Savage Heaven by Kathleen Drymon

(No Series)

The wagon train carries her west along the Oregon Trail...and toward her future. But Danielle Hansen isn't ready to settle down with the farmer she has reluctantly agreed to marry. She fears the loss of her freedom, and the surrender of her body and soul to a man's touch. Then, in a breathtaking moment of terror, Danielle is kidnapped by a band of renegade Sioux...and becomes the prisoner of their great warrior chief.

He is called Wind Dancer. And he has seen her before, in a long-ago vision. He gives her the name Silver Dove and initiates her into a world of ancient ritual and boundless desire. A stranger and wonderful destiny has brought them together, but it will take a woman's courage and a man's passion to fight for a love that demands all they have to give...

Wow. This book was one of those strange trips where you start in the right direction but end up horribly lost somewhere along the way. The blurb of the story is excellent, as I'm a sucker for Indian romances, and this sounded like a story where the woman had enough internal struggle to where the book would be continuously fraught with delightful struggle/suspense. And, actually, it DID start this way.

In the first chapters or so, Danielle was a strong-spirited, independent, intelligent type gal. She was clearly unhappy with her suitor and their future together, but made sound decisions about it. Her personality, abnormal from the innocent maiden with no thought in her head, urged me to read further. Sadly once she was captured by Indians, her entire personality did a 180 and she was never the above woman again, instead becoming a stereotypical, wide-eyed, gushy, cardboardish, nauseating heroine. The first few chapters were written with gifted prose, the wording intelligent and beautiful, but then all I can say is, "What the hell happened??"

The first major annoyance came with Danielle's concern that died quickly over the other woman kidnapped with her, Penny. The poor thing was gang raped and lost her child in a miscarriage from the abuse. The author painted her a less than likeable character before, but I hardly think this is what she deserved. Danielle shows concern at this but seems to forget about Penny for the most part and accept the Indians as they accept her, even though her friend is horrendously abused by other members of the tribe and even sold for more slavery to another tribe. Didn't sit well with me, for I couldn't forget Penny as easily as the heroine did.

The author suddenly became enamored with exclamation points to the point where I thought she had a fetish. A big no-no in books is to overuse the evil things, but boy did she commit this sin an innumerable amount of times. Especially when it came to sensual scenes, of which there were many. !!!!!!!!!!

It was also impossible for the words to flow smoothly when, for some indeterminable reason, the two main characters insisted on using each others names in almost every sentence. Yes, an example is called for:

Pg. 193:

"What of Spring Lily, Wind Dancer?"
His reply the next paragraph: "What is it you wish to know of Spring Lilly, Silver Dove?"
She replies, blissfully not saying his name this time.
He says, not showing the reader the same courtesy, "You alone hold my heart, Silver Dove. More sentimental words follow"
Of course, she then says, " I'm glad, Wind Dancer."
Him: "I have often dreamt of this moment, Silver Dove."
She says something without saying his name.
He says, " The joining ceremony of our people is real, Silver Dove. More words."
She replies, "I didn't meant to ask if the ceremony was real for your people, Wind Dancer."

ARGH!! Every conversation in the book goes this route. For the love all that is holy, why? It grated on my nerves to the point I soon wasn't able to concentrate on anything else.

To further the horror, the character made some outlandishly stupid mistakes no HUMAN would ever do. Now, everyone who reads my reviews on a regular basis knows I'm careful not to post plot spoilers and inadvertently give away too many details, but my terror at a certain example begs me to share the following:

Danielle's romance with Wind Dancer has angered Spring Lilly, whom everyone knows is in love with the great chief and who believes Danielle has cast her beloved under some sort of white-woman witchly spell. To prove her disdain, she first TELLS Danielle her thoughts on numerous occasions. Her plan not working, she then proceeds to come after Danielle in the tepee with a KNIFE and tries to STAB her to DEATH on Danielle's wedding night.
Not friendly sounding so far, eh?worried

Then, with Wind Dancer out of 'town', she approached Danielle and tells her she's had a sudden change of heart and wants to be friends. Danielle, feeling sorry for her attempted murderer, thinks she may have had a change of heart in Spring Lilly's first attempt to trick her. A few days later, she then accepts an invitation for - get this - a private swim with just the two of them.

With Wind Dancer still out of town. With everyone still asleep. With Danielle wondering why Spring Lilly wants to swim so early when she never does before.

She then goes with Spring Lilly and acts surprised when betrayed.eyebrowneyebrown

Sigh, as you can tell, it was a struggle to finish. I came this close to just tossing the book down in disgust, but I forced myself to finish just to review it fairly. Overall the book was a bomb, but I saved it from that rating as it surprisingly held a few good points. The beginning was well written with decent characters (who were later apparently transplanted with alien pods), there WERE some sweet moments between Wind Dancer and Danielle (Silver Dove) that warmed the jaded heart, I actually did dig the hero of the story, and while action scenes were too dramatic and overly predictable, they still kept the book crawling along.

My advice? Skip this one at all costs.

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