Red Hawk's Woman
From the simplistic plot to its continued abuse of the English language, Red Hawk’s Woman just gets it wrong, wrong, wrong. While Red Hawk’s quest starts off in an interesting enough fashion, the hodgepodge of Native American mythology and overwrought New Age-y spiritualism quickly became too saccharine for this reader to handle.
Red Hawk was raised among the Lost Clan, a clan of Indians who apparently ticked off the Thunderer and found themselves cursed by the Creator to wander in the mist until some young brave manages to lift the curse and set them free. This generation’s chosen brave is Red Hawk. At about the age of twelve, he leaves his clan to live among the Blackfoot and learn their ways. As he learns the ways of this new tribe (who, by the way, apparently just accept him without question), he is also waiting for the manner in which the curse is to be lifted to be revealed to him. All he has is the cryptic hint that he is to show kindness, help his enemies, and understand them. Sounds very true to attitudes of the times, eh?
Shortly after he goes out into the world, Red Hawk meets the child Effie Rutledge while she is out swimming. Though the two do not speak a common language, their time frolicking in the water apparently makes an indelible impression on them both. In fact, as the story switches focus to the grown-up Red Hawk and archaeologist Effie, we learn that apparently these two have lost many hours pondering what might have happened to the other. This seems a bit excessive for a brief encounter 17 years ago, but we are supposed to accept it as True Love or Destiny or some other Great Big Concept That Deserves to be Capitalized in Our Consciousness.
The plot in this book takes absolutely forever to get going, so there is not much I can tell you that wouldn’t be a spoiler of the second part of this book, but suffice it to say that Effie is planning to lead an archeological expedition to uncover artifacts related to the Lost Clan. Red Hawk ends up as Effie’s guide and the two set off into the wilderness where much melodrama and mysticism ensues. There are curses, all kinds of silly behavior, and a villain in dire need of a waxed mustache to twirl. This is all interspersed with so much hackneyed Blackfoot dialogue that it is really hard to focus on the story, such as it is.
Of course, we also have Red Hawk’s courtship of Effie. Effie actually does have her intelligent and likable moments – so much so that at times I wondered why she was trapped in this book. While she and Red Hawk could not speak together as children, Red Hawk as an adult is able to explain to Effie that he now speaks English because he learned it while working for a “black robe”. This conveniently removes one major hurdle from their courtship. However, the “Me Tarzan, You Jane” feel to some of the happy couple’s conversations leaves something to be desired. So too, did the romantic encounters. I almost laughed myself to tears during the initial love scene – and I am certain that this is not the reaction intended by the author.
With characters and a love story about as deep and moving as those in the average Cassie Edwards novel (and yes, I do agree with my AAR colleagues’ previous reviews of her work), Red Hawk’s Woman is not a story to cherish. It most definitely is not a story worth $7.99 of your hard-earned money – or even 50 cents. There were a few moments where I liked the heroine, so I won’t give this book an F, but I cannot recommend it either.