I have desired to read this author’s work since her first book came out. When I saw this one, I decided this was my chance since it seemed to only have loose ties to the two previous books. This is another one of those instances where I could kick myself for waiting so long. The author’s style, the historic details blended with the mystic aspect, the plot and the way she developed her characters just make me greedy for more of her stuff. Definitely going back for those yummy Highlanders.
The story is a frontier romance set in America during the Colonial Era. It opens with Adelaide dwelling on her past and her life as it is. She has always been timid and scared. After her father died and then the attack on their home that killed her mother and younger sister, the fear magnified ten-fold. She and her older sister, Maggie were rescued by a band of Cherokee who took the girls back to their village and adopted them into the tribe. For the first time, she and Maggie were encouraged to use their ‘dream’ gifts and encouraged to be themselves. Maggie flourished and moved on into her happy life, but Adelaide remained locked in fear and living like a shadow. The village matriarch has determined that she will marry one of the strong warriors of the tribe. Adelaide likes the man and he is good to her, but she is terrified of being with him in that way. And what of the mysterious golden haired golden eyed angry man she keeps seeing in her dreams? Then she attempts to use her gift and it goes terribly wrong leaving a family of the village in mourning. This event brings her dream man to the village when he is captured in the last retaliatory raid.
Jesse Black hates indians with a passion because they killed his mother and because his brutal, abusive father taught him only to hate. Here he is either to become entertainment for the savages as they torture him to death or slated to become a slave. What he doesn’t expect is to encounter a white woman who is accepted like one of the tribe and seems to be there of her own volition. She treats his wounds and translates the ‘good’ news that he is one of his captor’s spirit brother because he supposedly embodies the spirit of the man’s dead brother. Jesse survives the gauntlet he is forced to run and decides to bide his time in the village until he can escape.
Adelaide doesn’t know what to make of Jesse, but there is something about him other than her dreams that draws her to him. She has been lonely and feels lost trying to walk the ridge between her white heritage and her adopted heritage. Jesse stirs up these thoughts more than ever because she suspects that he will not stay any longer than he has to. She is both intimidated by him because he is a man, but she also treasures his friendship. Jesse is equally attracted to Adelaide. First he plots how he can get away and take her with him, but then something changes and he allows the Cherokee people and their life to make an impression with him. Like Adelaide, he is well aware that underneath what he has learned from the Cherokee that he is different. He cares for Adelaide, but she is so caught up in her fears that she may never accept him. Adelaide needs to work through her past and her fear of her own gift and Jesse has to battle his present adversaries and be strong for both of them.
The story is told first person point of view from both Adelaide and Jesse’s perspectives. The plot is tight and the pacing is good with its blend of action, character development, description and romance. I loved the feel of being immersed in the Cherokee way of life for that time period.
I thought the way the author depicted characters who described their pasts and their present actions and feelings was good. I wasn’t so keen on Adelaide, but that was due to her timidity not to how well she was drawn as a character. Anyone who went through what she did would have issues and they wouldn’t be the sort of thing that went away anytime soon. Jesse is made of different stuff. He, too, had an ugly past, but instead of fearful withdrawals, it left him angry and reckless. He has one of those sultry personalities and paired with rugged good looks that gets him anywhere he wants with the females. Addie stumps him. I liked that they didn’t instantly fall in love and come together as a couple because it wouldn’t have rang true. Their journey both separately and together was a much better telling.
The mystic element of Addie’s gift and the older woman of the village having the gift was part of the story, but it worked organically with the historical and more factual backdrop that the story was told in. As to the balance of historical backdrop to plot… right on the money. It blended well.
There was a look in with Andrew and Maggie from the first story. I haven’t read their story yet, but I’m really looking forward to it after meeting up with them in this one.
So all in all, this was a splendid experience. I would recommend this one to historical romance lovers who enjoy Native American Romance and Colonial American era romance with a little spice and grit to it.
My thanks to Penguin Group and Net Galley for providing the copy of the book for review purposes.
Review by Sophia Rose
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