by Velda Sherrod, historical (2001)
Leisure, $4.99, ISBN 0-8439-4901-5
This one has so much potential. But Velda Sherrod's inability to make up her mind whether she wants to be politically correct or not results in a rather bizarre story where political correctness and political incorrectness coexist in a bewildering sideshow.
Kate Hartland needs money to help her sister escape an unwanted marriage. To get the money, this "good" saloon singer (meaning she doesn't give out for money or anything else) decides to sell herself to hunky Sean O'Brien for a hundred dollars. (What's the market rate anyway?) She is a virgin, but she pretends she isn't. Nonetheless, a great time is had by everybody. Prostitution is never this fun or appealing.
What is not appealing, however, is Kate being pawed by an ugly man - her boss - and she flees like a good, inept romance heroine right into the arms of the Comanche. She finds herself bartered for a horse, and worse, she is now the property of Sean O'Brien! He is actually half-Irish, half-Comanche, but he embraces his Comanche half fully.
What happens next? The usual in a captive fantasy - romance, marriage, bad Indian tribes attacking and lusting after our heroine, et cetera. What I find interesting is that the author doesn't flinch from making Kate hate Indians, which is a perfectly natural response, in my opinion, in a time when Indians are portrayed as savages and worse. However, at the same time the author also makes Kate the enlightened anti-Black-slavery heroine. How did that come about, from an Indian-hating two-dime saloon singer to boot?
Also, the author does portray Indian tribes as violent people who can kill, something that can probably drive genteel Cassie Edwards readers into shock, but at the same time, she also unabashedly romanticizes Sean's tribe as the owners of some modern-day Indian health farm getaway - peace-loving, healthy-eating, Mother-Earth-loving people who come this close to being bumbling simpleton human carebears. Trust Kate to find the only tree-hugging, peace loving Comanche tribe in the entire country.
Lord Of The Plains could have been an unsentimental look at life in the plains, if the author can make up her mind what she wants to write. Lord Of The Plains is a disappointing missed-opportunity, how sad really. Let me know when the author has made up her mind. I think she can do better than this.
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