Night Thunder's Bride

White Eagle's Touch

War Cloud's Passion

Wolf Shadow's Promise

 
Lone Arrow’s Pride by Karen Kay
(Avon, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN 0-380-82066-8
**
Carolyn White’s family died from cholera while traveling west. Now the 11-year-old is alone, wandering through the Bighorn Mountains trying to reach Fort C.F. Smith. Becoming hopelessly lost, she comes across a whirlwind that ultimately leads her to 16-year-old Crow Indian, Lone Arrow.

Lone Arrow is not happy when Carolyn stumbles across his camp. For one thing, he was up in the mountains seeking a vision. For another, when she runs away from him, she comes face to face with a very angry bear. Lone Arrow rescues the girl by taking her into the mountain caves and then safely delivers her to the fort.

Fast forward eight and a half years and Carolyn is living a hand to mouth existence with her adoptive family in Virginia City, Montana Territory. Her parents have fallen on hard times, with bad luck seeming to find them at every turn. It is while she is trying to help them, that Carolyn realizes that all of their bad luck is her fault. When she was in the caves with Lone Arrow, she took a gold cross, which was part of a cache of treasure hidden in the mountain. Lone Arrow had said it was cursed …

Carolyn realizes that in order to break the curse, she will have to return the cross to the cave. Unfortunately, she doesn’t remember how to get there, so she’ll have to find Lone Arrow - a man that she has held in her heart since the day he deposited her at the fort.

Carolyn is the typical virginal white girl, who finds herself attracted to the exotic looking Indian brave. She has been in love with Lone Arrow since she was 11 - and while I could understand how a young, scared girl might form an attachment to her rescuer - for her to still hold onto that attachment almost 9 years later seemed unhealthy. She also leaves the home of her adoptive parents quite easily. They don’t try to stop or reason with her. In fact, there isn’t even a scene where she tells them she’s leaving!

Lone Arrow is the typical noble savage figure, who has been drawn to Carolyn from day one. He fights this attraction because he is an important man in his tribe, and he’s not entirely sure he can trust her. When he learns that she took something from the cave, he knows he is justified. However, he soon finds himself unable to resist.

With a stock couple, I had a hard time believing they were really in love. Sure there’s lust there, and the sex is great - but they are from completely different worlds. The white/Indian issue is minimally explored, with the main conflict being their conflicting views on marriage. This is the main sticking point for much of the last half, and after a couple chapters of it I was bored. This reader would have found a conflict involving Carolyn adjusting to Indian life much more insightful, but alas, the couple spends the entire novel away from the tribe.

Which brings us to the driving force in the story - that cursed gold cross. Why doesn’t she just throw the stupid thing away? Because Carolyn believes the only way to break the curse is to return it to the place where she stole it. However, the ending brings a different solution that flies in the face of this earlier statement. Carolyn vehemently insists on going to the cave for the bulk of the story, so her change of mind came as a bit of a surprise.

For readers who just can’t get enough of Indian romances ,b>Lone Arrow’s Pride may have enough to keep you turning the pages. Outside of some frustrating dialect, Kay does have an easy writing style, making this a quick, if lackluster read. Readers looking for more in-depth characterization and a story that makes some sense may do well to think twice.

--Wendy Crutcher


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