The Oregon Book Report - Book News from Oregon

Mormon girl meets Apache boy in SW love novel

May 29, 2014

bk-fish-in-a-birds-nestDan Rehwalt reviews “Fish in a Bird’s Nest” By author F. Elizabeth Hauser
Lizzard Press 2014

A Mormon girl of fifteen and an Apache boy of nineteen were less than desirable marriage partners in the early 1900’s, especially in the Gila Valley of Southeastern Arizona. F. Elizabeth Hauser weaves a tale that confronts issues existing to this day, and does it with superior skill.

Emmaline Cluff was the daughter of James and Elizabeth, Mormon pioneers to the Gila Valley, who farmed hay and cotton. Ransom Henry was the son of William and Frances, Apache farm laborers, who were employees of the Cluffs since the time Ransom was three. Cluffs and Henrys lived as neighbors and the two children were together every day.

Before the children were teen-agers, they knew they were in love. The years came when they realized that the love they had would not find welcome ground in the Gila Valley. One solution would be to run away together.

It is at this point that Hauser’s excellent knowledge of the craft is most evident as she tackles the dilemma of a Mormon girl yet too young to date who loves an Apache boy as he seeks a way for love to prevail.

We are taken to a secret place near the top of a mountain sacred to the Apache and are there as Ransom and Emmaline search their heart. We grieve along with them as they face the prejudice that Ransom’s family is acquainted with but Emmaline’s is not. We feel their emotion as they make a difficult decision and carry it out.

— F. Elizabeth Hauser is a retired Registered Nurse. She spent her childhood years in the Gila Valley and is acquainted with the culture of both the Apache and the Mormons. She currently lives in Eugene, Oregon with her husband and dog. Peace in the Valley, a sequel to Fish in a Bird’s Nest, will be published soon.

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