Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Review: An Oldie but a Goodie

Back in the 90s, in what I figure were my formative years of romance reading, I loved Julie Garwood, Jude Deveraux, Teresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas, Christina Dodd, and a handful of other authors I would buy by name only. I'm not sure how I missed out on Catherine Anderson's books, but I have a feeling it was because of the Indians.

Of course, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with Indians. My first romances I loved featured "half-breed" heroes, but then I fell into this author who was fond of them too, and I burned myself out on the setting. The author had the habit of having the characters have sex before the battle, during the battle, and after the battle. It got a little exhausting to me and not a lot of conflict or story beyond sex. You know how it is. You can read that kind of book every week, but one time you're not really in the mood for that kind of book, and it turns you off everything about that kind of story forever. That's what happened to me and Indians. It is why I think I missed out on Catherine Anderson the first time, because her books were in the early 90s. I should have picked up one of them, but the title kept me from doing so.

CHEYENNE AMBER is one of Anderson's historicals--and she has a fondness of Indians, the misunderstood heroes and ones who seek redemption. Ironically, neither the hero or heroine are Indians, though the hero was adopted by the Cheyenne when he was a baby, so he's a brother in spirit. He is also the best tracker in Colorado. (A common theme in this sort of setting incidentally, much like a duke who is in need of a fortune.) The heroine, Laura, is a Boston city-girl who defied her father and married a gambler, and now she is out in Colorado, newly delivered of a baby and newly widowed.

As if her luck isn't bad enough, she runs afoul of some comancheros (friends of her husband's of course) and they end up kidnapping her baby to lure her to them. She "hires" Deke Sheridan, the hero, to help her get her baby back.

Emotional, angsty, and one of the Blackest Black Moments ever--if it had been any other kind of a book than a romance, I would have expected the black moment to have really carried out. But my favorite was the dialogue. You have a starchy, well-educated city-bred lady with twenty-dollar words in every sentence; and you have a rough-edged, life-educated, hillbilly-Indian lover who says truly appalling things. Frequently. And there is the conversation with him and his mother, Medicine Woman. That was a hoot!

I got to the end and wanted to keep reading. I got to the end and went to Amazon.com to see if there was any other books affiliated with these characters and the like. No, but it did reveal a series of Comanche themed books that I had loved and read a year ago (also written many years previously). I would recommend them all.

But definitely read this one first--because that scene where Deke has to explain to Laura that he married her while she was unconscious is hysterical.

Any oldies but goodies you recommend? Any Indian themed romances that were a particular favorite of yours? What are you reading?


quantum said...

Anderson is probably my favorite romance author.
I think I must have read pretty well everything by her that I can lay my hands on!

Loved Cheyenne Amber but her Comanche series (Indigo Blue, Comanche Heart, Comanche Moon) are among my favorites.

I recently read my first Jude Deveraux 'Temptation' which I liked a lot. And I see that Deveraux is among your Golden Oldies.

Hellie, I like your taste in romance ... seems to be close to mine!

MsHellion said...

Of course, you have great taste in reading material, Q--you love what the pirates write for one. :)

I loved the Comanche series...I'm going to have to seek out the books for purchase. They're really quite beautiful.

My favorite Jude Deveraux book is THE RAIDER, which is probably one of the first books I read by her, but I loved the caper-ishness of it so much I knew I wanted to write like that one day.

Terri Osburn said...

I read so many books like this back in the day. My first thought is a series by Elizabeth Lowell from the early 90s. ONLY HIS, ONLY MINE, and ONLY YOU. I can't remember if they all have Indian heroes, but I remember for sure that at least one of them did. Highly recommend. In fact, I'd recommend all of Lowell's Historical Romances from the 90s. Amazing stuff.

If you want to go way way back, look up Johanna Lindsey's backlist. She even has one called A PIRATE'S LOVE from 1978! I still have many of the ones published in the 80s with the awesome covers.

They just don't make 'em like that anymore. :)

irisheyes said...

I went on a Catherine Anderson glom a couple of years ago after reading ANNIE'S SONG. It's an historical about a deaf mute girl who was raped and the rapist's brother finds out and takes responsibility for her and falls in love with her. It was a great story.

After that one I moved on to her contemporaries with BABY LOVE and got hooked on the Kendrick series. Then I switched back to her westerns with KEEGAN'S LADY.

I have read her Indian series too but for some reason didn't like it as much as the others I've read by her. She can go a little over the top with the drama but I really love the characters she creates. She does a really great job with the wounded/damaged heroine without making her weak and whiney, IMO.

The last book I read by her that I really enjoyed was COMING UP ROSES. An abused wife (again an historical set in the the 1800's) kills her husband and buries him under the roses. The hero in that book is awesome and it has a little girl who is very cute. I like kids in my romances and Catherine Anderson has written a couple that I really like.

The last Indian romance I read that I really liked was Ellen O'Connell's DANCING ON COALS. Ellen O'Connell has written several westerns that have been keepers for me.

Janga said...

Hellie, I had to laugh at your description of the old school Native American romances. Even the covers make me cringe. My favorite Anderson historical is Annie's Song. I generally prefer her contemporaries such as Baby Love and Phantom Walyz.

I am a rereader. I separate keepers from just good books by whether or not I know I'll reread the book. My first line of defense against book burnout is always rereading a golden oldie. I mentioned yesterday rereading Judith Ivory's The Proposition when I got caught up in it after pulling it out for research. That happens a lot. I recently reread Lisa Kleypas's Where Dreams Begin in a similar situation.

MsHellion said...

Terri, I have to be in the right mood for a romance written in the late 70s and early 80s...emotional angst, YES, but I have gotten a bit more spoiled to the more evolved heroes we get now. And the sex that is fun for everyone rather than for all intents is rape in disguise. I loved them THEN, but now I wince.

MsHellion said...

Irish, I went to look excited for the western you were talking about--KINDLE. *sighs* Woman! *LOL* I will dig into the other Anderson books you recommend though. :)

MsHellion said...

Janga, you probably know the author I'm alluding to, bless her heart.

I do love rereads...I did a reread of SAVING GRACE this summer, just because I love so much about that book.

irisheyes said...

Ahhh... WHERE DREAMS BEGIN, another great romance with a child, Janga. This is one of my favorite Kleypas books. Maybe I'll go revisit Zach, Holly and little Rose this week.

Yeah, Hellie I forgot that Ellen's books are very reasonable. I think you can even get a sample on your Kindle and if you don't like it you don't buy it. I like that feature!

I went back and looked up the Comanche series by Catherine Anderson and remember now that I liked the first one in the series but not the other 2 as much. I'm pretty hard on Indian romances, though, for exactly the reason you stated.

Maureen said...

***Yawn! Mornng crew! Oh, it isn't morning anymore? Dang...I'm sure I missed everything! I gotta get to bed earlier and get up earlier...

Anyway! I know I've read Indian books, more likely the more adventurey type, but titles totally escape me.

The oldest romance I can remember reading, other than the Angelique books, which no one else seems to know about on this ship but me...

Who, I'm the queen of run-on sentences today...

I still have it, somewhere...it has a goldish cover and it's about William the Conqueror's conquest of... Matilda? I think... I just remember a scene where he chains her to the bed and she sleeps on the floor to avoid sleeping with him...

Marnee Bailey said...

I've never read Catherine Anderson. I should, though, it seems.

I also love Deveraux. I'd gotten off her bandwagon for a while, but I just read True Love and I really liked it.

Thinking of oldie recommends.... I love Judith McNaught's older books. I haven't read her newer ones lately, I admit.

MsHellion said...

Irish, I refuse to cave to Kindles yet. I don't use the eReader I have now...and it's lovely. I just rather have the book-book. But glad to know there is quality e-fiction as well. :)

MsHellion said...

Mo, I love the idea of the heroine sleeping on the floor to avoid sleeping with him. *LOL* Awesome! I'll have to try to seek it out. :)

MsHellion said...

Marn, I fell off Deveraux's bandwagon for a while in the late 90s, early 00s, but with the Edilean series, I fell in love with her again.

Judith McNaught is still on my keeper shelf, but I'm not sure I can read her again. The heroes might not be as lovable as I liked them before. *LOL* But I might have to dig out WHITNEY MY LOVE.