|Vivian Vaughan: Catch a Wild Heart|
(Paperback), ISBN 0-8217-6525-6
But turn that sturdy formula on its head, make your heroine half-Native American, and the formula no longer applies. Whether by virtue of nature or nurture, women view family obligations differently than men. In addition, a woman's role in traditional societies placed her at greater emotional and physical risk when circumstance forced her to play the outcast.
Catch a Wild Heart hinges on how two very different women respond to the role of outcast. Emily Applebee, a full-blooded Apache raised by loving, white, adoptive parents, feels more at home at Fort Davis than among her parents' people. An unreciprocated crush causes her to flee to the Apacheria, but her loyalty belongs to the fort and its inhabitants.
Emily's choice of her adoptive home over her heritage leads to grave consequences for herself and her cousin Keturah Tremayne. Ket, daughter of an Apache mother and a white man raised by Apaches (the hero of Vaughan's earlier Chance of a Lifetime), worships her Apache heritage with the dogmatic fervor of a new convert. But despite her diligence and passion, Ket never quite measures up -- to herself or her Apache relatives.
Ket refuses to seek the acceptance of her father and his second family. She equates the white world with betrayal and abandonment, love with death, until she accidentally rescues the son of her father's worst enemy. Ironically enough, Blake Carmichael must face his own hard questions about family honor and personal identity.
But Keturah fascinates Blake enough to make him risk everything he thought he held dear. Blake pursues Keturah with the same dogged persistence she might use to hunt a fox, and he won't give up the quest until he wakes his New World Sleeping Beauty from her poisoned slumber.
Vaughan charts the passage between girl and woman with an authority and delicacy few Western romance writers can match. Keturah's heart and mind blossom like a rose unfurling one petal at a time. Her growth over the course of the novel is simply breathtaking. And in Blake Carmichael, Vaughan creates a good guy hero whose patience and understanding perfectly complements the woman Keturah might become -- if her fears don't destroy her first.
West Texas history and legends ground Catch a Wild Heart firmly in time and place. As always, Vaughan brings a tangible reality to each scene. You feel the bite of blowing mountain snows and the stomach-lurching quality of a wild, downhill ride. Readers looking for great western romance will find almost everything they could desire in Catch a Wild Heart -- except for a way to continue the story of the Tremaynes into another book.
Jean Marie Ward
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