cover image The Proud and the Free

The Proud and the Free

Janet Dailey. Little Brown and Company, $22.95 (322pp) ISBN 978-0-316-17165-6

Having made her mark in the contemporary romance genre, Dailey (Tangled Vines) returns to historical fiction with a bleak tale of the Cherokee Nation in which the history packs more punch than the narrative. In the early 1830s, the State of Georgia claims Cherokee land and begins to redistribute it to white settlers. The Cherokees gain support in Congress, and the Supreme Court rules in their favor, but President Jackson refuses to enforce the court's decision. Amid this turbulence, two proud lovers find romance: Temple Gordon, an educated Cherokee princess, and her future husband, The Blade Stuart, an iconoclastic Cherokee who owns a plantation. When the atrocities against his people escalate, The Blade moves to save them. Along with a few other chiefs, he signs a treaty that calls for Indian protection-and their removal west. Temple is torn between loyalty to her people and her love for The Blade. She and her family are herded into detention camps before they are forced on the infamous Trail of Tears. While not flinching from the graphic horrors of her topic, Dailey scants her characters; the romance between Temple and The Blade, lukewarm at best, may disappoint the author's huge following. Literary Guild selection. (Sept.)