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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Coyote’s Song by Renee Benzaim connects two women from the past and the present through a Miwok legend. In 1989, five-year-old Evangeline disappeared from her front yard. Ten years later in 1999, Hannah Kelly is searching for a subject for her new novel. She investigates Evangeline’s case, but with little information and no one talking, she comes to a dead end. That is until she hires Tom and his brother, Bennie, who was the last one to see Evangeline. Through the brothers she finds all the answers she was looking for, including a few she never expected.
Coyote’s Song is a great dip into mythology! Brother Coyote is a real presence that guides the characters to where they need to be. Renee Benzaim has an interesting frame for the narrative. It opens with Evangeline’s story, but picks up in 1999 with Hannah, who is searching for clues about the missing girl. Various perspectives provide a piece of her disappearance until the answer is revealed at the end, but each character connects to the story as a whole. The tone for the story is one of hope. The legend tells of a girl destined to be the shaman who brings the Miwok people together. Hannah’s role in the story isn’t random. She’s more than a nosy writer wanting a good story. Overall, the story is fairly light, but there’s darkness underneath. Coyote’s Song has everything needed for a good trek into magical realism; engaging characters, normal everyday occurrences, and the faintest taste of something magical. A must-read!