novels. I did have one non-fiction piece published in a magazine in the 80s. Yippee! When I lived in Hawaii, I even helped a famous Chef publish two cook books. Finally, I said "enough", quit everything, took early retirement, and moved to Morocco. Now, I am a writer. I love my life, and I hope you enjoy my books as much as I enjoy writing them. I have a lot of fun with my characters and stories. To me, they are real people and my joy is sharing them with you and the rest of the world.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite Coyote’s Song by Renee Benzaim connects two women from the past and the present through a Miwok legend. In 1989, five-year-old Evangeline disappeared from her front yard. Ten years later in 1999, Hannah Kelly is searching for a subject for her new novel. She investigates Evangeline’s case, but with little information and no one talking, she comes to a dead end. That is until she hires Tom and his brother, Bennie, who was the last one to see Evangeline. Through the brothers she finds all the answers she was looking for, including a few she never expected. Coyote’s Song is a great dip into mythology! Brother Coyote is a real presence that guides the characters to where they need to be. Renee Benzaim has an interesting frame for the narrative. It opens with Evangeline’s story, but picks up in 1999 with Hannah, who is searching for clues about the missing girl. Various perspectives provide a piece of her disappearance until the answer is revealed at the end, but each character connects to the story as a whole. The tone for the story is one of hope. The legend tells of a girl destined to be the shaman who brings the Miwok people together. Hannah’s role in the story isn’t random. She’s more than a nosy writer wanting a good story. Overall, the story is fairly light, but there’s darkness underneath. Coyote’s Song has everything needed for a good trek into magical realism; engaging characters, normal everyday occurrences, and the faintest taste of something magical. A must-read!