A SAVAGE BEAUTY
Mira, September 2003
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Rifle Sergeant Daniel Morgan, on an expeditionary mission to explore the Arkansas River for the United States, makes a promise to a dying man that changes his life forever. When a French trapper he meets in the wilderness, Henri Chartier, is killed by a mountain lion, Daniel promises Henri he will take care of the trapper's wife, Louise. Louise is a young, lovely, half-French, half-Osage woman following her husband through the wilderness, until she suddenly finds herself under the protection of a stranger.
Daniel Morgan is an honorable man whose wits and mettle are repeatedly tested by his promise. Married to a woman who has become a withdrawn shadow of the bride he wed, and the sworn protector of another woman swept into political intrigue and danger, he struggles to hold onto his honor and his heart. Louise Chartier, the young and naive widow, is transported from the harshness of the wilderness, to the haut monde parlors of New Orleans, to center stage as a key witness in a trial for treason.
A SAVAGE BEAUTY is a complex and fascinating journey into the world of the early inhabitants and explorers of the Louisiana Purchase. The plot is thickened with the inclusion of the true historical drama of Vice President Aaron Burr's indictment for treason and Major General James Wilkinson's duplicitous role. Fictional characters Louise Chartier and Daniel Morgan become entangled in this real historical drama through the masterful writing skills of Merline Lovelace. The romance between these two finely drawn characters takes you on a conflicted and gut-wrenching emotional ride. Ms. Lovelace never takes the easy way out of the trials and hardships these two characters must face, and the conflicts take on the tone of harsh reality rather than idealistic romantic notions. The stakes are high and the story well-written. If you are looking for a romance writer willing to take risks and step outside the standard formulas for romance -- look right here!
This title is the first novel in her new multigenerational Oklahoma series. The next installment THE UNTAMED is due out in March 2004.
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