FIRE CLOUD

Cassie Edwards, Author
Cassie Edwards, Author . Signet $6.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-451-20456-1
Hardcover - 404 pages - 978-0-7862-4112-5
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A so-called Indian romance, this saccharine tale stretches the bounds of the believable as eight-year-old Janelle Coolidge, the proper daughter of an affluent family, and 10-year-old Fire Cloud, a Chippewa adopted by a group of Missouri Lakotas, fall instantly in love when they momentarily glimpse each other from a distance. Fifteen years later, they meet again when Fire Cloud, now a handsome young warrior, brings his deaf and mute younger brother to visit a Catholic orphanage run by Janelle's aunt, Sister Mary Ann. Janelle, now a beautiful, gently raised young woman, has fled to the convent to prevent an odious marriage arranged by her widowed father. Janelle and Fire Cloud quickly renew and consummate their love, meeting only acceptance from Sister Mary Ann and the Lakota tribe. Janelle's father, however, violently opposes their union, and he concocts a harebrained scheme to abduct Janelle and hold her prisoner until she promises to forget Fire Cloud. A minor plot involving Fire Cloud's brother and his Lakota friends lends some depth to this sweet bit of fluff, but Edwards's (Passion's Fire, etc.) simplified portrayal of life in 19th-century America, coupled with a ham-handed plot and cartoon-like villains, does little to enhance this novel's appeal. (Nov. 6)

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