Mariah watched as the bird lit in the branches of a plane tree forty feet or more above the ground. She could see his hooked beak, his outward-searching eyes. The hawk leaned forward; he was watching her too. They made eye contact, held each other’s gaze.
Red-Tailed Hawk, p. 9
When Mariah Easter encounters a large hawk in her urban midtown neighborhood, her father Charlie is concerned. He can see a wild and mystical path opening before his daughter, a path he himself would never be able to resist. The hawk soon reappears: engraved with its twin on a golden thimble that has been an Easter family heirloom for generations. After the thimble is stolen at a funeral reception, Mariah and her mother Samantha set off on a road trip to find it, a journey that will bring healing to the grieving family and change Mariah’s life forever.
Red-tailed Hawk is a coming of age story, the tale of a young woman’s quest to discover the source of her own longing and to understand the mystical legacy of her family.
Red-Tailed Hawk by Nancy Schoellkopf
Published by Butterfly Tree (February 1, 2017)
Genre: Literary Fiction/Adult Fiction/Women’s Fiction (with magical realism)
Format: Paperback, 210 pages
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Review of Red-Tailed Hawk
In writing Red-Tailed Hawk, Nancy Schoellkopf crafted a mesmerizing and emotional story of discovery for a young woman named Mariah. What Schoellkopf shows us is in discovering our own journey we often carry others with us. In Mariah’s story, there are others who travel with her but, in my opinion, the story belongs to Mariah.
Having read Schoellkopf’s Yellow Billed Magpie, I anticipated the beauty of her writing as well as her deep and intuitive characterizations of people and places. Nuances in each character’s personality allowed me to relate, but none as much as with Mariah. The quote above, I believe, took me straight to the heart of who Mariah really is.
My only disappointment was in a lack of characterization for the various places Mariah and her team visited. Each town seemed to be a copy of the last. I felt the author needed to anchor some of these places in a meaningful way as Mariah journeyed near and far to find what she was searching for.
Part of what I love about Schoellkopf’s book is the underlying foundation of a bit of magical realism. Just enough to make me believe in something more than the basic reality of a story. Always a fan of fairy tales, I suppose I never grew out of the fantastical, phantasmagorical fascination they used to draw me in. So it is with Schoellkopf’s writings.
With the turn of the first page, you will find yourself captured as a travelling companion of Mariah and her family and friends, and into an understanding of what we perhaps should all be seeking and how we should seek it. With clever interweaving, the author allows the family’s mystical and magical leanings to explain otherwise rash and haphazard decision-making. Thus, we have an underlying theme and lesson for learning: Not everything we experience is truly coincidence.
Red-Tailed Hawk is the second in the Easter family series, and Yellow Billed Magpie the first book. Either one can stand alone.
I recommend Red-Tailed Hawk to readers who enjoy a nice, well-written coming of age story with a sense of family and spirituality.
Meet Nancy Schoellkopf
Nancy Schoellkopf is the author of Yellow-billed Magpie, the first in her Easter Family series. Nancy has been telling stories and writing poems for many lifetimes. It goes without saying that she’d need a second income, so this time around she has happily taught amazing children in special education classes in two urban school districts in Sacramento, California. A full time writer now, she enjoys lavishing attention on her cats, her garden, and her intriguing circle of family and friends.
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