SPOILER ALERT ⚠
This review is of Destiny’s Splendor published in December 1988. This Zebra romance is book #2 in an unofficial Native American “series” by Kathleen Drymon. The series, in order, consists of:
- Savage Dawn – September 1984
- Destiny’s Splendor – December 1988
- Velvet Savage – September 1989
- Gentle Savage – February 1990
- Savage Heaven – February 1995
Destiny’s Splendor starts with two births. In a Blackfoot Indian village, chief Golden Eagle and his wife Singing Moon welcome a son, Star Hawk. In New Orleans, on a plantation, Dennis Coltin and his wife Hope welcome a daughter, Jessica Star. None are aware of what fate and destiny have in store for them.
Fast forward many years. Jessica, now 19, is in despair. Dennis and Hope were killed in a carriage accident–which really wasn’t one–a year ago, and Jessica has to deal with Dennis’ cousin, Edmond DeVaugn’s, guardianship. This will end when Jessica turns 21 or marries.
Edmond has been parading a group of lecherous men in front of her to force her to marry. Edmond wants Jessica to marry a man he can control, along with the Coltin fortune.
One day, Jessica meets Star Hawk, now 22. Star Hawk shows kindness and empathy to her, something she needs in her life.
However, in a turn of events, Star Hawk kidnaps Jessica and takes her to his village. They eventually marry and consummate their marriage.
Not everyone is happy about Jessica and Star Hawk’s marriage. Golden Eagle tries to talk Star Hawk out of marriage to her; this fails. Later, a Blackfoot woman, Spring Lilly, tries to kill Jessica; Star Hawk stops her. For a long while, Jessica–now named Silver Star–and Star Hawk are happy.
That happiness is soon threatened, however, as Jessica is kidnapped by two trappers and returned to New Orleans and Edmond’s evil clutches. He takes her to London to marry her off to a lecherous Earl. Star Hawk finds the trappers and makes them sorry for their actions. He then sets sail for England to find Jessica, who is pregnant.
Star Hawk stops Jessica’s planned marriage, kills DeVaughn, and returns to America with Jessica, just in time for her to deliver twins, a boy and a girl. Jessica and Star Hawk have their Happily Ever After. And the story will continue.
It is very rare to see two people so deeply in love as Jessica and Star Hawk are. From the moment they meet to their marriage to their separation, reunion, and birth of their children, Ms. Drymon lets their love for each other shine through. Jessica and Star Hawk are both, for the most part, likable characters.
Although Ms. Drymon tries very hard to skip past this, the fact is that Destiny’s Splendor is a Stockholm Syndrome romance. Star Hawk kidnapped Jessica. No matter the fact that they love each other, this is still a Stockholm Syndrome romance; which is a trope I loathe.
While I liked Jessica, she wasn’t my favorite type of heroine. She has no skills beyond knowing about plants for medicinal purposes. Having said that, though, two points need to be made:
Although Ms. Drymon doesn’t specify the time setting of Destiny’s Splendor, there are references to “the colonies”, therefore, an inference can be made that the book is set during or before 1776. Women clearly didn’t have as many life choices as they do today.
Jessica comes from a well-to-do family. Women from wealthy families weren’t supposed to have skills or intelligence that were made public. Her role was to look beautiful and become a wife and mother.
Mini Bottom Line
Although Jessica isn’t my favorite type of romance heroine, there are mitigating factors that I must acknowledge.
There isn’t any real depth or character development here, and though she falls deeply in love with him, I feel that most of Jessica’s love was out of gratitude to Star Hawk for showing her kindness, something she didn’t get from most males after her father died.
Most of the love scenes are very mild and filled with extremely purple prose.
Assault, battery, slashings, and one killing take place here. The violence is not graphic.
Bottom Line On Destiny’s Splendor
Kathleen Drymon’s Destiny’s Splendor probably isn’t as good a book as I’m making it sound. It also probably isn’t as bad a book as I’m making it sound.
My final grade would be just under 3.5 stars
NO WAY OUT
Jessica Star Colton had nowhere to turn. At nineteen, she had two years before being free of the cruel guardian who intended to marry her off to the highest bidder and keep her fortune for himself. Jessica thought she would never escape this loveless fate… until the day she met Star Hawk in the forest. As the magnificent Indian warrior appeared from behind the dense trees, his dark eyes seemed to penetrate her very being, and his bronzed arms reached out to offer her comfort. There was something about him that made Jessica yearn to taste his kiss – it was as though she were meant for his embrace…
ONLY ONE CHOICE
Star Hawk knew Jessica was the woman of his dreams. They were fated for union from birth and he was not about to let the white beauty slip from his grasp. From the first moment he spotted her from afar, he knew of the heaven he would find in her caress. Her silver-blue eyes and silky red hair haunted him, obsessed him. Star Hawk wanted to take Jessica and claim her as his woman, even if that meant capturing her against her will. He knew that once their lips met in a searing kiss, all of their sleeping passions would awaken, and together they would join in Destiny’s Splendor.DESTINY’S SPLENDOR by KATHLEEN DRYMON