Savage Innocence by Cassie Edwards features one her strongest heroines. Unfortunately, she’s paired with an unlikeable hero.
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American Romance, Western Romance
Buy on: Amazon, AbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon
TOTAL SPOILER ALERT ⚠
This review is of Savage Innocence, book #2 in the “Chippewa” series by Cassie Edwards.
The book begins in Duluth, Minnesota, in 1879. It is here that Danette Thomas, 18, the heroine, lives with her uncle, Dwight Thomas, a state senator and owner of a lumber mill. Danette’s parents were killed in a fire when she was 10; she’s lived with her uncle since.
One day, Danette is engaged in her favorite hobby, painting, when a storm comes up, spooking the horse and buggy she’s driving. Before the buggy can go into Lake Superior, Danette is saved by Gray Wolf, 20, the hero who is a member of the St. Croix tribe of Chippewa Indians.
Gray Wolf is the son of Lorinda Odell, a white woman, and Chief Yellow Feather. They were the main characters of the first book in the series, Savage Obsession. Danette and Gray Wolf fall into “instaluv” and become lovers.
The Bad Guys
However, as always, their happiness is threatened by multiple entities. In Savage Innocence, these entities are:
Dwight Thomas: In addition to being a raging bigot, especially against Indians, Dwight is also concerned that Danette’s relationship will cost him both professionally and politically.
Danette later learns that Dwight’s reasons for wanting to keep her close go far beyond familial. Dwight tells Danette that he killed Gray Wolf (not true). Dwight later dies in a fire that consumes most of Duluth, leaving Danette, his only living relative, heiress to his money and the lumber business.
Longbow: Another Chippewa brave from the same band as Yellow Feather and Gray Wolf, Longbow’s parents, Foolish Heart and Flying Squirrel, tried to destroy Lorinda and Yellow Feather.
Now, Longbow is trying to do the same to Gray Wolf and Danette. Longbow killed Gray Wolf’s lover, Dancing Cloud, after raping her. He later commits suicide.
Raoul: A Frenchman who works with Gray Wolf as a logger, Raoul tries three times to rape Danette. He doesn’t succeed. Gray Wolf kills him after the third attempt.
After she and Gray Wolf become lovers, Danette discovers she is pregnant. She tragically miscarries when she has an accident in the home she shared with Dwight. Later, Longbow kidnaps Danette after killing Lorinda’s sister, Amanda (he previously killed her lover, Gray Wolf’s friend, Red Fox).
Danette is rescued by Gray Wolf. Soon after, Danette discovers she is pregnant again, and later gives birth to a daughter, Hope, whom Gray Wolf shuns for not looking Indian and being female. This drives a major wedge between Danette and Gray Wolf, so Danette leaves him for a while to return to Duluth.
Tragedy soon follows. Raoul tries a second time to rape Danette. He is stopped, this time by her man-of-business, Charles Klein.
Sadly, Hope dies when she falls down a flight of stairs. While mourning her, Gray Wolf finally acknowledges that he shunned his daughter and his reasons why. Danette forgives him and returns to the Chippewa village.
Months go by, and Danette is pregnant again!
She endures yet ANOTHER rape attempt by Raoul, who thankfully is killed by Gray Wolf. Danette gives birth to twin sons, making Gray Wolf happy.
She and Gray Wolf have their Happily Ever After.
Danette is one of Mrs. Edwards’ strongest female characters. She has to endure:
- The loss of her parents.
- An evil uncle.
- Five rape attempts.
- Assault and battery.
- A miscarriage.
- Losing a daughter.
- Gray Wolf (more on that later).
And still, she perseveres and survives. In many ways, Danette is more a Rosanne Bittner heroine than a Cassie Edwards one!
The biggest downside for me is Gray Wolf. His father, Yellow Feather, always “muttered thickly” throughout his book. Here, Gray Wolf “growls” when he’s not having sex with Danette—which is often!
Gray Wolf is a self-centered, egotistical, insensitive bastard for 99% of the book. He basically wants Danette to completely renounce her white life and live with him. He gets upset most of the time when she refuses to do so.
Gray Wolf views Danette as a possession, not a partner.
I really didn’t like how he shunned Hope upon discovering that she looked white and was female. I have never understood why having sons is so important to some males, and I don’t understand it here.
There is too much of the Popeye-Olive Oyl syndrome in Savage Innocence. Every time Danette gets into trouble—which is often—she has to rely on Gray Wolf to save her. She’s never able to get out of any difficulty without the help of a male, which is also very much like a Rosanne Bittner heroine.
Also, there are way too many exclamation points!
Seemingly after every paragraph!
It’s highly annoying!
As I’ve stated before, one area I will never criticize Mrs. Edwards for is her love scenes. There are many of them in Savage Innocence, and they’re good. Not erotica level, but they’re darn good for a mainstream romance novel!
Heat Level: Savage and Sensual
Most of the violence is mentioned above. It is not graphic.
Bottom Line on Savage Innocence
Savage Innocence is one of Cassie Edwards’ better books, but the really unlikeable hero brings it down a notch.
|Rating Report Card|
Life in small-town Minnesota was too confining for an independent young woman who yearns for adventure — so Danette leaves home to seek a new life along the rugged frontier. She never expects to find herself wrapped in the arms of Gray Wolf, the magnificent Chippewa warrior who rules the land with battle-hardened courage … and unexpected compassion …
Ever since he saved Danette’s life, Gray Wolf knew that the alluringly free-spirited woman was meant to be his, body and soul. Just as his own mother, Lorinda, had forsaken her heritage to live among his father’s people, this woman will now follow him. But danger and treachery await Danette in Gray Wolf’s world, where she’ll be caught between one man’s passions and another’s ambitions … between betrayal and a love strong enough to liberate her heart and fulfill all her dreams …Savage Innocence by Cassie Edwards