What I loved:
-The attention to detail and accuracy to the Western trail made the story so vivid and engaging. Brava Anderson!
-Hunter's endearing relationship with little Amy and his nieces Blackbird and Pony girl was adorable. I loved how such a rugged brawny Warrior like Hunter was so gentle, patient, protective and boyishly playful with these kids. Adorable, enchanting and stinking cute!
-The continuous use of Comanche language and Western slang was so realistic and wonderfully handled. The Comanche dialogue in particular was great and came off very real. The voice inflections, pronunciation of things and mannerisms just leaped off the page. The attention to detail Anderson paid as far as the Comanche culture and particular traditions was brilliant. I could picture their conversations, traditional Indian garments, lodges, friendly banter, war garb vividly. I especially loved how Hunter was depicted, the epitome of an alpha male in physical presence and spirit. The sights, sounds, smells of the Indian campsite were beautifully described down to every pebble and wrinkle. I loved it!
-Loved when this FINALLY happened
-The hero and heroine overcoming their prejudices and intolerance of each others race and accepting each other. Loretta in particular who started out as a haughty intolerant little thing learned a few things which was a Yureka! moment. She finally came to understand that love and acceptance should overcome hate and vengeance. I really liked how she finally had the courage to stand up for what's right and defend Hunter's people. This quote summed it up beautifully:
What I didn't love:
"She realized now that there no good or bad, no right or wrong, just people fighting for their lives. Wonderful people, who lived and loved and laughed."
-The story was severely
weighted down by the continuous meandering never-ending back and forth between the hero and heroine coming together than drifting apart. It just made for a very long winded story that dragged out too long to come to an ending. It was understandable in the first half, but in the second half having Loretta constantly leaving the hero and flip flopping over reasons they can't be together got very redundant and contrived. First it was because she didn't love him, then it was because they were from two different worlds, then it was because she wanted to be his only true wife, then it was because she feared marital intimacy with a man, then it was because she couldn't live in the same camp as her parents murderers then it was because Hunter wanted her safe away from him while he seeked revenge on the tosi tivo who killed his loved ones.... @_@I'm dizzy just typing this out.
-There was little to no love scenes in this which I found surprising and very underwhelming. It's a Western Romance and Anderson doesn't hold back in the gruesome graphic moments a 12 year-old girl is gang raped yyyyet...no love scenes?<__< Really?? I found that odd and disappointing. There's pretty much only one full love scene that is quickly rushed through with some oral sex Hunter finally persuades her into and then glosses over the important parts following it. It's safe to say I felt gypped considering the amount of time it took for these two to finally get <i>there. All the other lovemaking moments are alluded to through FTB or Loretta reflecting back on it which at some points I found confusing.
-Loretta's constant continuous lack of faith and unreasonable fear in Hunter really put a damper on the love story for me personally. Every time something goes slightly off kilter this girl is barreling down on Hunter shrieking animal! heathen!
and tries to run away. It just got very tiring. She quickly believes the worst of him when something goes wrong and uses it to flee and that grated. I was never crazy about this romantic trope where the hero is chasing after the heroine and forcing her to stay with him and it happens here in 90% of this book. So much so I had trouble believing if Loretta could ever come to truly love Hunter and not resent him.
- This didn't read like a romance story when more than half the plot the heroine is scared shitless, spitting, biting and running away from the hero. This is quite a popular one amongst CA's work, but I don't think this is her best work or most 'epic romance'. Far from it. It's riddled with contrived angst, repetitive dialogue and an unnecessary heavy plot. Anderson dragged out the story too long and stretched the couple too thin with all the stifling tension, misunderstandings, mis-assumptions and lack of faith between them. It dulled the shine off moments that should have been sweet and magical. Their tender moments were very fleeting and sometimes came off very forced, on Loretta's part in particular. That's not my thing when the prudish heroine has to be persuaded, cajoled and tricked into giving in. Meh. I can sympathize with heroines being raised a certain way and what they expect and don't expect when it comes to intimacies but honestly? Reading about a heroine freaking out every time her guy tries to cop a feel, see her naked or kiss her there
isn't really fun. It's not romantic nor sexy. I believed Loretta loved her man in the last few chapters with the lengths Loretta went to for Hunter and his people but at that point I was mentally exhausted. It was like beating a dead horse with a stick with the number of times Hunter's honor was questioned by the gullible naive Loretta. All the stalling just screamed as last minute foot shuffling to find contrived reasons to prolong these two from coming together. I just started to feel manipulated when the misunderstandings kept going on till the near end of the story.Way too much of this: Moral of the story...