Desert Isle Keeper
If you’re a fan of Michael Mann’s film of The Last of the Mohicans (yes, the one with the delightful Daniel Day Lewis in it), then Rising Wind may be just the book for you. It’s the story of class-divided lovers who bond under difficult circumstances and find each other, survival, and love. The hero is to die for and the heroine is one you can admire. What more could you ask for?
Connor Duncan was born the same day his father died at Culloden, delivered on the battlefield by an English officer named Murray. Later, his mother is raped and hanged by English troops for honoring her husband and family by wearing their plaid in public, while Connor, a child of ten, is forced to become a bond servant in the American Colonies. Needless to say, he has no kind feelings towards the British Army.
Now an experienced trapper and frontiersman, Connor is summoned by the Governor of Virginia to give his opinion regarding a situation concerning the Shawnee on the frontier. The Governor commands him to serve as a scout for British troops heading to the wilderness to prepare for an attack. He also meets the governor’s niece, Carrie, an experience that Duncan finds far more to his liking. However, the awkward circumstances of their meeting, though minor, could leave her ruined and force him into a duel. While disaster is averted, Conner is surprised to find that Carrie will be joining the company of troops commanded by her brother into the frontier.
Carrie Murray is the daughter of an English officer who has already buried three fiances. Unable to find a suitable candidate for her future husband in England, Carrie sets out for the Colonies, where her father, General Murray, is stationed and her uncle is the Governor of Virginia. When Carrie finagles an excuse to accompany her brother into the wild, she finds herself drawn to Connor, using any excuse to talk to him whenever possible. Her brother, however, believes that Connor, with his Scots blood, is not worthy of their family and warns her to stay away from him.
While on the march, the unit is attacked by Shawnee and only by chance do a few of the group survive the attack. As they flee, Connor begins to truly admire Carrie and her fortitude, and his attraction to her grows. Carrie begins to understand the man that Connor is through his selflessness and concern for her and the other survivors and their attraction becomes even stronger as they must depend on each other to survive. The situations are tense and fast, but care, concern, and tension are strongly felt. As they reach the safety of the wilderness fort, in typical hero fashion Connor believes that their differences are too great to overcome and the situation too volatile. He feels the best thing for Carrie to do is to go back to the safely of Williamsburg and forget any feelings that exist between them. Before that can happen, however, they face danger from the Shawnee once again.
The story is fast paced and well written, and the characters, – including the secondary ones – are multidimensional. Holby creates a hero the reader can sympathize with completely, from his early tragedies to his very real fear of the Shawnee. The heroine simply does what she has to do to survive, without being totally dependent on the hero. They need each other and it takes both of them to endure their trials. When the heroine does falter, it’s completely understandable. I enjoyed the theme of fate that ran throughout the book and I felt like it was a love that was meant to be, despite the difficulties that they must overcome. At times, I found myself wanting more sexual tension between the couple, but when I think back on it, I can understand the lack thereof. I’m sure it would be hard to get those desires going when you’re worried about being burned alive.
It’s been a long time since I’ve read an American historical, but this was just the book to renew my interest in colonial era books. If you like a good adventure romance and something a little different, then Rising Wind should definitely answer the call. I can’t recommend Holby’s writing and characters enough and look forward to reading her again.