Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Shirl Henke’s CAPTURE THE SUN – Superb Western Classic with a Wonderful Half Cheyenne Hero!

Shirl Henke serves up richly detailed Western romances that will keep you up late at night, I promise. This is another winning tale of hers from the old West with an intricate plot reflecting thorough research. The story captivated me from the beginning; I couldn’t put it down.


First published in 1988, and set in Montana in the late 1800s, Capture the Sun was unique because it involved a half-breed Cheyenne hero who had been well educated in the finest Eastern schools. Hawk Sinclair straddled two worlds, not feeling at home in either, until he finds his destiny in the arms of a beauty from St. Louis he called Firehair.


Carrie Patterson was raised in St. Louis and had loving parents until they died and she was forced to live with her aunt and uncle and treated more like a servant. Her aunt resented her beauty for her daughters paled in comparison. When Carrie turns 18, her aunt buys Carrie’s fiancé for one of the plain daughters and Carrie is forced to marry the aunt’s cousin, a cruel old rancher named Noah Sinclair. He takes her to his ranch in Montana, the Circle S, where she learns he’s had two wives before her, including his first who was a beautiful Cheyenne girl who gave him his only son, Hawk Sinclair, an educated half breed who will never inherit the ranch if Carrie gives him a white heir. Carrie comes to hate Noah even as she is falling in love with his son, Hawk.


My first reaction to the story was one of revulsion as the beautiful young heroine, Carrie Patterson, was forced into marrying the despicable Noah Sinclair. Noah’s frequent, mechanical and brutal exercise of his “marital rights” made me cringe. He was the wrong man for the right woman; he took her innocence and I hated him for it. Carrie was a bit disappointing at first as she resigned herself to the role of broodmare. But as she becomes more familiar with life on the Montana frontier, she gains strength and the respect of all around her. 


Henke’s portrayal of ranch life and the challenges of the Cheyenne as the white man encroached onto their way of life are vividly detailed. Her dialog is rich, capturing the personalities of her characters, even their speech, which varies from the wise Cheyenne chief, to the old Texas cowhand, to the self-righteous citizens who were so quick to judge. I highly recommend this one!


The Cheyenne trilogy:


Capture the Sun

The Endless Sky



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