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True Women


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About the Author

Janice Woods Windle was born and raised in Texas. Her upbringing informed her novel True Women. She has lived in El Paso since 1961 with her husband, Wayne Windle. Mrs. Windle became CEO and President of the El Paso Community Foundation in 1977.


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.)

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

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