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Friday, June 30, 2006

June TBR Challenge

Wow, just barely made this one.

June's TBR Challenge:

Since June is the month for weddings, choose a book that a) has a wedding in it, b) has a title that mentions something to do with a wedding, or c) otherwise evokes the idea of a wedding.

Strictly speaking, any one of several books I've read this month could fit the criteria: most of the romances, for example, have weddings. But I always pick a book that wasn't already in the "read next" basket beside my bed.

The one I picked was:

**** Spirit's Song by Madeline Baker. Western historical romance.

I picked it because on the back, it said it was about a runaway wife. I was picturing, I guess, something like Runaway Bride with Indians. It wasn't. There was, however, a wedding at the end, so it fit. Spirit's Song had been in my TBR pile for probably a year or so--ever since Mandy had mentioned that the hero in Spirit's Song had started out as a bad guy. I think. I do know she'd mentioned this one in particular, and I'm pretty sure it had something to do with the hero.

I'm not normally a fan of Western historical romances, but Madeline Baker is one of the few authors who, I think, does them well. There isn't an overly-idealised version of the Old West, nor are there stereotypical characters or easy answers.

Kaylynn is the runaway wife in question. She'd married a handsome man who abused her. I'm also not fond of abused/victim heroines, but Kaylynn didn't just cringe and cower--she left. And when, on her flight, her stagecoach was attacked and she was captured and enslaved by the Cheyenne, she made the best of things while never giving up her plan to reach her parents' home.

When half-breed bounty hunter Jesse Yellow Thunder wins her, she thinks her chance has come.

Yellow Thunder is scarred, weary of the bounty hunter life, but doesn't see any other future for himself.

What I liked most about Spirit's Song was Kaylynn. She was a very real character. She was strong and determined, but you could see the pampered daughter of wealthy parents underneath. Maybe most importantly to me, she never fell into the TSTL trap as so many heroines in her position do.

The ending was likewise realistic and satisfying, though I could have done without the obligatory wedding scene. But if it hadn't been there, it wouldn't have fit the TBR challenge, and then where would I be? :)

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