The Headhunter’s Daughter by Tamar Myers *Review*

In 1945, a three-week old infant girl was kidnapped from the Belgian Congo.  Thirteen years later there are rumors that a white girl is living among the Bashilele tribe of headhunters.  Determined to bring the girl back to her own people, young missionary Amanda Brown and the police captain Pierre set off to find her.

Found and brought back to live among the white people, “Ugly Eyes” as she is called among her Bashilele family, has a hard time fitting in with a people she has never seen before.  White people?  They are ugly and they all look the same.  She doesn’t look like that…does she?

And then there is the question of who kidnapped her, and is her rightful family one of these that are trying to help her?

When I picked up this book and started reading I did not realize this was the sequel to The Witch Doctor’s Wife.  Normally I do not read books out of order, it messes with my head.  But I was so far into this book before I realized it, I just kept going.  Would reading the first book have helped with my opinion of this book?  Maybe.  Author Tamar Myers grew up in the Belgian Congo.  The country and the people are in her blood.  My guess is that the first book explains a lot more about their culture than this book does.  And really…that’s what intrigues me most.

For instance, have you ever stepped inside a tribeswoman’s head and wondered what the heck a bra is for, how do you put one on, and why would you be ashamed of your breasts?  Having never seen white people and their silly clothes and ways would make this particular piece of apparel quite a mystery.  This part of the book cracked me up!

Another thing to ponder.  Why would you give your daughter a moniker that means nothing?  In the Congo, the native people are often named for a physical characteristic like “Ugly Eyes” or “Cripple.”  Why would you choose, for instance, the name Helen?  What does it mean?

When it came to the mystery plot of the story, I found I was not really interested in motive or perpetrator.  I felt the characters were not developed enough to leave me wanting to know more about them.  For this reason I rated this book 2/5 stars.


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