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ride the free wind

Historical Romance Review: Ride the Free Wind by Rosanne Bittner

book review historical romance
Ride the Free Wind by F. Rosanne Bittner
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1984
Illustrator: Robert Sabin
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Savage Destiny #2
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Historical Romance, Native American Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 445
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: AmazonThriftBooks
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Ride the Free Wind by Rosanne Bittner

The Book

This review is of Ride the Free Wind book #2 in the “Savage Destiny” series by Rosanne Bittner.

The Plot

Ride the Free Wind begins shortly after the first book in the saga, Sweet Prairie Passion, ended. Abigail “Abbie” Trent Monroe and her husband, “Cheyenne” Zeke Monroe, are traveling to find Zeke’s Cheyenne mother and three Cheyenne half-brothers.

Zeke also has three white half-brothers, one of whom is Danny Monroe. Danny and one of Zeke’s Indian brothers, Swift Arrow, will play pivotal roles as the series continues.

Three evil characters who will adversely affect Zeke, Abbie, their family, and the Cheyenne are introduced. They are:

  • Dancing Moon: An Arapaho Indian woman and Zeke’s former lover, Dancing Moon becomes intensely jealous when Zeke brings Abbie into the Cheyenne camp. This emotion leads to a series of attacks against both Zeke and Abbie. Zeke takes revenge on Dancing Moon but does not kill her, a decision he will come to rue as the series continues…
  • Winston Garvey: A U.S. Senator who lusts after money and power, Garvey aspires to become a war profiteer when the U.S. and Mexico go to war, among other plans.
  • Jonathan Mack: Garvey’s right-hand man. Mack hires Zeke to act as a scout for a dangerous expedition. Zeke doesn’t know Mack has stashed contraband in the wagons so HE can profit from the Mexican-American War.

As the story unfolds, Zeke and Danny discover each other’s existence.

Zeke and Abbie become parents of two children–a son, Little Rock, and a daughter, Blue Sky. The family, the Cheyenne, and the rest of the Native American tribes deal with sadness and anger as their ways of life are forever altered by the encroachment of white society.

Ride the Free Wind


As usual, Ms. Bittner’s writing is exquisite. I never feel as if I’m reading a book she writes, but rather that I am watching the characters in front of me. I feel every one of their emotions, especially Zeke and Abbie’s. I feel their happiness, and I feel their pain. That is something only the truly great authors can engender in me.

I also like that Ms. Bittner writes Zeke as a totally human character. Unlike Gray Eagle, the “hero” of Janelle Taylor’s “Ecstasy/Gray Eagle” series and often written as omnipotent, Ms. Bittner doesn’t write Zeke that way.

During the course of the “Savage Destiny” series, Zeke is shot and injured and allowed to be human. This is great to see and makes Zeke an authentic character rather than a caricature.


In addition to what I wrote in my review of Sweet Prairie Passion, I can add another criticism of Ms. Bittner. At times, the “Savage Destiny” series is formulaic. The formula goes like this: Zeke and Abbie are happy. Zeke and Abbie are separated. Abbie and/or Zeke is attacked. Zeke finds the attackers and inflicts maximum pain on the malefactors before–usually–killing them. Lather, rinse, repeat. This is the same for Ride the Free Wind.


Ms. Bittner’s love scenes are very salty. This is not a compliment. Salt, to me, is a very basic spice. That also describes Ms. Bittner’s love scenes. Basic, at best.


Ms. Bittner’s scenes here, however, are far from basic. As usual, there are scenes of assault, rape, and various killings. When Zeke does it, it’s a little more graphic and creative.

ride the free wind

Bottom Line on Ride the Free Wind

I’m much more willing to forgive Ms. Bittner for the somewhat formulaic nature of some of her scenes in Ride the Free Wind due to how exceptional she is in other areas. Ms. Bittner’s books will not be everyone’s cup of tea, but those who like Native American romances will find lots to love in Rosanne Bittner’s books.

5 Stars

Rating Report Card
Fun Factor
Overall: 4.6


Abandoning everything she had ever known, Abigail Trent left her family and chose her fate–to ride with Zeke Monroe, half-Cheyenne scout, into the unexplored west. Together they faced peril, until Zeke found his mother’s people and became Lone Eagle, turning his back on the white man’s world. To stay with him, Abigail must become Cheyenne too–even if it means death and warfare.

Ride the Free Wind by Rosanne Bittner



Historical Romance Review: Sweet Prairie Passion by Rosanne Bittner

sweet prairie passion rosanne bittner
Sweet Prairie Passion by Rosanne Bittner
Rating: five-stars
Published: 1983
Illustrator: Robert Sabin
Imprint or Line: Zebra Historical Romance
Book Series: Savage Destiny #1
Published by: Kensington
Genres: Bodice Ripper, Historical Romance, Western Romance
Pages: 463
Format: eBook, Paperback
Buy on: Amazon
Reviewed by: Blue Falcon

Historical Romance Review: Sweet Prairie Passion by Rosanne Bittner

The Book

This review is of Sweet Prairie Passion, book #1 in the “Savage Destiny” series by Rosanne Bittner.

The Story

In 1845, a wagon train is headed from Tennessee west to Oregon. Among those on the train is Jason Trent, a widower, and his three children: daughters LeeAnn, 17, Abigail (Abbie), 15, the heroine of the book and the series, and son Jeremy, 7.

The Trent family is leaving Tennessee because the memories of Jason’s late wife are too strong. Later, they meet up with two men who are hired to scout and lead the train, one of whom is “Cheyenne” Zeke Monroe, 25, the hero of the book and the series.

The fact that Zeke is half-white and half-Cheyenne doesn’t sit well with everyone on the train, and Zeke faces bigotry from some of the train’s denizens, including some with less than savory reputations.

As the book continues, Abigail and Zeke fall in love, but their love is threatened by his past, bigotry, hatred, intolerance, scandal, and tragedy. However, even knowing that the Cheyenne Indians–and the Indian people in general–would be facing tremendous hardship, sorrow, and tragedy, Zeke and Abbie fall in love and vow to be together.


I have said this many times: in order for me to truly love a book, television show, or movie, I have to truly care about the characters and feel what they feel. Ms. Bittner makes me feel that as a reader. I felt every emotion of every character, good and bad, in Sweet Prairie Passion.

Zeke and Abbie make up one of the strongest hero and heroine combinations I have ever read. I never felt as though I was reading a book. I felt as though I was watching Zeke and Abbie’s lives playing out in front of me, and that is something that only the truly great authors can make me feel. That’s Sweet Prairie Passion.


As much as I love Ms. Bittner’s writing style, there are two parts of her writing-which happens in every book I’ve read by her–that really annoy me:

#1. Violence Against Women

In every one of Ms. Bittner’s books, including Sweet Prairie Passion, the heroine–and sometimes the female supporting characters–are subjected to physical and sexual abuse. In Sweet Prairie Passion, for example, Abbie is beaten and nearly raped twice. The violence really doesn’t advance the story.

#2. Dichotomy

While Ms. Bittner’s heroines are very strong emotionally, they aren’t as strong in other areas. Once again, in every book, Ms. Bittner places her heroines in some form of peril, which leads to the hero having to rescue them. It reminds me too much of the old “Popeye” cartoons where Olive Oyl is constantly needing Popeye to save her.


Ms. Bittner’s love scenes are descriptive enough to let a reader know what is going on, but not graphic enough to be exciting.


In addition to the violence mentioned above, there are multiple scenes of assault and killing. Most of the violence is not graphic in this book; Ms. Bittner’s later books in the series are more graphically violent.

Bottom Line on Sweet Prairie Passion

If one wants to read books to make themselves forget about what’s going on in the world, Ms. Bittner is not your author. However, if you love books that will stir your emotions-good and bad-and leave you feeling as if you’ve been on a roller coaster, books like Ms. Bittner’s Sweet Prairie Passion will be your jam.

5 Stars


Where the mountains reared up to kiss the sky, where the land stretched out to a vast, distant sea — that’s where Abigail Trent was heading. But the moment the spirited lovely girl set eyes on the handsome Cheyenne brave, she instantly knew that no life was worth living if it wasn’t by the side of the Indian scout.

Together they fought nature’s violence on the harsh, unmapped plains; together explored their passion on the stark, hostile frontier. And as they journeyed westward through America’s endless forests and fertile acres, their desire deepened into love. A forbidden dream blossomed into a courageous vision, and they set out to forge a destiny of their own!


Authors We Have a Love/Hate Relationship With #1

(Here, in this first of a new series where we discuss authors we have a love/hate relationship with, Blue Falcon addresses his thoughts about historical romance author Rosanne Bittner.)

Rosanne Bittner

The Outlaw Hearts, Rosanne Bittner, Bantam, 1993, H. Tom Hall cover artist

Many readers have authors they love to read. Some have authors whose work they hate. Still others, however, have authors whose work they love but may also have issues with. One such author for me is Rosanne Bittner.

Throughout her lengthy career (Mrs. Bittner’s book was published in 1983, and she is still active and prolific today), Mrs. Bittner has published 68 books. Among those are the series “Savage Destiny” (7 books), “Outlaw Hearts” (6 books), “High Lonesome” (3 books), and the “Mystic Indian,” “American West,” “Bride,” and “Blue Hawk” trilogies.

Multiple publishers have printed her works, such as Zebra/Kensington, Sourcebooks, and Warner Books. The great majority of her works are set in the American West, circa 19th century, and many feature fully or half-Native American protagonists.

What I Love About Her Work:

I write this frequently when I write reviews: when I read a book, I want to feel like I am not reading words on a page or screen. I want to feel like these characters are real people, and I observe their lives. In my decades of reading, very few, if any, authors do that. Mrs. Bittner is one of them.

For me, reading one of Mrs. Bittner’s is like being on the world’s extreme roller coaster. I feel her characters’ pain and every emotion in between. An example of one of her great works is Sweet Prairie Passion, which I’ve reviewed previously.

Sweet Prairie Passion, Rosanne Bittner, Zebra, 1983, cover artist TBD

Where I Have Issues with Her Work:

While I love Mrs. Bittner’s work, here are two issues that come up constantly in her books that are sources of irritation. 

Issue #1: Her Books Are Parochial and Patriarchal 

Mrs. Bittner’s heroines are incredibly strong emotionally; they have to endure all they do (more on that later). Although her heroines are strong emotionally, they aren’t in other ways. Mrs. Bittner’s heroines are emotionally, financially, mentally, and physically dependent on the heroes or supporting male characters.

I have yet to read a book by Mrs. Bittner where the heroine has a job (in the interest of fairness, employment possibilities for women were significantly less than they are today), nor are they financially independent.

In two of her books, Arizona Bride and Sweet Mountain Magic, the heroine is an heiress, but the money wasn’t through her efforts, but those of her male relatives. As a result, the heroine is almost entirely emotionally and financially dependent on the hero or other men, which dovetails into issue #2.

Sweet Mountain Magic, Rosanne Bittner, Zebra, 1990, cover artist John Ennis

Issue #2: Extreme Misogyny

In EVERY book I’ve read, I’ve Mrs. Bittner, the heroine-and frequently other female characters-is subjected to emotional, mental, physical, and sexual abuse. While I understand that violence against women occurs every day around the world, it feels to me that the only purpose of the violence in her books is to give the hero carte blanche to kill someone–or many someones–sometimes in graphic ways.

I don’t also have a problem with this–I very much want villains in books to suffer as much, if not more, pain than they’re putting upon their victims–but the level of violence against women in Mrs. Bittner’s feels heavily gratuitous. 

Bottom Line:

I am a huge fan of Mrs. Bittner’s. She is in my top 10 all-time favorite authors, but I do have issues with parts of her work.