I always look forward to reading a Western with an Indian hero by an author I have not tried before. You see, I know that somewhere out there lurks a really good Western/Indian romance and it is my mission to find it. Tykota’s Woman was okay but nothing special. The hero and heroine were nice enough characters, but bland, very bland. They reminded me of the velveteen rabbit from the classic chidren’s story. I kept waiting for them to become “real,” but unlike that beloved toy, they never did.
Tykota is the youngest son of Valatar, the chief of the Perdenelas Indians, a secretive tribe who live in the Valle de la Luna. The Perdenelas are ruled by the chief and a council of elders and they are the custodians of a treasure of gold, the location of which is known only to the chief. When the book begins, Valatar is about to exile his second wife, Petera (an Apache) and her two sons, Coloradous and Sinica from the tribe. Petera has tried to poison Tykota.
Petera swears vengence along with her youngest son, Sinica. Coloradous is more sorrowful than angry – he loved Valatar and Tykota is also sorry to see him go, Coloradous has been kind and friendly. It is Valatar’s decision that Tykota, the son of his favorite wife Llena, will be the next chief.
Since Valatar fears that the Apache will try to kill Tykota, he asks his white friend George Silverhorn to take him and educate him in the white man’s ways. One of the tribal elders, Mangas, will go along to train Tykota in the ways of the Perdenelas Indians as well. Tykota stays with the Silverthorns for 19 years. He is educated in England and at his death, George Silverthorn leaves Tykota his prosperous ranch, Biquera. But it is time for Tykota to take his place as chief of the Perdenelas.
Makinna Hillyard is from New Orleans. Her father is dead and she has nursed her mother through a long illness. At her mother’s death, she accepts an offer to come to Texas to visit her sister. On the stagecoach, Makinna can’t help but notice the handsome young man with Indian features in the coach with her and the other passengers. She is surprised when he speaks with a British accent and angry when he is treated rudely by the other passengers. When they stop at an inn for the night, the innkeeper and his wife will not allow Tykota to eat and make him stay in the stable. Makinna takes him some food and apologizes for their rudeness. That night, the Apache attack the inn and slaughter all the people there except Tykota and Makinna, who escape and make their way across the desert. During this time, Makinna undergoes much discomfort without complaining too much or doing anything foolhardy, and Tykota is almost a superman. He finds food and water, he re-soles her shoes, he outwits the Apache trackers and he brings Makinna to his ranch and to safety and falls deeply in love with her.
The conflict comes about because Tykota has to fulfill his father’s wishes and become chief of his people. But he has lived for most of his life in the white world and despite the teachings of his Indian mentor Mangas, he soon realizes that he is not the man to lead his people.
Tykota’s Woman is not at all bad and it moves on at a brisk clip. Tykota and Makinna are both nice enough characters, but they are as I said, bland and not that interesting. They speak in a fairly stilted manner and I occasionally came across a purple patch that jolted me out of my reading spell. During one scene, Makinna and Tykota are in a clinch and things are getting pretty steamy until this sentence: “Then he pressed her back against the house, deep in the shadows, and his hand went between her thighs, and his breath came out in a groan. ‘One day, a man will know the joy of deflowering you, Makinna.'”
If you are a Constance O’Banyon fan or one who loves Westerns and Indian romances, you might enjoy Tykota’s Woman more than I did. As for me, I will continue my quest for that perfect Indian romance and, for the moment, be glad that I’ve found some excellent Westerns already.
|Review Date:||May 24, 2000|