Saturday, July 12, 2008

Wyoming Wildcat by Elizabeth Lane

When she was just a girl, Molly Ivins was orphaned by outlaws and rescued from death by a Cheyenne Medicine Man. Now grown, she is known as Moon Hawk, and keeps her adopted tribe safe in the mountains, hiding them from bandits and outlaws alike.

Now her grandfather has heard rumors of a blonde-haired native woman and hired Ryan Tolliver, a Wyoming Rancher whose greatest dream is to see the world, to find his missing granddaughter and bring her home. But when Ryan is injured in a fall from his horse and hits his head, he loses all sense of who he is and ends up falling for Moon Hawk under his new name of Etoneto, and she returns his affection.

Their happy days in the mountains are cut short, however, when a band of bandits discovers the small tribe and decides to steal everything they have and rape the women, then kill everyone. Randy is injured again in the battle and loses all his memories of loving Molly/Moon Hawk, and regains his memory of why he was there in the first place. He escorts her home to her grandfather while her remaining tribe is taken to the reservation. But Molly has a new dream... to purchase her people land of her own, so the American soldiers cannot send them back to the reservation and her people can live free in the manner they once did.

Her grandfather doesn't care for Ryan Tolliver and seeks to keep he and Molly apart, trying to marry her to his younger business partner while he cheats Ryan out of the greater portion of his promised reward and has him beaten on his way. But the love that Ryan and Molly/Moon Hawk hold for each other is too strong to be denied, and Ryan decides to help Molly with her dream, finding the perfect land for her people and ensuring that it will remain in the hands of her tribe forever. But can they overcome her grandfather's machinations and those of his "partner"?

I enjoyed this a lot better than many Harlequin Historical Romances that I have read. Even though the "Double Amnesia" storyline definitely slapped my "willing suspension of disbelief" rather hard, I found the characters to be both real and enjoyable, with actual, realistic motivations and reactions. I wasn't disposed to like this story very much, either, as it is a Western and my taste tends to run to Medieval/Dark Ages style romances, which makes it even more astonishing that I liked it.

This may be an old book, but it's worth seeking out if you can find it, for being a cut above most category romance novels. YMMV, of course, but I liked the realism to be found in *most* of the story (The Double Amnesia thing notwithstanding).

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