|Sioux (Dakota) tribes prior to 1770|
Wednesday, June 3, 2015
New Review: Janelle Taylor’s SAVAGE ECSTASY – A Classic Western Historical Romance with an Indian warrior hero – Great Storytelling
Set in 1776, in Oglala Sioux territory in the Dakotas, this is the story of Alisha Williams, a sheltered innocent raised in England to be a young lady and brought to the new world by her parents, who are now dead. She is living with her uncle when Gray Eagle, son of the Sioux chief, is taken prisoner and treated badly by some of the white men in Alisha’s settlement.
Appalled by the treatment Gray Eagle receives, Alisha tends to his wounds only to have him reject her care. But he has plans for her. When he escapes, he tells his friend White Arrow that he will take her as his slave. Soon, his tribe returns to attack the settlers’ fortified site and Alisha is taken prisoner.
Taylor brings to life the Plains Indians’ culture of the 18th century, the food, the crafts, even the language (which added much but was sometimes beyond my understanding). It took a bit of getting used to Taylor’s writing style as she frequently hops into different heads and drops in as the narrator to give us some bit of information. But she is a good storyteller and kept me turning pages.
Gray Eagle is a hero with both tender and cruel sides. He comes to love Alisha but he will let no one know of it, else he will be perceived as a weak leader. (“He constantly reminded himself she was only his slave and enemy. He would keep her at arm’s length at all times, except when he made love to her at night.”) Alisha tries her best to appear the obedient slave in order to survive. She is intelligent and quick to learn the Sioux ways and wins the love of the brave White Arrow. But she suffers anytime Gray Eagle loses his temper or she crosses a line. Though he understands English, he never lets her know. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for how she and the other captives were treated. It was not pretty.
This is a compelling story I could not put down, but to get the ending to the romance of Alisha and Gray Eagle, you have to read another book or perhaps three. This is the first in the 9-book Gray Eagle series, the first four of which comprise the story of Gray Eagle and Alisha: