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Monday, February 21, 2011

Dakota Dreams by Madeline Baker

Dakota Dreams by Madeline Baker
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Genre: Action/Adventure, Historical
Length: Full Length (209 pgs)
Heat Level: sensual
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Aloe

The desperate convict…

Wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, Nathan Chasing Elk has never lost hope of avenging her death and reclaiming his lost daughter. His only chance is to break free from prison—but with his escape comes a grave injury that threatens his life.

The prisoner of love…

Catharine Lyons is struggling to maintain the family ranch in the wake of her parents’ untimely deaths. When Nathan shows up on her property, badly wounded and close to death, Catharine provides him with sanctuary.

Their Dakota dream…

As they grow closer, Catharine offers Nathan more than the healing of his body and mind. She agrees to join him on his journey into Lakota territory to avenge his wife’s death. But as they trek through the dangerous West, they discover a passion just as untamed—one that will change their destinies forever.

Chasing Elk is determined to avenge his wife’s death and recover his daughter. But when he finally escaped the Yuma prison, he wasn’t planning on getting shot on the way out…

This is a nice mix of a few historical facts about Native Americans and a love story. Nathan Chasing Elk is a good man, wrongfully charged. Ms. Baker makes his character very realistic. He is still grieving the loss of his wife and feels guilty because he hasn’t been there for his daughter. He’s also determined to get his daughter back and find the man who killed his wife.

The other lead character, Catherine, is a young woman living in a strange land with a missing brother. She also has extreme challenges trying to keep the Apache chief from claiming her as his wife. Everyone in the story has some baggage from the past to settle. Watching how Ms. Baker’s characters manage to get past the problems and work towards settling their lives down for the future is part of the fun of the read.

The author puts her two lead characters together by need, but soon the sexual tension between them grows. Adding Nathan’s daughter to the mix creates an even more interesting situation because she testified against him and is afraid of him, and she hampers the romance.

The author’s descriptions of the land paint a lovely picture in your mind and you can understand why the Indians wanted to retain the land they hunted and lived in. She’s also very good at adding new side stories to the main story as you read along which enhances your interest in the story.

The story flows well, the situations described are plausible and you’re not sure just how this story is going to end until you read the last pages. It was a very good read.