Monday, November 17, 2008

Hawk's Woman by Madeline Baker

TITLE: Hawk’s Woman
AUTHOR: Madeline Baker
PUBLISHER: Cerridwen Press
LENGTH: Novel (roughly 91k)
GENRE: Historical romance
COST: $6.99

Seventeen year-old Hallie McIntyre has led a life as sheltered as it comes. Left alone at a young age, she was raised first by her grandmother and then by a convent of nuns. Now, on the eve of becoming a nun herself, she finds a man half-dead in their garden, and helps hide to protect him, nursing him back to health. John Walking Hawk has spent the last two years hunting down and killing the men who killed his parents, and raped and murdered his wife. The law has finally started to catch up with him. He has no desire to do anything but find the last one eluding him and return to his daughter, but Hallie’s gentle presence throws a kink into all of his plans…

I am not the type of reader who goes off in search of everything there is to know about an author after I read him/her. My interest is in the story, so I usually only go to author’s websites and poke around when I love their work and want to find out where to get it. I also try and find websites for the purpose of my reviews, which is the only reason I went to find Madeline Baker’s. Now, if I’d gone there first instead of after reading the book, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to buy this. Because I found out that the author also writes under the pseudonym Amanda Ashley, who I have never been able to enjoy, either.

I know it doesn’t bother some people, but the biggest thing holding me back from getting anywhere near invested in this story is the headhopping. It doesn’t start out too bad, but it doesn’t take too long before it’s fairly consistent. This is one of my characteristics as a reader. I’m immersive. I need to sink into character or place in order to best enjoy it. I love well-done 1st person stories because of that. But it also means that when a story hops paragraph to paragraph – and short paragraphs, at that – from one person’s head to another, I have no time to get into that person’s head. I’d rather be completely in touch with one character’s feelings extremely well than a lot of characters not at all. So I just never really felt much of anything for anybody in this book.

It doesn’t help that Hallie is a mere babe. Clay is one of the few men she’s even seen in her lifetime. She knows little of the world, little of most people. I found it difficult to believe that her feelings for him were anything more than idolatry or puppy love. On the other hand, Clay has emotions all over the place. He’s disparaging of Hallie in the beginning, determined to get away, and then in the blink of an eye, he’s hugely attracted to her. He changes his mind on certain issues at a pin drop. With the lack of connectability within the prose itself, I never really understood or cared about these changes.

In a lot of ways, it feels like one of the very first romances I ever read when I was twelve. A lot of stuff happens to these two. One or the both of them are in constant danger. She is starry-eyed, and he is tortured and misunderstood, two things I used to eat up with a spoon (and still do on the hero part, a lot of the time). Maybe I’m just getting jaded from having spent two decades reading romance, or that I can’t relate to a 17 y/o girl who has ultimate faith in God and zero exposure to the real world. Either is a distinct possibility. But in the end, it doesn’t really matter, because I still didn’t like the book.


5/10 – The consistent headhopping is a serious problem for me.


5/10 – His emotions seem to be all over the place which makes it hard to believe any of them


4/10 – So sheltered and so naïve, I can’t believe this is a romance that’ll last

Entertainment value

3/10 – At least stuff happens in this…even if a lot of it is eye roll-worthy

World building

8/10 – The details are there – especially for the Lakota world – but not rich enough to immerse me in the story.



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