Wild Dream is a romantic comedy of some charm, set in a mythical New Mexico town shortly after the Civil War. Alice Duncan’s flair for slapstick and clever comedy comes on too strong for the first part of the book, but then settles down to create some delightful romance between Adelaide Blewitt (pronounce her last name out loud, please) and Charley Wilde. If you can get past Addie’s over-the-top wackiness, you’ll probably enjoy the book.
Adelaide was born in Georgia but has lived a great deal of her life with her spinster Aunt Ivy on a farm in Rothwell, New Mexico. Aunt Ivy has filled her head with so many notions of Southern charm and gallantry in the days of old that Addie seems to live in a dream world, seeing knights in shining armor where there are none, blithering on and on about chivalry, and the way gentlemen and ladies are supposed to act.
So when Charley Wilde rides out of the darkness with his friend Lester, Addie is sure he is her Prince Charming. Charley thinks he is anything but a prince. He has been shot while his band was trying to rob a mercantile in a nearby town. When Addie discovers Charley is a “Georgia boy”, her exultation is complete – Charley must be the one for her.
Wild Dream explores the characters of Addie and Charley. Charley, whose point-of-view is the best thing about this book, tries over and over to convince Addie he’s not a gallant knight. But he can’t reveal he’s a thief for obvious reasons, and because he and his band have yet to be successful in their thieving. While his band is made up of accomplished musicians and men who were all gainfully employed prior to the war, carpetbaggers have ruined their chances at a decent life. Charley has vowed to keep the living band members together and care for them; he feels he cannot make a life for himself until they are settled.
Addie’s wild-eyed innocence and enthusiasm causes her to extol every small thing Charley does and to blame herself for their stolen kisses and caresses because she not “a lady.” On the other hand, Charley finds himself very attracted to Addie’s ability to handle life on the prairie. As he grows to appreciate her in comparison with the typical, simpering southern miss, he finds himself less and less exasperated by her blithering on and on.
But the course of true love never does run smooth, and their love is constantly interrupted by Fermin Small, the town sheriff. While he is a total buffoon, he has a notion that Charley’s no prince. He’s rather like Wiley E. Coyote in that his every attempt to catch Charley backfires, convincing the townsfolk that Charley and his band of musicians really are the best thing that’s ever happened to their quiet little town.
The secondary characters in Wild Dream are fun. Aunt Ivy and Lester make quite a pair, and Addie’s poker-playing native-American friend is always around just when Charley needs him.
There is a lovely sense of community to this small town as they accept Charley and his band like long-lost family members. The Sheriff’s Barney Fife-like antics provide an excellent foil for Charley’s innate goodness and easy acceptance by the town. And, while Addie’s wackiness is grating, her enthusiasm is constructive.
The author also has written some very sweetly sensual love scenes for Charley and Addie. Overall, then, Wild Dreams tells a pleasantly diverting tale. You might join Charley and grit your teeth or roll your eyes occasionally in response to something Addie does or says, but you’ll laugh and fall in love with them along the way.
|Reviewer:||Laurie Likes Books|
|Review Date:||May 1, 1997|
|Book Type:||American Historical Romance | Frontier/Western Hist Romance|
|Review Tags:||Frontier Romance | Frontier/Western Historical Romance | funny | Reconstruction era | Western romance|