by Norah Hess

1978 reissue
ISBN: 71145 00599
Reviewer Graphic Button Lovespell
Mass Market Paperback


Fleeing from both a Typhus epidemic, and the encroaching British army, Roxanne Sherwood leaves Boston to journey with her young cousin, Gideon to her Uncle Malcolm’s homestead in the backwoods of Kentucky. But an even greater danger has found Roxanne and her cousin, renegade Indians! Held captive by the Indians, and completely at their mercy, Roxanne fears for her life. Then a white stranger appears, claiming Roxy is his wife! He whispers to her to go along with the ruse, as it is the only way to save her from the Indians’ clutches. Roxy must now submit to this smoldering dark man by sharing his bed to prove to the Indians they are husband and wife, then they will be set free.

Caleb Coleman is the roughest, toughest long-hunter in Kentucky. Caleb is known to both the whites and the Indians as a man to be reckoned with. One taste of Roxanne in his bed is not enough; Caleb has decided he is “keeping” Roxy. However Roxy has other plans, and they don’t include becoming this frontiersman’s mistress! Roxanne wants what she left behind in Boston, what polite society demands, a husband and a home. So if she must marry neighboring homesteader, Seth Hale to have it - even if her heart has already been lost to Caleb - she will do it. But Seth may not be all he pretends to be, and Caleb wants nothing more then to expose Seth for what he truly is.

OK, I have to call it like it is. Caleb's Bride by bestselling author Norah Hess was originally written and released in 1978. The writing in this novel reflects a lot of the attitudes that were prevalent during that time. The book is riddled with graphic, unnecessary-to-the-storyline sex scenes reminiscent of the swinging seventies. Bed hopping is rampant, there were way too many characters to keep track of, and Roxy saying every other page how much she hated Caleb, when all she really wanted was his love began to become tiresome very quickly. The ending doesn’t give the reader the emotional payoff so deserving for struggling to finish this book. These two spend almost the entire story at each other’s throats, and in other lover’s arms. However I did find Caleb an unusual kind of hero. He is a crude, hard man that uses his backwoods know-how to uncover espionage and fight for his country. Norah Hess proved to me that you do improve with age and experience. Stick with Norah Hess’ later novels, and leave this one back in the 70’s where it belongs.

Reviewed in December 2003 by Bonnie.

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