By Heather Lockman
Musa Publishing, $5.99, 335 pages
Bess Reynolds is a part-time waitress at her husband’s brew pub and a part-time tour-guide at the Starkett Historical pioneer farmhouse in a small town on Puget Sound. Bess loves her job at the museum and enjoys providing historical knowledge to new generations. The tour includes such creative activities as doing laundry or making Victorian autograph albums.
The presence of the last living member of the Starkett’s family, a stubborn ninety year old Mrs. Lucille Starkett, also makes this museum stand out from other house-museums because she adds more authenticity. As the Director of the Starkett House for the last three years, Bess has learned to deal with Lucille, even though it is difficult to do. Lucille loves telling pioneer stories her way and this often leads to trouble. The Amazing Injun Adventures of Ass-Kicking Pioneer Mom, a graphic novel written by one of the children, is inspired by Lucille’s version of The Indian Shirt Story and creates a crisis within the local Indian community.
Further in the book readers will find several different versions of the same story. What is real in this tale? Lucille, nostalgic for old things thinks that now nothing is real. However, she is not a genuine Starkett. Although she has lived in the Starkett house for more than sixty years, she is only a Starkett by marriage. Should this fact make a difference? Should the shooting of a music video for the Nashville Country Network in the Starkett House by Duane Hasker, a handsome and famous country star, alter things at the museum or in Bess’ life?
The Indian Shirt Story is the first book written by the Northwest observer and writer Heather Lockman. The tasteful combination of the author’s love for history and country music makes her book charming, lovely, funny and sad at the same time. Once you start this book you won’t want to put it aside.
Reviewed by Galina Roizman