Sunday, December 4, 2011
Nadine Crenshaw’s MOUNTAIN MISTRESS – Captivating Western Historical!
This was Nadine Crenshaw’s first book and it won the Golden Heart Award in 1987. I can see why. Oh, I can hear you saying it’s just an old 80s romance. Well, not so. Crenshaw’s first novel would compete well with ANYTHING out there in romance today. Her writing is superb. Her story captivates—it’s a real page-turner, a keeper.
It is an all consuming, passionate story of the relationship between a Scottish born mountain man the Indians call “Waiting Cougar,” who takes an unwilling “winter squaw”—one he bought with beaver pelts from the Blackfeet Indians who captured her in a raid. Innocent, young Victorine Wellesley, with pale blonde hair and blue eyes, was raised in Philadelphia in the parlor rooms of elegant homes only to be forced to leave when her father died and her foolish brother took her west. Almost raped by the Blackfeet Indians who killed her brother and his wife, she is “rescued” by Cougar and forced to travel with him high into the Bitterroot Mountains—and to warm his bed of furs for the winter. He calls her “wife,” but she knows better. She is not a real wife, she’s only a “mountain mistress.”
Victorine, who Cougar names “Flame,” feels her identity slipping away as she begins to dress like a squaw, her beautiful fair skin turns brown from the sun and she falls victim to the passion he seems to draw from her at his will. You will be inspired as her courage rises to every challenge (and there are many in the wild mountains). As she has with all her subsequent romances, Crenshaw draws you into her story and into Victorine’s mind from the beginning. You can literally feel the anger and frustration rise in you as your sympathy for Victorine (“Flame”) grows with each day of the long journey into the mountains. She wants her freedom but she cannot resist the man who has led her into this life. Since she knows nothing of surviving in a wilderness, she is well and truly trapped.
Crenshaw presents accurately the essence of the era (19th century American frontier), even the nuances in speech. She has the place names, history and Indian culture (Blackfeet and Salish) just right. In face, she has it ALL just right. It is such a good story!! I highly recommend it.