Here's the thing. I don't like bodice-ripping (or buckskin-ripping) romances. I tend to read all the steamy scenes as, "she kissed his blah blah blah and blahed his blah blah blah." As such, I'm obviously the wrong audience for this book since the first half of the book has far too much "quivering" (x3), "shaking" (x48), and "shivering" (x14) for my tastes.
So why did I read it? It was chosen as our book of the month for our time travel book club. Since the time travel in the novel takes the main character, Maggie, to colonial America to live among the Powhatans, I was very interested in reading it. However, it was just not my cup of tea.
Had the first half of the book been more like the last half of the book, I think I would have liked it better. In the first half of the book, the focal point is the romance between Maggie and a Powhatan warrior named Winn. However, the Maggie of the first half of the book has quite an explosive personality. She bristles, thrashes, and rages at everything. Of course, she's not used to the rules of conduct of women in a Powhatan village and does not relish being the "slave" and "property" of Winn. I can understand the sentiment, but it's one thing to be dropped into the 1960s and bristle at such social mores and quite another thing to be dropped into the 1622s and expect to be able to behave as an equal to the men around you. Many of the misadventures that Maggie has in the first half of the book are a result of her quick temper. However, there are too many times when she explodes as a result of practically nothing. Maybe some men like that? Anyhow, it makes for an interesting character, but I think her temper is a little too extreme to be realistic. At least I'd like to think so.
The last half of the book seems like almost a different book entirely. There is an interesting storyline as the Powhatans plot against the English and visa versa, various people get kidnapped, the romance is toned down from a 10 to a 5, and Maggie's temper has been tamed. Whereas I would give the first half of the book 2 stars, the second half gets 4 stars.
I have to say, though, that my favorite line in the book is a typo. Well, at least I hope it's a typo: "Maggie watched as Winn said something tense to the man and waved his question off, shaking his head, while pushing a bowel
of food into the man’s hands as if to distract him." I know I'd be distracted by a bowel of food being shoved into my hands!
I do think that certain readers would really love this book. If I did enjoy an erotic romance to go along with my colonial literary fiction, I might have given the book 4 or 5 stars. The book is well-written (minus the bowel incident and a few other typos), well-researched, and chock full of history. Plus, Winn is a drool-worthy character that fan girls would certainly love to put on the same pedestal as all their other lust-worthy book men. I was imagining a male version of Pocahontas from the movie "The New World"
(played by Q'orianka Kilcher
). Perhaps her brother Kainoa
would fit the role. And of course, Wes Studi
has to be Opechancanough as he is in "The New World". However, for me, this book is just a 3-star book by no fault of the author.