A Council of Dolls by Mona Susan Power follows three generations of Yanktonai Dakota women and their dolls in three different settings. The story was told from the point of view of each young lady and also her doll.
Sissy and her doll, Ethel, live in Chicago with a volatile mother and a dependable father. Lillian brings her doll, Mae, when she is forced to attend a boarding school for Native American children. Cora is also sent to a school following what I believe was the Wounded Knee Massacre. Unfortunately, Cora’s doll, Winona, was burned by the school teachers. The only thing that survived was a heartlike stone and the doll’s spirit.
Sissy doesn’t always have anyone to protect her from her mother. Her father buys her a doll, later named Ethel. Whether it is a child’s imagination or not, Ethel provides comfort and kindness to Sissy. The doll may even have saved Sissy from her mother’s uncontrollable rage.
Lillian and her sister, Blanche, move to the boarding school where the nuns abuse the children on a daily basis. After one of the nuns takes the abuse too far, Mae does everything in her power to haunt and avenge the brutality. It was interesting to see the changes in Lillian, who was a sweet kid but not so sweet as an adult.
Cora loves Winona, her doll made of bucksin and beads. Both of them survived so much tragedy in such a short time. Even after Winona is burned, her spirit is still with Cora.
When Sissy is an adult, she takes all of the dolls – Ethel, Mae and Winona plus a few new ones- out of storage and puts them on display. She calls the collection “A Council of Dolls.” The council is key to helping Sissy deal with her past trauma and also generational trauma.
My kids think that having my doll collection will lead to having a haunted house. I disagree. As long as a person is kind to the doll, their spirit and owner, there should not be problems or hauntings.
If you are interested in historical fiction, Native American fiction or dolls with some spirit, then you will enjoy this book.
If you are an abusive nun or abusive person in general, then you may not like abusers facing the consequences. Most people won’t feel bad for the abusive nun. Her actions had consequences. Sorry, not sorry Sister.
Book Review Links
- I received this ebook from NetGalley. This is my honest review. All opinions are my own. Obviously.