Tag Archives: heroine orphan

Historical Romance Review: Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield

book review historical romance
Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Pino
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 478
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield

SPOILER ALERT ⚠

The Book

This review is of Autumn Dove by Sylvie F. Sommerfield, a standalone Zebra romance from January 1989.

The Plot

Starting in 1865, on the Kansas/Colorado border, readers meet Zachary Hale Windwalker. Zach, who is half-white and half-Cheyenne, is trying to discover who is running guns to the plains Indians. This, plus, stirring them up to fight the whites who come into the area.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, D.C., Tara Montgomery, 19, has just lost her parents in a carriage accident. With nowhere else to turn, she decides to go west to live with her brother David, a soldier stationed at Fort Lyon.

She signs on to a wagon train, which Zach is leading. He doesn’t want her there, for several reasons, which are quickly revealed.

As the train makes its way west, Tara and Zach become lovers, but also at odds with each other.

The wagon train makes its way to Fort Lyon, where Tara discovers David isn’t there; he’s on assignment from the Army.

We also learn a bit more about Zach; his mother, Karolyn, who was white, was a teacher. She fell in love with Zach’s father, Waiting Wolf. When Karolyn passed, Waiting Wolf married a Cheyenne woman, Singing Grass, Zach’s stepmother, and they had a son, Little Raven.

Little Raven soon gets into trouble sneaking into the fort. He and Zach are arrested and sentenced to hang. They escape as Zach takes Tara hostage.

Readers also meet Tara’s older brother, David, 25. David has issues he’s trying to resolve in his life as well. He’s in love with a Cheyenne woman, Small Fawn. He doesn’t know how his parents–whom he doesn’t know are dead–or Tara will handle this news.

In the end, the gunrunner is caught. David marries Small Fawn. Tara and Zach have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

The best part of Autumn Dove is the second half of the book. It is here that Tara and Zach realize that they love each other and she is able to get him to let go of some of his bitterness regarding his treatment at the hands of white people.

Downside

In order to get to the second half of the book, however, one has to go through the first half, and the first half is…meh.

There is no emotional juice here, at all. There is also no character depth or development. Mrs. Sommerfield never made me care about any of the characters, beyond the fact that they were in the book.

It feels very much like Mrs. Sommerfield fell into the “Readers Are Supposed to Care” trap. In Autumn Dove, Mrs. Sommerfield believes “Readers Are Supposed to Care” because:

  1. Tara lost her parents and has to go to live with her only other relative, David, her brother.
  2. Zach is hurt by being shunned by whites for being half-white, half-Cheyenne.
  3. David is concerned about being shunned and his life because he is in love with Small Fawn.

It is possible I COULD have cared about any or all of those things if Mrs. Sommerfield gave me a reason to do so. She didn’t. The ending of the book is highly disappointing, not to mention boring.

Sex

Multiple love scenes involving Tara and Zach, and one involving Small Fawn and David. None of these love scenes are exciting, interesting, or hot. These love scenes have all the heat of cold water.

Violence

Assault, attempted rape, battery, kidnapping, and “off-screen” killings. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line On Autumn Dove

Mrs. Sommerfield tilled this ground-and in a much better way-in her earlier book, Savage Rapture.

Autumn Dove is a major disappointment.  

Rating Report Card
Plot
2.5
Characters
2.5
Writing
2.5
Chemistry
1
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
4
Overall: 2.3

Synopsis:

HATE COLD AS THE WINTER SNOW
When her parents died without a cent, innocent Tara Montgomery had no choice but to head for Fort Lyon to reunite with her soldier brother. The independent miss never dreamed of the journey’s perils – and the worst was her suntanned, buckskin-clad wagonmaster Zach Windwalker. His disdain of women traveling alone infuriated her; his grisly stories of Western life annoyed her. But Zach’s masterful lips upon her sensitive flesh drove her to distraction. Even as Tara swore to dispise him forever, the passionate pioneer was guiding his hands to her buttons, her chemise…and to the wildly beating heart beneath!

LOVE HOT AS THE SUMMER SUN
Half-breed frontiersman Zach Windwalker didn’t need a tempting morsel like Tara Montgomery in his life – not when he was on the verge of trapping the gunrunners who were supplying the Cheyenne. The virile tracker planned to almost seduce the untouched beauty to scare her back to Washington D.C. But at the moment the strong-willed male should have pushed her away, he pulled Tara even closer. With only the vast plains and distant hills as witness, Zach was as single-minded as the invincible American eagle as he swooped down with unwavering passion upon his unresisting, gentle AUTUMN DOVE.

AUTUMN DOVE by SYLVIE F. SOMMERFIELD
Comanche Love Song

Historical Romance Review: Comanche Love Song by Cheryl Black

book review historical romance
Comanche Love Song by Cheryl Black
Rating: half-star
Published: 1989
Illustrator: Don Case
Imprint or Line: Zebra Heartfire
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Western Romance, Native American Romance
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon


Historical Romance Review: Comanche Love Song by Cheryl Black

The Book

This review is of Comanche Love Song a standalone Zebra Heartfire from June 1989 by Cheryl Black.

The Plot

Part 1 of Comanche Love Song

The book begins in Stonewall County, Texas, in 1855. A family is doing chores around their farm. Only one member of the family, a then-two-year-old girl, will be alive by the end of the day.

Fast forward 17 years. U.S. Army Major Walker Grayson meets up with a group of soldiers, who have a captive with them named Silver Dawn. She is the heroine of the book and is the girl–now an adult–mentioned earlier.

Silver Dawn has been raised by the Comanche since they took her from her family at age 2. She tries various times to escape Army custody but is always brought back.

Meanwhile, she and Walker are becoming attracted to each other, later becoming lovers–and married in Comanche tradition.

Soon after their first intimate encounter, Walker takes Silver Dawn to Fort Nacogdoches, Texas, where things don’t go well for her.

Part 2 of Comanche Love Song

The scene then shifts to Louisiana, where we meet Walker’s family. There is the father Samuel, stepmother Kathren, sister Amanda, brother Seth, and Camelia Rhinehart, Walker’s fiance.

Silver becomes aware of the Grayson family drama and starts a little of her own.

In the end, the Grayson family loses several members but gains others when Silver Dawn and Walker add to the family, and they have their Happily Ever After.

Upside

I made a vow to finish every book I purchased with my own money. That vow remains intact.

Downside

Where to begin? Comanche Love Song is a hot mess. First, Walker captures Silver Dawn, then has sex with her despite having a fiance back in Louisiana!

When Walker takes Silver to Louisiana, the book changes to a 1980’s soap opera with mostly unlikeable characters and storylines that are convoluted and beyond stupid.

There is no character development at all.

There is no romance between Silver Dawn and Walker. Basically, the only time they’re together is when they are having sex. They’re apart from each other for about 75% of the book. And most of that is due to Walker locking her up. Yes, a great way to show you love someone is to imprison them.

Sex

The love scenes between Silver Dawn and Walker are fairly mild, don’t generate any heat, and are not erotic.

Violence

Assault, battery, shooting, and killing all take place during Comanche Love Song. The violence is not graphic.

Bottom Line on Comanche Love Song

Comanche Love Song by Cheryl Black has now passed Eugenia’s Embrace by Cassie Edwards as the worst book I’ve ever read.

At least Eugenia’s Embrace had sex scenes going for it. Ms. Black’s book has absolutely no redeeming qualities whatsoever. I’d give this zero stars if I could.

.5 Star

Rating Report Card
Plot
0.5
Characters
0.5
Writing
1
Chemistry
0.5
Fun Factor
0.5
Cover
4
Overall: 1.2

Synopsis:

RHYTHM OF RAPTURE

Though her skin was milky white, lovely Silver Dawn never thought she was anything less than all Comanche. And when she first set eyes on the despicable Major Walker Grayson, the savage beauty could only hate the man who was out to kill her red-skinned grandfather. Yet somehow his green eyes made her pulse hammer with excitement, his rock hard frame made her yearn for his loving touch. And even as her mind vowed to stab the treacherous paleface, her body swore her total surrender!

DANCE OF DESIRE

If the ambitious Major Grayson could kill the infamous Horse Back, he’d be assured of an important position back East. Then he captured the Indian chief’s “daughter”, the wild, spirited Silver Dawn, and Walker calculated he’d earn more prestige by returning the white squaw to civilization. But as the hot-blooded officer struggled to tame her, primal lust made him forget his career. Now all that mattered was dominating her each day, fulfilling her each night, and forever falling under the spell of her… COMANCHE LOVE SONG

COMANCHE LOVE SONG by CHERYL BLACK
heather cordia byers

Historical Romance Review: Heather by Cordia Byers

Heather by Cordia Byers
Rating: one-star
Published: 1979
Illustrator: James Griffin
Published by: Fawcett
Genres: Historical Romance, Bodice Ripper, Cavalier Era Romance
Pages: 316
Format: Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Heather by Cordia Byers

MILD SPOILERS 😉

The Book – Heather by Cordia Byers

The best thing I can say about Heather by Cordia Byers is that it’s a terrific cure for insomnia.

Why, oh why, did I not listen to the words of wisdom and DNF this lifeless excuse for a bodice ripper? Like the idiot I am, I kept reading on, expecting something interesting to occur.

It turned out things did happen. Another event followed those things. And then another thing happens…

However, none of it has any zing or excitement. It’s all just words on paper.

So Boring

In Heather, events occur while characters are like marionettes being pulled by strings to the next scene. That’s absolute sacrilege for a bodice ripper.

These are the kind of books that are supposed to be so chock-full of craziness that they madly affect the reader. Either by offending or delighting, or titillating them.

I was a little offended, I suppose. Not because there was anything to upset my “delicate sensibilities,” but because this book was so freaking boring.

heather cordia byers
Heather, Cordia Byers, Fawcett, 1979, cover artist unknown

The Plot

Part One: Heather, the Ward

Beautiful Heather Cromwell is brought up as a foundling by a wealthy Marquis. She’s treated as a part servant/part distant relative. Even though it’s not a rough life, it’s not a great one, either.

Heather grows up loving the Marquis’s son, David, although she knows that her love is hopeless.

Enter Sir Nicholas Guyon, the studly and handsome Captain of the king’s guard. He takes one look at Heather and becomes instantly obsessed. Why? Because she’s bee-uu-tee-full, of course.

Did you expect any other reason, like her charm, personality, wit, or even foot-stomping, spicy temper? Egads, no. None of that here. Heather is the blankest slate of a character I’ve read in a long time.

Nevertheless, Heather’s heart is only for David. She despises Nicholas since that’s what the story demands.

Part Two: Heather, the Mistress

After David is assumed dead at sea and the Marquis is arrested for treason, Heather heads to London to live an exciting life in the big city. But Heather’s so dumb; she gets conned and robbed of her money.

Subsequently, she ends up in a whorehouse as Madame’s specialty. Of course, because Heather is so bee-uu-tee-full, she’s not pimped out right away. The Madame has plans to sell her to the highest bidder. Well, guess who that happens to be?

Nicholas has now been promoted to the high rank of British Ambassador to France (that made no sense to me). Heather still hates him, but she realizes his exalted position could benefit her.

So she devises a plan to play along, being Nicholas’ mistress, to save the Marquis. For a virgin who hates a guy so much, Heather sure has a lot of confidence in the magic powers of her cuca.

Part Three: I Don’t Care Anymore

After Nicholas seduces her into his bed, causing passion to stir between Heather’s loins, who should come back from the dead?

It’s Heather’s beloved David, who was held captive by pirates and now has a secret identity as…

Oh, forget it, I don’t care anymore.

Final Analysis of Heather by Cordia Byers

Stuff happens, and Cordia Byers’ Heather ends as these books always do. It’s happily ever after for Heather and Nicholas.

I suppose I should apologize for spoiling this great piece of romantic literature, but I won’t.

This book was so dull. I couldn’t even get excited about writing a review. This just blew big, giant whale chunks.

1 Star

Rating Report Card
Plot
1.5
Characters
1
Writing
1
Chemistry
1
Fun Factor
1
Cover
3.5
Overall: 1.5

Synopsis:

HEATHER… She was a golden-haired beauty who’d never known her parents. Brought up as a foundling with David, the son of a marquis, she learned the manners of a lady. All of which helped her when she was captured one night and sold to a fancy brothel.

Captain Nicholas Guyon, David’s friend, who had long lusted after Heather, rescued her from that notorious palace of pleasure. He planned to make her his mistress. He had not reckoned on falling in love with her. But Heather had no intention of surrendering to the man who once had almost raped her…

A lusty tale of fiery passions and deadly intrigue of men at war and women in love…

HEATHER by CORDIA BYERS
Nelsons Brand palmer

Category Romance Review: Nelson’s Brand by Diana Palmer

category romance
Nelson's Brand by Diana Palmer
Rating: two-stars
Published: 1991
Illustrator: TBD
Imprint or Line: Silhouette Desire #618
Published by: Silhouette
Genres: Category Romance, Contemporary Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 188
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Category Romance Review: Nelson’s Brand by Diana Palmer

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

Nelson’s Brand was my first and, so far, only foray into Diana Palmer‘s little corner of Romancelandia. Palmer has got a bit of a reputation in the genre as an author of ultra-macho, hairy-chested heroes and virginal, too-stupid-to-live heroines.

I read Nelson’s Brand back when in the 1990s when I subscribed to the Silhouette Desire line. They used to run a Man of the Month theme and Nelson’s Brand was that month’s pick (January 1991). I recall never being too impressed with the Desire editors’ choices, and this was one of those books that failed to impress. The Desire staff really dropped the ball by not picking Lass Small’s Four Dollars and Fifty-One Cents over this one.

The Plot

Allison Hathoway is new in town. She’s got a tragic back story where her missionary parents were killed in South America. Her friend, Winnie, treats her with kid gloves as, if she’s so delicate she might break at the slightest touch.

Gene Nelson is Winnie’s fiance’s brother. Gene and his brother, Dwight, run their family ranch together, although lately, Gene hasn’t been tending much to his responsibilities. He’s been drowning his sorrows in drink and women. Although now deceased, the man Gene thought was his father all his life, turned out not to be his biological parent at all.

Allison is inexplicably drawn to Gene, seeing something in him. Maybe it’s his furry chest, cool green eyes, or his ridiculously large…cowboy hat.

The Bad Seed Hero

Gene is supposed to be an independent, “I go my own way” kind of man. Not so much an “alpha” male, but a “lone wolf” or I guess what’s called a “sigma” male in some circles. I recently found out I’ve been erroneously referring to this type as “gamma” which is a whole ‘nother kind of guy. Sigmas are men who are traditionally “masculine” but shun groups and hierarchies.

Whatever he was supposed to be, Gene came off as… I wouldn’t call him whiny, perhaps emo is more accurate. He was an emo cowboy, a sad, pathetic case, always moping about his woes. I suppose one can say he found some solace in Allison’s purity, but it just came off as phony “dwama.”

Every time these two get together someone tries to separate them. It got a little silly, reminding me of the Seinfeld episode where George acts like a bad boy and dates one of Elaine’s employees, and Elaine desperately tries to keep them apart, because George is a “bad seed:”

Final Analysis of Nelson’s Brand

More than anything, Nelson’s Brand was dull. Silhouette Desires are short books, maxing out at 188 to 189 pages. In my eyes, this just went on forever.

I understood Gene was hurting, Allison was hurting, and they found comfort in each other despite everybody trying to keep them apart. Good for them.

Unfortunately for me, I had to vicariously experience their boring romance.

I keep hearing about how crazy-fun Diana Palmer’s books are. To my misfortune, Nelson’s Brand was not one of them.

Oh, well, Palmer has written over 160 romances. There’s bound to be a better book out there.

(COVER POINTS DO NOT COUNT TOWARDS RATING)

Rating Report Card
Plot
2
Characters
2
Writing
3
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
1.5
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.5

Synopsis

Can he get past betrayal?

Allison Hathoway’s life was about healing. And she was good at it. Or had been good at it until the tragedy in South America. Now she couldn’t even fix herself. She didn’t know how to go on, didn’t know what to do, or who to be.

She had that in common with Gene Nelson. After the rancher found out the truth about his father, he’d realized his whole life was a lie. He’d gone a little wild, and saw no reason not to give in to his every desire. And the minute he saw Allison, he wanted her. But underneath their explosive passion, Allison and Gene found comfort in each other’s wounded souls. And a chance to start over.

NELSON’S BRAND BY DIANA PALMER
DEVIL'S DESIRE

Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

historical romance review

Devil's Desire by Laurie McBain
Rating: two-half-stars
Published: 1975
Illustrator: H. Tom Hall
Published by: Avon
Genres: Historical Romance, Regency Era Romance
Pages: 428
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonAbeBooks
Reviewed by: Introvert Reader


Historical Romance Review: Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain

SPOILER FREE REVIEW 😊

The Book

For me, Devil’s Desire was an ok Regency romance written by Laurie McBain. It’s alright, but nothing special. From the writing, you can tell it’s a “first book.”

The back blurb claims Devil’s Desire “Plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate…

How I wish.

evil's desire hall back cover
Devil’s Desire, Back Cover
(I prefer the back illustration to the front)

The Plot

The bland heroine Elysia, is fleeing from bland, evil enemies. Lots of clichés abound, including:

  • The rakish hero, Lord Alex Trevegne (who’s really not that much of a rake)
  • An evil ex-mistress
  • A Cinderella heroine, Lady Elysia Demarice, with emerald-green eyes and red-gold hair, who’s the most beautiful lady in all of England, and pure as the driven snow. (Clichés in a review are appropriate for a book riddled with them!)
  • The heroine’s evil, greedy relatives

Lady Elysia has escaped from the clutches of said greedy relatives who would steal her fortune. Worse, they would marry her off to someone she wants nothing to do with.

For she is a woman of spirit and will not be controlled!

On the run, she meets the handsome Lord Trevegne, who falls in lust with her dazzling beauty. It’s the Devil and the deep blue sea for Elysia.

Marriage to Lord Trevigne would offer protection, but it will come at a price for Elysia’s independence.

“I would not regret putting a hole in your arrogant chest, only it would be deflected when it hit that piece of rock you call a heart.

My Opinion

I don’t know how Laurie McBain ever got categorized as a bodice-ripper author because she’s not. As she was one of the original Avon ladies from the 1970s, that label stuck to her.

Yes, some of her books were epic in scope, spanning years and/or continents, although not here in Devil’s Desire). However, in her books, there was never forced seduction by the hero, her heroines were virginal and didn’t bed-hop, and bodices were rarely–if ever–ripped.

Regardless, she deserves recognition as one of the first “old-school” romance pioneers, as her books influenced many authors and thrilled millions of readers.

Legend has it McBain co-wrote her novels with her father. It sounds kind of weird to be writing romance novels with your dad, but hey, that’s just me. After he passed away, she stopped publishing books.

Final Analysis of Devil’s Desire

Devil’s Desire by Laurie McBain was not a memorable read. Not bad, but so-so.

I much preferred her second novel, Moonstruck Madness, which is more well-known. It was more action-packed, with a heroine who’s quite colorful and courageous and a truly rakish hero.

2.75 Stars

Rating Report Card
Plot
2.5
Characters
2
Writing
3
Chemistry
3
Fun Factor
2
Cover
3.5
Overall: 2.7

Synopsis

[A] rousing, unforgettable saga that sweeps across the valleys and peaks of human destiny, the stormy alliance of beautiful young and plumbs the depths of raw human emotion — lust, jealousy, and hate… Out of the turbulence of their clashing wills comes one of the greatest love stories ever written, as their twin passions mingle at last, in a rippling tide of liquid fire!” 

DEVIL’s DESIRE by LAURIE McBAIN