Panther is the chief of the Shawnee. The tribe is traveling to Oklahoma and has stopped in southern Illinios near the town of Harrisburg to camp for the winter. It has not been easy for the Shawnee. They have been attacked by their enemy the Iroquois, under the evil chief Iron Nose, and have suffered great losses. Panther’s father has been left blind and Panther’s wife and unborn child have been killed. Also, the evil whites have continually harrassed the Shawnee, so they are moving west.
In Harrisburg, Shanndel Lynn Burton is the daughter of the richest man in the county. Shanndel is half Indian, her mother Grace, is an Iroquois. One afternoon, she comes into town to get some supplies for her father and sees Panther. Instant attraction! Shanndel looks exactly like Panther’s dead wife and she is soon sneaking off to meet him. However, Shanndel is half white and half Iroquois – both of them the Shawnee’s most hated foes. Can their love survive?
Oh please! This is a Cassie Edwards Indian romance after all. There is the potential for a good story and some real conflict, but it is buried under cardboard characters, poor storytelling and laughable purple prose. In Savage Joy we have southern Illinois described as a prairie – rolling hills covered with trees?! Shanndel’s father is described as a man who hates Indians – but he is married to an Indian woman whom he loves deeply and treats with the utmost respect. Shanndel is going to take over her father’s prosperous cigar factory, even though the whole town looks down on her because she is a half-breed. Edward Burton supposedly loves and respects his daughter, but when he speaks to her, he swears every other word. I know that historical romance characters are larger than life, but is it so much to ask that they behave plausibly?
The prose is hilarious when it’s not purple. In one scene, the evil chief Iron Nose has kidnapped Shanndel’s mother Grace, and we are treated to this bit of musing:
Grace couldn’t believe her luck that Iron Nose would actually take the time to cook and eat the rabbit before raping her.
Shanndel…speaks…with…lots…of… – well, you get the picture. When Shanndel and Panther marry, the ceremony is supposed to be poetic and erotic, but I found myself laughing at the overblown language.
The tempo of the dance slowed. Panther and Shanndel’s hands came together. “Ni-haw-ku-nah-ga,” Panther said throatily as he pressed himself against her, grinding his loins into her special place, which she arched toward him. “Rain Singing, I take you now as my wife.
Savage Joy is so full of the sterotypes that are leveled against all romances that it’s just plain sad. I’ve read some of Edwards’ other books and have yet to find one that is believable. If you enjoy her books – fine, but my time is limited and my budget tight and I don’t think I’ll be reading any more Cassie Edwards anytime soon.
|Review Date:||January 30, 1999|