Missionary Life in the Congo

August 2, 2013 | Erin

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The Girl Who Married an Eagle (2013) by Tamar MyersTamar Myers series of mysteries, set in the Congo, includes The Headhunter’s Daughter and The Boy Who Stole the Leopard’s Spots, and concludes with The Girl Who Married an Eagle. The final book in the series involves many familiar characters, but is not a mystery. This novel can still be read even if you have not read any of Myers’ other books. The story stands alone and deals with the experiences of a new missionary and a young native girl, who is rescued by the missionaries.

Julia Newton is a naive young woman, who arrives in the Belgian Congo seeking adventure and a change from her everyday life in Ohio. She becomes a missionary teaching at an all-girls boarding school for child brides, during the months leading to the Congo’s independence from Belgium in 1959. Julia is forward thinking, does not agree with segregation and at times bumps heads with the traditional missionaries, who feel that a pretty girl, fresh from College has no place in the Congo.

Buakane is an eight year-old girl from the Bashilele tribe. Buakane’s parents sell her to Chief Eagle to become his twenty-third wife. Learning of the tradition to bury the Chief’s wives alive, upon his death, Buakane decides to run away on her wedding night. After her escape, she finds more trouble and is rescued by the missionaries who are driving Julia to her teaching position. Chief Eagle will not lose one of his brides so easily and plans his revenge.

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