Reckless Heart

Madeline Baker
Historical romance
Available from Ellora's Cave
ISBN: 9781419937668
April 2012

In 1868, Hannah, who lives in the valley in a homestead, meets Shadow, a Cheyenne Indian. They play together. He teaches her to fish and hunt and track and she shares her mom's cookies as he has no mother. Shadow's people leave the valley and when he returns, Hannah is a beautiful eighteen year-old woman. Their friendship turns to love. But there's talk of war and when the Indians attack the homestead, Shadow rescues her and takes her to his people. They marry, she becomes pregnant, and is close to term when the army captures them. She loses the baby, and is forced to marry the army commander, a former neighbor who'd always wanted her and who tells her Shadow is dead. A couple of men rescue Shadow from death and put him in a traveling circus, shackled. He escapes, but is hurt. When he is well, he seeks the man who wronged him, discovering Hannah, who married the white man, now had Shadow's baby. Shadow kills his enemy, but will he and Hannah be able to love and live in peace?

I dearly loved this book. The author created a protagonist and hero the reader couldn't help loving. The situation of the times, from 1868, played a big part in the story and the author did a magnificent job portraying this. She made very real the homesteads in the valley, as well as the Indian village, along with the customs and mores of both. The settings were magnificent, from the settlers' homes to those of the Indians, especially when the attacks begin. This reader was right there. The author created characters with warmth, love, fears, and everything that goes into life. She did a remarkable job of showing Hannah's torn feelings: loyalty to her parents or her love for Shadow, especially when it was either go with Shadow or stay and face death. The antagonist, a man who was a neighbor and wanted to marry Hannah, was well drawn as an army commander. In addition to having the same views as many of the whites, he also had an extremely mean streak, which he eventually turned on Hannah. The love between Hannah and Shadow was both beautiful and heartbreaking. Their steadfast determination in the face of such adversity was quite beautiful.

There is no question that I will read other books by this author.

Overall rating:
Sensuality rating: Very sensual

Reviewer: Jaye Leyel
Septemmber 16, 2012

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