Pub Date: 1987
Illustrator: Don Case
Book Series: Savage Secrets #1
Published by: Charter, Dorchester
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American Romance, Western Romance
More at: Goodreads
Purchase Book: Buy on Amazon
Love’s CaptiveSAVAGE SURRENDER
Strong-willed and beautiful, Brenda had escaped the brutal muderers of her pioneer family. Her anguish and fury were then challenged by the savage wilderness, where her only hope for survival lay in the forceful bronzed arms of an Ojibwa warrior. Striped Eagle was the kind of man she had been raised to fear – the kind of man whose dark, smoldering gaze unleashed her heart’s forbidden temptations.
She was his – body and soul. The burning touch of his lean, muscled torso against her tender flesh aroused the sweetest rapture of desires unknown. The probing heat of his kiss blazed a trail of unexplored ecstasy. And his loving embrace awakened a hunger for more. While defying her future and daring to avenge her family’s enemies, Brenda would share with Striped Eagle a love that triumphed in the flames of eternal desire and…
Reviewed by Blue Falcon
MILD SPOILERS 😉
The Book and Characters
This review is of Savage Surrender, book #1 in the “Savage Secrets” series by Cassie Edwards. (Reviewer notes: The original version was published by Ace in August 1987. The book was later republished by Jove (May 1991) and Leisure (May 1996). The “Savage Secrets” series is NOT to be confused with the “Savage” series which Mrs. Edwards also wrote.).
Heroine: Brenda Denise Pfleugger, 17, Red hair, blue eyes. Pioneer’s daughter.
Hero: Striped Eagle, 25. Black hair, brown eyes. Future chief of the White Bear band of Ojibwa Indians.
The book begins in Minnesota, circa 1840, at the home of the Pfleugger family, consisting of father Harrison, mother Carole, and their two children, daughter Brenda Denise, 17, and the heroine of the book, and son Tommie, 5. Sadly, this will be the last night the Pfleugger’s spend together. Soldiers, led by the villainous Major Joseph Partain attack their home.
Only Brenda survives the attack. She escapes to the woods. Striped Eagle, the hero of the book, and an Ojibwa Indian finds her and saves her life. He takes her to his village. There, they become lovers.
Brenda gets into constant battles, pulled in different directions. On the one side: her love for Striped Eagle. On another side: her desire for revenge. And on yet another side: Striped Eagle’s sister, Morning Flower, and her hatred of Brenda.
In the end, Brenda and Striped Eagle marry. Major Partain is killed. Morning Flower grows to accept Brenda as Striped Eagle’s wife, and they have their Happily Ever After.
Mrs. Edwards is an excellent atmospheric writer, meaning she describes scenes in a way that allows me, as a reader, to feel like I am there as an observer as opposed to simply reading words on a page or screen. One other highly underrated and appreciated part of Mrs. Edwards’ work is the research she has done into her Tribe of the Book language and customs; there are many books about Native Americans that don’t do so the way Mrs. Edwards’ books do.
Let’s start with the characters. Although Brenda checks off some boxes for romance novel heroines: she’s beautiful and has a great body, she is also young–she’s 17–and impetuous. These qualities lead her into trouble multiple times, which Striped Eagle has to rescue her from (she extricates herself in one instance). It’s not fair to call Brenda a Simpering Sara, but rather a Perilous Penelope.
At the beginning of the book, Striped Eagle is a bit of a bastard. Almost immediately upon meeting Brenda–and knowing she just witnessed her family’s murders–he’s pressing her to have sex with him, which is at best insensitive and at worst incredibly sleazy. He only becomes more sensitive and caring when his father dies, making him chief of his band of Ojibwa. There is no character development or depth, and the supporting characters only exist as foils for Brenda and Striped Eagle, neither of whom are strong enough to truly lead a book.
Mrs. Edwards usually writes great love scenes. Her love scenes are quite muted here in Savage Surrender.
Assault, attempted rape, battery, knifing, shootings, and killings take place in the book. The violence is not graphic.
Bottom Line of Savage Surrender
Savage Surrender is not a great start to Mrs. Edwards’ “Savage Secrets” series.
Tropes: Historical romance. Native American hero.
Location: Minnesota, 1840.