This book is SUPER SUPER special to me, because it’s one of the very first romance novels I ever read (thanks Hannah Howell!). It’s the first romance novel I remember reading, although I read a lot of them (thanks, Mom, for having such a large collection for me to steal from!) and I can’t actually remember where this one fell in the chronology of romance novels in my life. Let’s just say that this book is one of the novels that started me down this road to obsession! Also it may have started a bunch of friends down that road, as I definitely passed it all around school. I saw this copy at the Borders (RIP) going out of business sale and it did not even occur to me to restrain the wave of nostalgia. Reader, I bought it.
Romance novel covers are an endless fascination of mine. Sometimes there’s just a lady, looking helpless or pouty or tousled. Sometimes there’s just a dude, looking swarthy and tough and menacing. Sometimes it’s a totally innocuous image and then you flip the page and – hey there! – sexytimes are unfolding. But sometimes, like with Chieftain – or maybe chiefTain or ChiefTain, it’s hard to tell from the font – the image is just…like…you know? I mean, WHAT is happening here? Is he unconscious? Has he been bludgeoned? The bulging muscles make him look very unrelaxed, like he’s waiting for something bad to happen.
…Which basically sums up this entire novel. Every page I turned was like, what kind of horror is going to pop up next? Look, I don’t think Nan Ryan is a racist person. I just think she probably did her research by watching Disney’s Pocahontas and prefers to rely on race-based stereotypes. But hey, let’s not let all those icky issues get in the way of a love story! It’s just fluff! It doesn’t have to be accurate! Haven’t white people suffered enough?
I was browsing the Romance section of Half Price Books recently, looking for some good pirate fiction (I wish I knew how to quit you, romance novels). I found a few, but what really caught my eye was a Nora Roberts western. The blurb began: “Half Apache and all man.” OH REALLY? Later I giggled about to my friend Bee who said she recognized the phrase – and wait, wasn’t that novel among the bunch she’d mailed to me? I rushed home to check and she was right. Nora Roberts’ Half Apache All Man hero was already living on my bookshelf.
Let’s begin, shall we?