Synopsis: Orphaned seven years ago after witnessing the brutal murder of her parents at the hands of the Comanche people, golden-haired Loretta Simpson still lives in terror that the warriors will return. Her fear is so powerful, she can no longer speak a word.
Called the U.S. Army's most cunning adversary, Hunter of the Wolf believes that Loretta is the "honey-haired woman with no voice" of ancient prophesy - the woman he must honor for all eternity. But Loretta can see Hunter only as the enemy who has stolen her, and she refuses to succumb to his control...or his touch.
Despite the hatred intensifying between their peoples, Loretta and Hunter gradually find their prejudices giving way to respect, then flaring into feelings too dangerous to express. In the midst of such conflict, it will take all the force of their extraordinary love to find a safe place...
Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback, published by New American Library, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 1991; 468 pages; purchased at a library sale.
My thoughts: So good. This book is so good. Where do I even begin?
In a nutshell (if that's possible): There is a prophecy that tells of a fierce warrior and a honey-haired woman who are destined to be together. Everyone in Hunter's village have always known and believed that he is that warrior. But Hunter loved his wife, who was torture and killed, along with her unborn baby, by white men, and he has a hatred for the white race.
Loretta saw her parents killed by Indians seven years ago, her mother raped and brutally tortured. Since then she's not spoken a word, and has lived with her aunt, uncle and young cousin. When she is captured and carried away by the infamous Hunter, she is terrified and desperate to escape.
In the beginning Hunter and Loretta hate each other. He may believe she is the woman he is prophesied to meet and “honor for all eternity”, but his first instinct is to kill her, to avoid the prophecy, which also says he will end up leaving the People. But his sense of duty is stronger than his hatred, so instead he takes her to his village.
In one of my recent reviews, I wrote that I'm not a fan of destined mate stories, preferring characters to meet, get to know each other, and then fall in love, not just be in love because they're supposed to be. This book turned that trope on it's head. Hunter may believe they are destined, but Loretta only sees a filthy savage Indian, and every minute she is in his company she expects that night to be the night he rapes and tortures her. And while Hunter may believe they are destined, he has no desire to rape her, much less touch her. He finds her pale skin off putting and her golden hair puts him in mind of dried out grass.
Over the course of this compelling 400+ page book (which could have been longer and I'd have been happy with that), they spend time together, they part company, they come back together, they part company. They come to grudgingly respect each other and realize that the other person is not just all the cliches they know about white people and Indians. Until suddenly they are those cliches. And then, are they really?
There is a lot of brutality in this book. It may be a romance novel, but it's definitely not a romanticized view of the time period, of the wars between the Indians and the white interlopers. It is a tale of love, hate, revenge, betrayal, loyalty, duty, hardship, good and bad on every level. It kept me up past my bedtime two nights in a row because I was loathe to put it down. This book is going in my small list of all time favorite books.
I don't just want to read the follow up books. I NEED to read them. Soon.
And I love the covers on these reissues.