by Bobbie Russell, historical (2007)
Total-e-bound, 3.99, ISBN 978-1-906328-00-9

The aggravation and unease gnawing at George Schaeffer's gut lessened as his hired men reported.

It is not a good sign when the first sentence of the story seems to be incomplete, is it?

In the prologue of Bobbie Russell's Dreamcatcher, George Schaeffer has had heiress Sidney Kathryn Victoria Brandenburg, who happens to be his stepsister, killed so that he could get his hands on the gold mine she stands to inherit either on her wedding day or her twenty-fifth birthday, whichever comes first. She's not yet twenty-five and she is single... and now dead, thanks to wily old George.

Or is she?

Garrison York, our hero, was raised by a Blackfoot tribe. Running Bear, as he is known to them, returns to his former tribe because he received a summon from his friend Thunder Bow. These folks had recently discovered an injured white woman in a stagecoach and another fellow, Two Eagles, had nursed her back to health. However, with the current relationship between the tribe and the folks at the nearby Fort Browning being tenuous at best, Thunder Bow realizes that any attempt to return the woman to her people can result in his people being accused of attacking the stagecoach. On the other hand, Two Eagles wants to keep this woman as his own, which Thunder Bow believes is not the best idea either. The woman has to go. Therefore, he now asks Garrison to take this woman to Fort Browning while Two Eagles is not around to cause trouble.

Our heroine, called Willow by Thunder Bow and his wife, has amnesia. She is afraid to go with Garrison but she is even more afraid of the evil cartoon Two Eagles and his "fierce looks and savage kisses" and "bold caresses and crass kisses". Hmm, it looks like Ms Russell has a flair for poetry there. At any rate, Willow starts out as a stereotypical heroine in any romance involving Native Americans - she is this personality-free dumb bunny who aches inside for the hero's manly touch even as she behaves like a helpless little girl needing our manly hero to think for her and rescue her from all those evil men bent on ravishing her body against her will. Willow can be quite inconsistent when it comes to her amnesia - she claims that she can't remember anything but her life among the Blackfoots yet at the same time she can't wait to get back to "civilization".

And then, after a few chapters into the story, she suddenly mutates into this heroine who starts speaking to Garrison "tartly" and with "sarcasm", complaining that she has ridden the horse for too long, she is tired, et cetera. It is as if Ms Russell has suddenly switched lanes and decided to make Willow a typical "feisty" heroine instead of a Cassie Edwards heroine. This Willow however still plays the same role - she's always being helpless or vulnerable to the point that the hero has to take her in his arms and then pin her to the ground for some caveman loving until she shrieks at him to get off her. At other times she's complaining about her condition and the long journey. In short, Willow is either the helpless child, the nag, or the tease. She also sighs a lot.

Ms Russell is very fond of making Willow sigh in this story, as if she gets some bonus every time Willow sighs. Ms Russell also clearly has no idea how annoying Willow is because after having Willow complain and muttering sarcastically to Garrison about their long journey, Ms Russell on page 33 has Garrison thinking that Willow rarely complained during the journey so he admires her tenacity. I don't know what to say. Garrison must be truly besotted, I suppose.

Garrison comes off as this poor whipped fellow. Every time he thinks of Willow, he has this "rock hard" chubby and he often can't help himself. As a result, he also often berates himself for being such a beast when it comes to his lust for poor Willow the helpless nag.

As the story progresses, the characters continue to mutate, especially Willow, who becomes even more and more like some teenage girl trying too hard to be sarcastic. Unfortunately, Willow's lack of brainpower remains unchanged throughout everything. The story moves to San Francisco where Willow naturally has to deal with jealous bitches trying to upstage her when she's not being such a complete twit when it comes to George.

"I'll be back to check on you later." A frown marred his features as he looked down at her.

She knew she should tell him about George, but he looked so fierce, she was afraid to speak. She nodded meekly before she closed her eyes, tears of confusion seeping out from the corners.

Inconsistent characterization, plot developments that hinge on silliness of the characters or lack of communication, and some really cringe-inducing turn of phrases that are more suited to a Cassie Edwards novel makes Dreamcatcher a story where the author misses the dart board altogether more often than she hits the bullseye. This one is good for some moments of unintentional comedy or two, but perhaps it is best kept aside for fans of Cassie Edwards and the like.

Rating: 52

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