In this moving first novel, Bell (a mixed-blood Cherokee) confronts the ``lost generation'' of Indian women, personified by Grace, who tries unsuccessfully to enter the mainstream of the white world. Her daughter Lucie's horrendous childhood of struggle and abuse is relieved only by a two-year stay with a great-aunt, who instills in her a sense of pride. Despite the odds, she is now a successful college professor. Returning to Oklahoma for Grace's final illness, Lucie spends some painful solitary hours examining the shame she has felt for her mother, who lacked both the skills needed to thrive in the white world and pride in her Cherokee heritage. She finds a link to Grace as she rummages through her things is able to engage in the generations-old tradition of proudly seeking the face of her mother when she sees the moon. For larger Native American and women's studies collections.-- Debbie Bogenschutz, Cincinnati Technical Coll.
Bell's voice resonates with an authenticity garnered from listening to the older voices of Indian women gathered at table. These voices' stories have settled into her being, no matter how much time, education, upward mobility, and physical space might seem to distance her. A Cherokee of mixed blood, Bell meshes her forebears' stories seamlessly with recollections of her own dry, dusty, impoverished childhood in the land where Oklahoma meets Kansas and Texas. She recounts her life with the mother, aunt, great aunt, and others who raised her, taking us along on a "half-breed's" journey to forgiveness, understanding, and self-acceptance as, eventually, she finds and defines herself through the older women's stories. Reminding us of our own searches for personal history and self, Bell tells us she continues to look at the moon, searching it for the faces of these unforgettable women.