Pub Date: 1989
Illustrator: Gregg Gulbronson
Imprint or Line: Zebra Lovegram
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance
More at: Goodreads
Purchase Book: Buy on Amazon
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
This review is of Comanche Bride, a standalone January Zebra Lovegram from 1989 by Emma Merritt.
Comanche Bride starts at an undisclosed time–later stated as sometime after the Civil War–as a caravan is making its way from Chandlerville, Texas to Mexico on a humanitarian mission. There is a cholera epidemic in Mexico. Seven people are in the caravan: six men and Dr. Zoe Ellen Randolph, the heroine.
They won’t make it to Mexico, however. The caravan is attacked by Comanche Indians, the six men are killed and Zoe is taken hostage.
She is taken to a Comanche village, where two men will fight for her. One of the men is Matt Chandler, the hero of the book (Matt is half-white and half-Comanche). Matt wins the fight, but then he has to marry and make love to Zoe to seal his victory. Matt soon discovers that marrying Zoe has an added benefit; it helps him get revenge against Weber Fielding, a man Matt has a long history of bad blood with and Zoe’s fiance.
Soon after their marriage in the Comanche camp, Matt takes Zoe to Candelaria, Mexico to complete her humanitarian mission there. A near-tragedy occurs when Zoe is bitten by a snake, falls, and hits her head, suffering a concussion. Matt later takes her back to Chandlerville, Texas-named after his family-where she recovers. While there, Matt reconciles past issues with his stepmother, Dora, and grandfather, Uriah. We also learn why Weber wants to marry Zoe; it’s not because he loves her. When Zoe tells Weber she won’t marry him, he doesn’t take it well.
In the end, Zoe kills Weber after his henchman shoots Matt in a violent confrontation. Matt recovers from his wounds, and he and Zoe have their Happily Ever After.
When Comanche Bride was published romance publishers were beginning to veer away from the–to use a Victorian term: ”fresh out of the schoolroom”–heroines and toward different types of female leads. Zoe is one of them. She is 29, a doctor, and very independent. Both she and Matt are developed mature characters.
There isn’t a lot of hot passion or chemistry between Zoe and Matt. Having read several of Ms. Merritt’s books, I can say with some certainty that hot passion and chemistry between leads aren’t strengths of Ms. Merritt’s writing.
Three love scenes involving Zoe and Matt. They are mildly graphic.
Abduction, assault and battery, and multiple killings take place. The violence is not graphic.
Bottom Line On Comanche Bride
There are things to like about Emma Merritt’s Comanche Bride. But there are also enough negatives that bring the book’s final grade down.
SHE’D USE HIM TO ESCAPE
When stunning Dr. Zoe Randolph headed to Mexico to halt a cholera epidemic, she didn’t think twice about traversing Comanche territory… until a band of bloodthirsty savages attacked her caravan. The gorgeous physician was furious that her mission had been interrupted, but nothing compared to the rage she felt on meeting the barbaric warrior who made her his slave. Determined to return to civilization, the ivory-skinned blonde decided to make a woman’s ultimate sacrifice to gain her freedom–and never admit that deep down inside she burned to be loved by the handsome brute!
HE’D TAKE HER IN REVENGEComanche Bride by Emma Merritt
The virile half-breed Matt Chandler couldn’t help but admire the paleface prisoner who resisted her captors. One with such fire and spirit would surely be a lioness upon his sleeping mats. Then the Indian discovered that the wildcat was his most hated enemy’s fiancee, and he had all the more reason to ravish her. Matt planned the worst for Zoe… but when his hard-muscled body met her graceful curves, all thoughts of the past vanished, as he initiated her into love’s passionate secrets and made her his COMANCHE BRIDE.