The tale is a multi-cultural love story that draws upon several San Diego settings as well as local Native American themes and images.
“Coyote Heart” focuses on Carolyn Weedman, a 40-year-old librarian trapped in a troubled marriage with a disabled husband. After a chance encounter with a widowed Pala Indian professor, Carolyn finds herself drawn into an unexpected love affair. Torn by conflicting feelings, she discovers a secret about her husband’s past that forces her to confront her divided emotions and choose between the two men that she loves.
The 210-page novel explores courage, sacrifice, forgiveness, Indian politics and the intricacies of illicit love and marriage. Local settings include the Pala area and the Rancho Penasquitos preserve. The book acknowledges the assistance of Eric Elliott, a Palomar College professor and Luiseno language expert.
The title "Coyote Heart" is pretty stereotypical, as is the cover. Yeah, because all Indians are tricky fellows represented by a coyote, right? Unless they're represented by an eagle, wolf, or hawk instead.
It also sounds like author Margulies didn't get much if any help from the Pala tribe. Even if the book is accurate and stereotype-free, I'm not sure Pala would approve.
For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Books.