Not all F books are created equal. Many start out with a decent plot or semi-interesting characters, only to become bogged down with stupid plot twists or an incoherent writing style. Not so with Cassie Edwards’ latest book, Silver Wing, which starts out terribly, ends terribly, and is terrible on every single page in between. It has no redeeming qualities; the only possible reason to read it is to study an example of what not to do when writing a romance.
The plot is simple and can be summed up in a few sentences. Audra Fredericks, who has been placed in a convent in San Francisco against her will, notices some Nez Perce Indians who have journeyed from Oregon to get a Bible. She decides to run off and join them, hoping to have a relationship with their chief, Silver Wing, whom she finds attractive. Audra stows away on a boat, marries Silver Wing, and lives happily ever after.
Before you run to the book store, here are some things to keep in mind:
1. Audra is apparently from Kansas City, and would be highly unlikely to be living in California in 1840, when it was still part of Mexico. Curiously, there are no Mexicans, Californios, or anyone else who might speak Spanish present in this book. The priest and nuns are all American, and one of the nuns is named Kathryn, a spelling not popularized until the twentieth century.
2. Everyone in this book understands everyone else with no problem at all. Either all the Nez Perce speak English, or all the Americans speak Nez Perce. I could never figure out which. Silver Wing’s interesting educational background enables him to say words such as “lucid” and “taciturn,” but he refers to a ship as a “water vessel with wings.”
3. No white woman in America would have seen running off with Indians she had never seen before as a good idea in 1840. A kidnaped woman who falls in love with her captor is at least somewhat believable. This is not.
4. Audra is a heroine who practically defines the term “too stupid to live.” Fortunately for her, everyone else in the book is also too stupid to live. Most of Audra’s time is spent worrying about her hair, which was cut short when she entered the convent. This is just one silly example:
And her hair! Although dirty, it was its length that would mortify women most. In today’s world long hair was almost worshiped as though it were a God. And here she was with hers almost cropped to its roots.
5. The writing style is simplistic and incoherent. Audra, and almost everyone else in the book, is always. . . thinking. . . and. . . speaking. . . like. . . this. Perhaps it’s indicative of their limited brain power, but it is extremely annoying to read. Edwards also dispenses exclamation points as if she were being paid extra for each one. Most irritating is Edwards’ habit of using only one sentence per paragraph, a technique I’ve never seen outside of children’s books.
6. If you only read romance for the sex, then perhaps you’ll enjoy the many love scenes in Silver Wing. But prose like the following is typical:
…her hand went to him and stroked him until he came again in torrents, his seeds spilling into her hands.
“And so this is what makes babies,” Audra murmured, studying the milky substance in her outstretched hand. “No one ever explained anything of life to me.”
I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point. When I thought about writing this review, I wondered what the point of it was. I’m the third reviewer on this site to give Edwards an F, and in a way it feels like kicking the energizer bunny. A lot of people out there are buying her books, and she somehow keeps going and going and going. In case you were wondering if Silver Wing would be her break-out book – the one in which everything finally came together – I can give you a report from the trenches. The answer is no.