War Cloud's Passion
by Karen Kay, historical (2001)
Avon, $5.99, ISBN 0-380-80342-9
You know, there's a good story in here somewhere. But War Cloud's Passion could have been written by an earnest, talented, but earnest college writing student for the Save-The-Reservations society.
The story is about War Cloud, our brave Indian chief who falls in love with our White heroine Anna Wiley. Anna is what I would call the White Man's Guilt came to life - unrealistically bent on understanding, believing, and embracing everything Indian to make up for all the injustices done by White Men on the poor, poor Indians. So understanding is Anna that she is already on the brink of spontaneous ovulation as she sees War Cloud for the first time. Never mind that he has just killed her train companion and pretty much everybody else on the train - whoa, what a hottie Indian chiefy, be still my churning ovaries...
War Cloud and his gang of Noble (of course) Cheyennes are attacking the train Anna is on because Lame Bird, War Cloud's lil' tykey brother, is chained in there. (Frankly, how cruel it is to be called Lame Bird while your brother is called War Cloud - what is War Clouds Senior and Wife thinking, I'd like to know.) Since these are Indian nobles, Anna doesn't care if they have pretty well killed everybody on board. Take her, O Mighty Chief! Anna the prototype Indian groupie is more touched that War Cloud loves Lame Bird so much, oh, oh, her heart is welling with love. She, too, has spent one month learning Indian sign language, and she soon bonds with Lame Bird, using sign language to talk about cosmic karma and shaman imageries. And War Cloud, well, we need some conversation in this novel, so let's have him speaking good English instead.
"Anna, milove, see our lovely teepees! Lets make beautiful lurve under the moon, yes?"
"Anything Indian is fine with me, milove! Ooh, make me an Indian by infusion, love!"
Okay, Karen Kay writes much better than me, really.
Good points? Well, the author can write, and she can create external conflicts pretty well. Things get sticky when she has to deal with Anna and War Cloud. War Cloud can't do anything wrong, Anna knows it, and alas, I have to read it. How fun it is to read about a woman adoring her hero this much, this blindly, this adoringly? Ms Kay does try to present a story about the injustices faced by the Cheyennes, but Anna is not a character as much as she is a placeholder for outright propaganda. No problem with that if this is a political pamphlet, but this is a romance novel, where characters and plots come first, not social preachings.
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