Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chosen Woman-Shirl Henke

Chosen Woman
Shirl Henke
Leisure, Jul 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843962482

In 1873 inside a mansion in St. Louis, law enforcement official Jack Dillon meets the woman he has been hired to protect when Fawn Stanhope calls him a runt as she is as tall as him. Being almost six feet, he thinks to himself she is an amazon, but though he wants to flee before she challenges him to a wrestling match, a paying job keeps him there even when she proclaims he is no bodyguard. Her nine year old sister Delilah explains to Jack that Fawn has always had visions that frustrate and scare her as she struggles with their interpretation.

Fawn hides from Jack that she recognizes the cocky Irish-American as the charismatic Red Wolf in her dreams. Jack has been hired to escort Fawn to the Cheyenne where she will become their medicine dream guide though she never lived with that side of her heritage. He knows from their first meeting she will not be an easy client. Her supportive parents also want Jack to prevent the stealing of the land from their extended family and the sending of the Cheyenne children to orphanages. As they fall in love in between her bashing him, she risks her life to prevent the plotters gaining deeds from the elderly who mysteriously die soon afterward and he does likewise to keep his CHOSEN WOMAN safe.

This is an exhilarating Reconstruction Era romance with a powerful touch of Native American beliefs that places a spotlight on a period of American shame with the mistreatment including murder, abuse, and abduction of Indians. The story line is fast-paced from the opening meeting between the lead couple as the amazon looks down on her troll and never slows down as readers wonder what the Grand Design will be for this fine pairing.

Harriet Klausner

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