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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dakota Dreams

***½ Dakota Dreams by Madeline Baker. Western historical romance.

As I said the last time I read a Madeline Baker book, this really isn't my genre.

Nathan Chasing Elk has been in the brutal Yuma prison, wrongly convicted of killing his wife, for over four years, when he escapes, his only thought to see his daughter Leah again and to get revenge on the real murder.

He's seriously injured in the escape, and is found by Catherine Lyons, who takes him in.

Catherine is a young woman, living alone since her parents died and her younger brother abandoned her. Nathan frightens her, but he's also a solution to her most immediate problem: the Apache Marteen is determined to take her for his bride. Catherine has been putting him off, saying that her man is coming for her, but Marteen is losing his patience. Now Catherine can point to Nathan as her husband.

After Catherine nurses him back to health, Nathan's eager to be on his way to find his daughter, and Marteen is still determined to get Catherine by whatever means necessary, so Catherine accompanies Nathan on his quest.

And of course, they fall in love (this is a romance--it's a foregone conclusion).

It's not all that simple, however. Nathan is still a wanted man, still bent on revenge, and, most heartbreakingly, Leah believes he killed her mother.

The historical aspects of the story are interesting, and the emotional dilemmas Catherine and Nathan have to face are compelling. There are no easy answers for these two, and that makes it all the more satisfying when they earn their happy ending. I'd definitely recommend this if you're a fan of the sub-genre, but it's not quite enough to make me love it enough to overcome my sub-genre prejudice.


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