Rochelle Wayne, the author of Ecstasy’s Dawn, which we review here, is known for her emotional writing style and well-developed supporting characters.
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, Sweet Savage Flame earns a small percentage from qualifying purchases.Ecstasy’s Dawn by Rochelle Wayne
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Bodice Ripper Lite, Historical Romance, Western Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
Ecstasy’s Dawn is written in four parts. I will summarize each part separately.
The book begins in Missouri, where a wagon train plans to travel from Missouri to California. Among those on the train are the O’Brian family: father Tom, mother Nadine, and their two daughters, Deborah and Rachel, the book’s heroine.
Leading the train is Ashley Jonathan Reynolds III, hereafter known as John Reynolds.
When Rachel first meets John, she is immediately attracted to him. There are, however, many obstacles in the path to their happiness together.
- politics (Rachel comes from an aristocratic Southern family from Mississippi; John fought for the Union in the Civil War),
- an age disparity (John is 40 when the book begins; Rachel is 16);
- and other issues which are revealed later on.
The train makes it to California, but not everyone on the train does; a cholera epidemic kills several people. Among the dead are Tom and Nadine O’Brian. Concerned about the girls’ future, John—who has immense wealth—sets them up with a dress shop business in San Francisco. But neither Deborah nor Rachel is truly happy.
Josh Kendall, another traveler on the train, then offers Deborah marriage. He served under John in the Union army and does so again now that John has re-enlisted.
The O’Brian sisters sell their shop and head to Fort Craig in Arizona for Deborah’s marriage and to allow Rachel to see John as well.
The O’Brian sisters arrive at Fort Craig. Rachel and John become lovers, and Deborah marries Josh. Neither sister, however, is completely happy, as Deborah’s marriage is strained, and John insists he and Rachel have no future together.
After Josh is injured in a shooting, he is discharged from the Army, and John sends him and the sisters to his ranch in Texas. While in Texas, Rachel meets and marries one of John’s neighbors, William Granger.
Their marriage, like Deborah’s, is not a happy one. Rachel gives birth to a son (whose paternity is in question) and is later kidnapped by notorious outlaw Klu Bronson.
Klu takes Rachel to a bandit’s hideout in Mexico, and they become lovers. Rachel does so not out of desire but out of a sense of self-preservation. She also learns more about John’s past.
Klu eventually tries to return Rachel to William, but tragedy ensues. When Rachel does reunite with William, even more tragic events happen.
Rachel believes she’ll never see John again, but they reunite and have their Happily Ever After.
Ms. Wayne is an emotional author, and Ecstasy’s Dawn is a prime example of this style. Rachel and John are intense, emotional characters.
Few authors I read pay as much attention to their supporting characters as Ms. Wayne does.
While I found Rachel and John to be strong characters, I’m not sure I found them likable or interesting.
Ms. Wayne writes the name “John Reynolds” at least 100 times in the book, which is entirely unnecessary. He’s the only character named “John” in the book. Why repeat his name constantly?
Ms. Wayne usually writes somewhat hot love scenes. Ecstasy’s Dawn, however, doesn’t contain that many. It’s pretty tame by her later standards.
The love scenes are on the page, and they’re very warm but aren’t sizzling.
Ecstasy’s Dawn contains the following acts of violence: multiple scenes of assault and battery; attempted rape; a hanging; shootings; and killings.
Most of the violence is not graphic.
Bottom Line on Ecstasy’s Dawn
Ecstasy’s Dawn by Rochelle Wayne is not a bad book. It’s just not as good as the books Ms. Wayne would later write.
|Rating Report Card|
“I’ll always love you!”
cried the fiery redhead, Rachel O’Brian, as she kissed John Reynolds goodbye. With the protectiveness of his arms, the power of his caresses and the excitement of his flaming touch, he had taken her to the soaring heights of desire. He had made her into a woman. how could he leave her after she had given her body and pledged her love? Somehow she’d find a way to possess him — someday she’d win his heart…
“I’ll always want you.”ECSTASY’S DAWN BY ROCHELLE WAYNE
John whispered as Rachel closed the door. She was the most beautiful, most tantalizing, the most provocative little spitfire he had ever met. Her emerald-green eyes promised everlasting rapture, her soft silken flesh drove him wild. But she was so young and innocent — and that could only mean one thing: trouble! So he’d take what he wanted and bid her farewell. Only once he filled her with his passion—he awakened to ECSTASY’S DAWN.