REVIEW: Lakota Legacy Anthology by Madeline Baker, Kathleen Eagle and Ruth Wind
Originally published in 2003, this anthology has now been reissued by Harlequin. I’ve read all three authors before, though it’s been awhile for two of them, so I went into the anthology with a little bit of preconception – both good and bad – but I was hoping and willing to be wowed all around. For various reasons, this didn’t happen. Two of the stories aren’t bad but one hit most of my bad buttons.
by Madeline Baker
Pregnant and alone on the Colorado prairie, Rebecca Hathaway’s prayers were answered–by rugged Wolf Dreamer.Will her search for home and family lead them to a new life together?
I read some of your books years ago and I can say your style hasn’t changed. We have a passive, helpless heroine who brings out the dominant hero’s possessive and protective streak. Plus there’s kind of a fated mate feel to story which got skeevy at times. Wolf Dreamer has watched Rebecca every day for 5 years? Then, even though he knows she wants to go back East, he takes her to his tribe anyway and basically tells her “this is the way it’s going to be because of my dream.” Rebecca is a rapist magnet with 3 different sets of eeeevil white men attempting it – and there are almost no other white men in the story besides the eeeevil ones – until the noble hero shoots them all. The delicate snowflake heroine runs off multiple times, almost always getting into trouble due to her magnet ability, until the last time Wolf Dreamer kills for her and tells her she’s a lot of trouble. He said a mouthful. I was hoping to avoid the almost obligatory “insanely jealous Indian maiden who covets the hero’s bod and will do nasty things to sweet heroine to get it” but, alas, no. The ending is just too perfect. Suddenly Rebecca’s in love? Ready to be a Lakota living a lifestyle so different from anything she’s ever known? I couldn’t buy any of it. The only thing that raises this to a D is the care with which Wolf Dreamer treats Rebecca after her initial miscarriage.
Cowboy Days and Indian Nights
by Kathleen Eagle
Meredith Woodward had emptied her nest. She didn’t need a scruffy rodeo cowboy moving into her home–or her world. But Ryder Red Hawk was a man prepared to face his past and discover his future–with her.
This has the smooth, easy writing style I’ve come to expect from your books. The characterization is almost effortless and within two pages I feel that I know these two people. I love that it’s an older couple romance, too. She’s a little shy about her figure. He’s got salt and pepper hair and knees that don’t take to kneeling too long anymore. They’re opposites attract – she’s a homebody and he’s a wanderer. She’s got a fancy kitchen and loves wine while he’s got a cast iron stomach for anything and prefers kicking back with a cold one. The growing attraction works well. The tip over into the physical is that of two people who’ve been around a bit know a bit more about attraction and are ready to go for it. The back scene views of Ryder at work at the rodeo are fascinating without being fetishizing. I can even accept the sudden HEA. But something about Meredith’s fascination with Ryder’s Indian heritage seems “off” and at times a little too intense. It’s no big deal to him but she brings it up again and again until even he seems puzzled by it. I realize that this was the way to carry through the story arc and it does point out the issue of Indian children being taken from tribes back in the day to be raised by white families but the heavy hand here stands out in comparison to how the rest of the issues were so nicely handled. C
Seven Days by Ruth Wind
Sunny Kendricks’s luck had run out. With no money, no car and no home, she was sure she’d hit rock bottom. But Michael Chasing Horse was prepared for life’s storms and ready to offer refuge…in his arms.
Michael’s a quiet, cowboy hero. Slightly older and a bit threadbare from the drought but still in love with the land and determined to stay. He’s doubtful of this pretty, young woman being able to take the challenges of eastern Colorado living but in her own way, Sunny is as strong as he is having endured the challenges of her young daughter’s medical issues. I can picture this land and these two people – so similar despite their apparent differences. Still the 7 days til “I’ll love you forever” seem too rushed in spite of the tornado and wildfires that serve to bring them closer and quickly reveal to the other their strengths and character. I could accept them deciding to develop a deeper relationship and the novella ending on a HFN note but for both of them to be survivors of past bad marriages and take the plunge that quickly didn’t work for me. This is a story I would love to have seen fleshed out into a longer novella or full length story. C
Just… yeah. Okay. I think I’m going to give this one a pass.
I just can’t help linking to this Indiegogo Attempt to help Lakota babies – just in case anyone has some spare change: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-save-lakota-babies-lives
“Deaths among Oglala Lakota babies are the highest in the USA. Healthy Start, a program that helps prevent these deaths desperately needs a home.”
@Estara: Donation made, thanks for the link. The poverty and infant mortality rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is both heartbreaking and rage inducing. My mother-in-law makes a small monthly donation, sends coats every winter and a backpack full of school supplies at the start of each school year. Forwarding the link on to her, not sure if she’s heard of this campaign yet.
@CG: I was tipped off to it by sf&f writer Martha Wells and made my donation, they’d gotten nowhere near the necessary money and Indiegogo extended the amount of time their fundraising was running. I wish one of the influential internet people posted a link.
You know, much as I like my US friends, I am SO GLAD I live in Germany, where you have a claim on some sort of health care.
In spite the odds the people of Pine Ridge have come far and continue to. They’ve held on to every thing that outside forces have attempted to tear away from them for centuries. The one thing that makes me sad is that there is NEVER coverage of all of the positive things that the people of Pine Ridge have done and continue to do.
I’ve read all three of these authors. Madeline Baker was actually the first author I read and Kathleen Eagle is one of my favorites because for so long the only books about Natives were choked full of stereotypes and misinformation.
“The delicate snowflake heroine…” I chuckled when I read that.
I wonder why the reissue? I’m really praying that there isn’t a resurgence of the 90’s “Indian Captive”/”Hero Savage” trend. That was a dark and rather icky period in romance and the fact that no one saw anything wrong with titles like, “Savage Hero, Poor Helpless Delicate Snowflake Heroine” still disturbs me to this day.
@Emma: Kathleen Eagle was one of the first romance authors I read when I returned to reading romance about 18 years ago. She is who made me begin to seek out books with NA characters and boy, did I find out that not all authors are her equal. I hope that we aren’t going back to those days either. But those books did make me seek out more accurate information about NA tribes and I’ve become a bit better informed about them and their histories.
@Estara: Thanks for posting this link. I will make a donation today.
@Jayne: Thanks for letting me use your review as a plattform to boost the signal. I don’t have a real online platform myself (by choice, admittedly, having found that I don’t have the stamina for a daily blog) – just my Goodreads friends and the LJs that I comment on, heh – and my comments here ^^.
I added a comment yesterday that seems to have disappeared.
The excellent YA m/m (nothing explicit at all) Gives Light series by Rose Christo addresses this and other issues. I won’t quote again from her Goodreads biog (was that what killed my comment?) but she talks about her own Native American background and explains that she writes about their issues, many of which would shock us to learn. I can’t recommend it highly enough.