Cassie Edwards: A Formula For Success (and Controversy)

Cassie Edwards, “Queen of Indian Romance”

into the west
Kerri Russell and Jay Tavare,
Into the West, Dreamworks, 2005

In a previous post, I wrote about one of my favorite authors, Cassie Edwards. Before plagiarism allegations ended her career, she was billed as the “Queen of Indian Romance.” In this post, I will write about the formula Mrs. Edwards used to become a New York Times bestselling author of Native American romances.

This is gleaned from reading Mrs. Edwards’ Native American romances. The terms “Native American” and “Indian” will be alternately used throughout the article.

The Heroine

close up of partially shirtless woman
Photo by Ekaterina Nt on

Mrs. Edwards’ beautiful, innocent, naive, and sweet heroines also have at least one of the following characteristics:

  • She is white.
  • The heroine is multiracial (half-white/half-Indian or half-white/half-Black) and knows it. 
  • She is white, but discovers during the book that she’s also half-Indian.
  • The heroine is full-blood Indian but raised by a white family after her parents are killed when she is a child.
  • She is full-blood Indian, and she is raised by her Indian family.
  • The heroine is Mexican.

During the course of the book, our intrepid heroine will meet:

The Hero

adam edwards
Adam Edwards, Squanto: A Warrior’s Tale, Walt Disney Pictures, 1994

Mrs. Edwards’ heroes are handsome, muscular, noble, and brave–no pun intended. They also have the following characteristics:

  • The hero is a full-blooded Indian.
  • He is sometimes multiracial (half-Indian/half-white) and knows it. (Unlike her heroines).
  • The Indian heroes are ALWAYS the chief (or the son of the chief, and therefore heir apparent to the chief) of the Tribe of the Book.
  • There are two exceptions to these rules. Two of Mrs. Edwards’ heroes are white. One was raised as an Indian (after his older white sister married an Indian), and the other is a white man raised in a white society. 
  • They usually speak good English (there are a couple of exceptions).
  • They are well-endowed–-if you know what I mean, and I think you do!-–and they are VERY skilled at lovemaking. 

The circumstances where the hero and heroine meet vary, but they meet, become attracted to each other, make passionate love with each other, and plan their future together. 

However, that future could be thwarted by a society that disapproves of interracial relationships and three villains, all of whom appear in every one of Mrs. Edwards’ books. These villains are: the Evil White Man™, the Evil Indian Brave™, and the Evil Indian Woman™.

The Evil White Man

Image by tegawi from Pixabay

The villain that appears most frequently in Mrs. Edwards’ books is the Evil White Man. (occasionally, there is more than one in each book).

The Evil White Man has the following characteristics:

  • He’s white (well, duh).
  • He lusts after money, power, and the heroine, not always in that order. (Sometimes, the Evil White Man doesn’t lust after the heroine).
  • This man is a virulent bigoted racist who hates Native Americans with a passion and makes frequent derogatory statements about them (while twirling his mustache and cackling evilly).

The Evil White Man discovers that the heroine is in love with the Indian hero. He takes action to hurt the couple. These efforts will ultimately fail, but the Evil White Man will cause pain to the hero and heroine before getting his comeuppance. 

The Evil Indian Brave

brown and white stallions running in a field
Photo by Pixabay on

Appearing less frequently is the villainous Evil Indian Brave.

His characteristics:

  • He hates the hero because the hero is better looking, thus more successful with women.
  • He hates the fact that the hero has more power (The Evil Indian Brave is not a chief of his tribe).

These factors cause the Evil Indian Brave to be consumed with anger. Once he disapproves of the hero’s relationship with the heroine, he tries to destroy the woman. The Evil Indian Brave’s efforts will fail like the Evil White Man’s.

The Evil Indian Woman

Appearing less frequently than the male villains in Cassie Edwards’ books is the Evil Indian Woman. This character has the following characteristics:

  • She’s the hero’s former lover.
  • She wanted to be the hero’s lover, but he didn’t reciprocate her feelings.

Acting alone or in cahoots with the Evil Indian Brave, the Evil Indian Woman also tries to destroy the hero and heroine. Her fate will be the same as the male villains. 

Conclusion on Cassie Edwards

dreamcatcher native american

I once wrote during a review for one of her books (slightly paraphrasing): “Reading a Cassie Edwards book is like going to a fast-food restaurant chain anywhere in the country. No matter where you go, you always know what you’re going to get.”

Clearly, many readers-myself included, as I own all of her Native American romances–are quite happy with the knowledge that when we buy and read a Cassie Edwards novel, there will be very little surprise regarding the content of the book. 

There is a lot of mockery in this article, and it may seem that I’m making fun of Mrs. Edwards’. I am, a little. However, I also have great respect for her work, despite the allegations that she may be a serial plagiarist.

She was one of the few authors to write Native American romances and one of the few to actually care about doing research into the tribe of the book, their culture, and their language. And for that, she will have a lifelong place in my heart.

Cassie Edwards Native American Romances We’ve Reviewed

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