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Catherine Anderson
I’m delighted to welcome New York Times Bestselling Author CATHERINE ANDERSON to Rakes and Rascals today for an exclusive interview.

I’m even more delighted to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me!

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R&R:

Could you tell us where you were born and what it was like growing up there?

Catherine:
I was born in Grants Pass, a small town in southern Oregon. It was a fabulous place to grow up. We lived on a cul-de-sac off a very long street lined on both sides with nice houses. I’d guess there were thirty or forty kids of varying ages, so I had a group of friends close to my age. It was a safe place, so our parents let us run free. Nearby there were two large, vacant parcels of land, one which served as a baseball field and the other as a place to simply play. My mom, who was a writer, also loved to sew, and she began making outfits for my dolls. My little friends were so envious that she began clothing practically every doll on the street. She was so clever and creative with leftover scraps of cloth, making evening gowns, daytime outfits, swim suits, nurse uniforms, and all manner of other things. That led to little girls gathering at my house to play dolls with eager glances at my mom to see what she might make next. She kept a spotless house, but she always set aside time for writing, and then she would spend an hour sewing doll outfits while little girls were scrambling around on her living room floor.

It was not uncommon for us kids to see what other mothers were cooking as the sun began to set, and if it was something that sounded better than the dinner being served at home, we’d ask if we could eat there. That gave me an opportunity to learn what other families were like and how they lived. All the moms were so good about it, and sometimes staying for dinner turned into staying all night. I’m not sure how hold I was, but one time after dinner, I was invited to spend the night with my very best friend, Betty, who lived right across from us on the cul-de-sac. We were the same age. At bath time, my mother always supervised me, never my dad. But at Betty’s house, her father was in charge of baths. When it came bedtime, he herded us into the bathroom. I was horrified. No way was I going to strip naked in front of Betty’s dad! He was a really nice man, and he let me off the hook. Betty went to bed squeaky clean, and I went to bed after a wash cloth bath with no private part of my body exposed.

My brother, eight years older than me, had Asperger’s Syndrome, undiagnosed at that time, a condition normally caused by lack of oxygen to the brain at birth. He was a little different, but a boy named Billy who lived in a farmhouse at the opposite end of the baseball field befriended him, and they became best buds. They’d jump on their bikes and go all over town, then play baseball until dark. I often filled in if they needed a player, which earned me a couple of hits on my face from the ball. I was much younger and not a very good catcher. My brother Tommy loved Billy. One horrible day, they left together on their bikes, and Tommy came home alone, his eyes swollen from crying and his face pasty white. A semi-truck had clipped Billy’s bike, and Billy fell toward the truck. He was killed instantly. I remember how my brother grieved, and I also witnessed the impact on Billy’s parents and siblings. I would walk to their house because Tommy just couldn’t. Looking back on it, I think my brother blamed himself for some reason. I’d take cookies my mom made and stuff like that. That farmhouse, which had always been such a happy place, filled with noise from all the kids, had become silent. To this day, I can see the face of Billy’s mother, pale and gaunt, with black circles under her eyes, and I also recall his sisters trying their best to smile at me, but the gestures were hollow, just a curve of their lips. The loss of Billy was my first experience with sudden, accidental death, and it marked my heart in some way that I can’t really explain. But that depth I acquired by being so close to tragedy never really left me. To this day my stomach clenches when I see kids riding bicycles on busy streets or roads. I think those experiences helped me immensely later when I began writing professionally and developing characters for my books. I learned at a young age that no matter how different people may look, they all have things in common and feelings that run deep.

When I was seven, my parents were divorced, and eventually my mother could no longer afford to live in what was then a high-end neighbourhood. My folks had an old rental house where they had lived earlier in their marriage, so, when I was ten, my mom sold the trendy house and we moved back to the old, icky house. For me and my brother, it was like moving into a tomb. The neighbours were all elderly. There were no kids on our block. I finally met a girl my age over on the next street. Then a younger couple with four kids purchased a large home across the street. Later I discovered that a bedbound girl my age lived a few doors down, and I would go to visit her after school. She had some sort of blood condition, but in my estimation, she was the most beautiful girl I’d ever seen.

I had a dog named Coaly who had a high-wire run in our backyard that allowed him full access to our lawn and a few feet over the property line onto the yard of an elderly woman next door. She was, in a word, cantankerous. I was around twelve when her penchant for being difficult blossomed into full-blown irascibility. Our yards bordered each other from front to back, and my father had planted a privacy hedge years before that had grown to be about ten feet tall. Every year my stepfather would trim it back, but that year, the old woman emerged from her house, brandishing her cane, to tell him he could trim the top of the hedge on his side but not on hers, and she also forbade him to prune her side of a huge tree, which grew at the front corner of the property line. She also complained often about my dog, Coaly, which made me resent her even more.

One afternoon my mother mused aloud to me that she believed Mrs. Randall was just lonely. She said that lonely people sometimes became difficult in order to get attention. She suggested that I start visiting Mrs. Randall after school. Ha! I was terrified of that old lady! But my mother insisted, and off I went to stand on Mrs. Randall’s front porch, staring at her door and trembling from head to toe. When Mrs. Randall answered my knock, she asked, “What on earth do you want?” Or something to that effect. I stammered out that I had come to visit. She looked at me with unveiled suspicion but finally invited me in.

She was a fragile, stooped little lady with snow-white hair worn in an old-fashioned twist. She wore a very prim dress, thick brown hosiery, and sturdy black pumps. Her tiny, shadowy house was filled with ornate knick-knacks. She offered me a seat on her sofa and went to the kitchen to prepare tea. I was afraid to drink from the pretty, delicate cup and confessed to her that I might accidentally break it. She flapped her hand and told me not to be silly. So we settled in for a chat, only we had nothing in common. So I asked Mrs. Randall to please tell me stories about the olden days. She didn’t know where to start. Even at twelve, I was already penning love stories, so I asked her to tell me about when she met her husband.

It turned out to be a fabulous afternoon. I could have listened to her stories until bedtime. After that, I went to see Mrs. Randall almost every day. I came to love her in a way I never thought possible. She came to love my dog Coaly, and her only complaint about him after that was that when she fed him goodies on her back porch, he ate the food and then her plastic dishes. My mother solved that issue by providing Mrs. Randall with heavy crock bowls for my dog. Mrs. Randall became convinced that Coaly was her loyal protector, and perhaps he was. At some point, Mrs. Randall hired a handyman to do some work on her shed. Coaly hurled himself at the man, trying to attack him, and was foiled only when he hit the end of the chain. Mrs. Randall fired the handyman on the spot. When I got home and she told me, I was appalled. Coaly hated strange men who came onto our property carrying things. He tried to bite the farmer who brought us fresh milk once a week. He detested the mail man. The handyman had, of course, arrived with tools, a shovel, and a rake. But Mrs. Randall would hear none of my explanations for Coaly’s attitude toward the worker. Wagging her finger at my nose, she said that dogs can sense things we can’t. If Coaly disliked that man, she would take the dog’s word for it, and she advised me to do the same. The next time my stepdad went out to trim our hedge, Mrs. Randall tottered over to ask him if he would trim her side as well.

One day when I got home from school, Mama gathered me close for a hug and said she had some bad news. Mrs. Randall had fallen and broken her hip. I assumed the doctor could fix it for her, but my mother quickly explained that a broken hip was normally a death sentence for an elderly person. Mrs. Randall would not be easily moved into different bed positions because it would be so painful for her, and eventually she would probably die of pneumonia. (This was a few years before doctors began doing hip replacements.) Mrs. Randall had been placed in a private care facility, an old house a few blocks away. I immediately set off to find my friend. She was in a great deal of pain, and it broke my heart to see her suffering. Mrs. Randall thanked me for coming and then waved me away, saying the care facility was no place for a girl to be. In retrospect, I think she saw that I was about to burst into tears.

I tried to go back a time or two, as I recall, but the visits depressed me and made me so sad. Eventually I gave up and never returned to see Mrs. Randall. I regret that to this day. In retrospect, I realize that I was young, but another part of me will always feel guilty for abandoning that sweet old lady. A few months later, my mother told me that Mrs. Randall had indeed fallen ill with pneumonia and passed away. I walked back to the private caregiving facility and stood on the sidewalk, sobbing. I felt so awful for not going every day to see her.

Growing up in Grants Pass formed me into the person I am now. I have rich and wonderful memories. In the case of Mrs. Randall, I learned that difficult elderly people are sometimes only crying out for a friend. By moving from a high-end part of town to an old, seedy part of town, I learned that you shouldn’t judge people for the clothing they wear, the homes that they have, or how well-educated they are. You can meet truly wonderful individuals in all walks of life, and from each of them, you may learn something.

R&R:
How would you describe yourself – temperamental or easy-going?

Catherine:
I think I’m a mixture of both, actually. I’m one of those people who tries to avoid confrontation, so normally I’m easy-going. That said, in doing this, I sometimes allow small and repeated aggravations to build within me, and sooner or later, I explode. That catches people by surprise and isn’t really fair to the person with whom I lose my temper. It is better to deal with situations as they occur, I think. But doing that doesn’t come easily to me.

R&R:
When it comes to food do you like sweet or savoury or both?

Catherine:
I used to have a sweet tooth, but now I’m more into savoury. I can, however, devour an entire batch of meringue kisses in short order. I only make them once or twice a year, knowing when I do that I’ll eat them nonstop until they’re gone. One night, I calculated the calories in a batch of them and discovered the whole works was less than six hundred. That made me feel slightly better, but I still don’t often indulge. My last night in New Zealand, I spotted meringue kisses in a store. I bought two packages. When we got back to my son’s house, I offered to share the cookies with others, but no one else really liked them. Yes, I ate every single one and wished I had grabbed another package!

R&R:
What is your most treasured possession?

Catherine:
That is a really difficult question. I have many possessions that mean a great deal to me. Less than a year before he died, my husband and the love of my life, wanted to give me a very special birthday gift. I think he knew it would be the last one from him. So he searched high and low on the Internet for an antique Underwood typewriter, the same kind that my mother had written stories on when I was a very young child. He finally found one, and he refused to tell me how much it cost. I was so surprised when I saw it that I burst into tears. It was such a thoughtful gesture on his part. I will always treasure that old typewriter.


Standing by the curio cabinet where the Underwood is displayed on the bottom shelf

R&R:
If you were able to afford a second home anywhere in the world where would you choose and why?

Catherine:
I’ve discovered that I’m not really a second-home person. Sid and I bought a gorgeous townhouse on a resort in Hawaii, and I was miserable there because I missed my dogs. So I think, if I ever purchase another second home, it would be here in North America so that I could take my dogs, canary, cats, and chickens to stay there with me. I may soon be moving to Montana with my son John, so perhaps I will purchase a second home here in Oregon so that I can return for visits.

R&R:
Finally, what has been your most embarrassing moment?

Catherine:
Oh, man, that is a really tough one to answer. I have had many embarrassing moments! But I think the very worst one was when I accidentally nailed a man in the groin with a book bag when I was attending college. I married young and waited to further my education until I was thirty-three. My husband and I had a business. I had kids and a household to manage. Time was a precious commodity, and I couldn’t see wasting long stretches of it by walking back and forth to a locker. Sid bought me a huge book bag, and I loaded it up with all my heavy tomes.

That particular day there was a final in my economics class. There was one other older person in the class, a guy about my age, and all the other students were young. They hurried through the exam, leaving only me and the other older person to stay until the professor said our time was up. As I left the room, I dragged the weighty book bag along behind me on the floor. I needed an open area to swing the book bag forward and back so I could get the strap over my shoulder. Once in the hall, I began swinging the monster. As the bag swung back, I felt it connect with something and heard a grunt. I whirled around to see my fellow student on his knees and hunched forward.

I immediately knew where I had struck him. He was in the classic position of a male who had just been drop-kicked. I abandoned my bag and ran back to him. I fluttered around him, repeatedly saying, “Oh, my God. I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” When he finally recovered a bit, he looked up at me, and in a high-pitched soprano voice, he said, “I think I’m fine.”

When I related this story to Sid that evening, he laughed until tears ran down his cheeks.

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Thank you for taking time out to be here today and sharing these interesting facts about yourself, Catherine.

It has been my pleasure. I hope I didn’t go on for too long. It’s a fault of mine. I am a storyteller, after all.


If you would like to find out more about Catherine and her books, here are the links:

Website
Goodreads
Facebook
Twitter

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I have been tagged to do the Disney Book Tag by the lovely Frankie of Chicks, Rogues and Scandals Blog

 

This was one Tag Game I was happy to do because it presented such an interesting challenge. So without further ado, here is my selection.


The Little Mermaid: a character who is out of their element, a fish out of water.


My choice is Mick Tremore from Judith Ivory’s The Proposition, a cocky Cornish ratcatcher who has to pass himself off as a gentleman.

 

Cinderella: a character who goes through a major transformation.

This has to be “Charming” Mickey O’Connor from Elizabeth Hoyt’s Scandalous Desires (Maiden Lane, #3), the ultimate bad boy who transforms into a swoon-worthy hero.

 

Snow White: a book with an eclectic cast of characters.


I’m selecting Renee Bernard’s Devil May Care which is full of unique and off-beat characters.

 

Sleeping Beauty: a book that put you to sleep


I can’t really recall any books that put me to sleep so I’m selecting Lisa Kleypas’s Crystal Cove (Friday Harbor, #4) which turned out to be a tremendous disappointment.

 

The Lion King: a character who had something traumatic happen to them in childhood.


Amy Masters from Catherine Anderson’s Comanche Heart (Comanche, #2) is my choice here. She suffered a terrible ordeal at the age of twelve, when captured by a band of Comancheros.

 

Beauty and the Beast: a beast of a book (a big book) that you were intimidated by but found the story to be beautiful.


This is not so much a book as a whole series. J. R. Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series is now on its 13th book and that equates to an awful lot of pages!!

 

Aladdin: a character that gets their wish granted, for better or worse.


Sebastion St. Vincent in Lisa Kleypas’s The Devil in Winter (Wallflowers, #3) is in need of a fortune and wishes for a miracle which comes in a unlikely form.

 

Mulan: a character who pretends to be something or someone they’re not.


In Tessa Dare’s Any Duchess Will Do (Spindle Cove, #4) barmaid Pauline Simms pretends to be a future duchess.

 

Toy Story: a book with characters you wish would come to life.

It has to be all the characters from Lisa Kleypas’s wonderful Wallflowers series.

 

Disney descendants: your favourite villain or morally ambiguous character.


No hesitation here, it has to be the deliciously wicked Viscount Ludovic DeVere from Victoria Vane’s The Devil DeVere series.

 

I am not tagging anyone but, if any of my fellow bloggers would like to take part in the Disney Book Tag, please feel free to do so.

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“When your head tells you one thing and your heart another, listen to your heart. It tells no lies.” (Hunter Wolf)

 

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(Comanche, #4)

Genre: Historical Romance (Western)

Cover Blurb:

Handsome, strong, and just a little bit dangerous, half-Comanche Chase Wolf is used to getting what he wants. So when he sees Franny — a golden-haired angel with deep green eyes, delicate features, and the sweetest smile — he sets out to make her his. But far from the innocent she seems, Franny is the local “unfortunate,” who services men above the Lucky Nugget salon. The shocking truth sends Chase reeling.

Long ago, circumstance forced Franny to make a terrible choice in order to provide for those she holds dearest. Now she lives a secret double life — respectable in one world, shunned in another — always fearful of discovery, forever marked by shame.

But Chase’s love for Franny is persistent and patient and knows no bounds. He offers her a life she longs to claim but believes she can’t possibly deserve. Franny tries to resist Chase, but he won’t listen to reason, and he won’t stop trying until her defenses have fallen, her heart is healed, and their love has triumphed

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I loved this book! Catherine Anderson really tugged at my heart strings with this beautiful and deeply moving story of sorrow and heartache but also compassion, understanding, love and redemption. Ms Anderson always impresses me with the emotional depth of her writing and her ability to draw me into the lives of her characters and make me care deeply about them.

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What struck Chase was how sweet and innocent she looked, the kind who made a man want to fight mountain lions for her and win.

A prostitute as a heroine shouldn’t work on many levels but Ms Anderson made Franny such a unique and sympathetic character that my heart ached for her.  I didn’t see her as she sees herself – a lost soul and soiled – I saw a lovely, sweet, innocent, warm person who had selflessly sacrificed so much for those she loved. She needed someone who could love her and prove to her that she was worthy of being loved. Chase was just that person.

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She had known lots of men, but none had made her feel like this, as if she had been waiting all her life to set eyes on him.

I lost my heart to Chase.  His hero status is a bit shaky at first…

“Stay away from my sister and her kids. The last thing she needs is a tarnished little whore playing on her sympathy and messing up her life.”

but, with a little wisdom from his father, he soon becomes a wonderful hero who is kind, patient and compassionate, willing to love Franny unconditionally. I sighed when he told her:

“You are one in a million. Beautiful, sweet, desirable. Being with you makes me feel ten feet tall.”

I was so proud when he confronts Franny’s  self-centred family with some hard home truths.

The romance is handled with sensitivity and the scene where Chase finally makes love to Franny is both beautiful and sensual.

I love Chase’s wonderful parents; his full-blooded Comanche father, Hunter – purer of heart and noble to his bone – and his mother, Loretta – with a heart the size of Texas. Hunter follows the old ways and he imparts so many pearls of wisdom.

“The standards you set—only a saint could live by them, and I’m no saint. Not anything close.”

“They are a map I drew for you, Chase, nothing more. I tried to mark the way clearly, but as with all maps, there is more than one route. You must choose the way you will go.” (Hunter to Chase)

“Around here, no one will trip you, so you need not watch your feet. If you stumble, one of us will catch you from falling. So look up, yes? The best things in life are ahead of you, daughter. If you hang your head, you may miss them.” (Hunter to Franny)

I love how the whole Wolf family are willing to embrace Franny and accept her without hesitation.

The Epilogue left me with a deep sigh of satisfaction and a few tears.

This is the final book in Ms Anderson’s outstanding Comanche series and a story that really touches the heart. This is a series not to be missed.

REVIEW RATING:  5/5 Stars

SENSUALITY RATING: WARM

Read March 2014

Comanche series (click on book covers for more details):

Comanche Moon (Comanche, #1) Comanche Heart (Comanche #2) Indigo Blue (Comanche, #3) Comanche Magic (Comanche, #4)

 

 

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I have over 250 books on my TBR pile and I’m determined to make inroads into reducing that number by the end of the year. So I’m challenging myself to read each month…

~ A book that has been languishing at the bottom of my pile
~ A book by a new-to-me author
~ A book in a continuing series or a completely new series
~ A book by one of my favourite authors
~ A book selected completely at random

This is my list of books for March…


A book that has been languishing at the bottom of my pile:

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HE WOVE A SPELL AROUND HER HEART

Handsome and powerful, with enough Comanche blood coursing through his veins to make him a little bit dangerous, Chase Wolf was used to getting what he wanted. So when Chase saw Franny–a golden-haired angel with deep green eyes, delicate features, and the sweetest smile–he set out to make her his.

As tempted as Franny was, she had too many secrets to let someone enter her world–secrets that would send any reasonable man packing. But Chase was far from reasonable, and despite her desperate attempts to push him away, he would not let her past destroy their future. For his Comanche heart knew that no price was too great to pay for love, happiness, and most of all, magic.

A book by a new-to-me author:

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How to Stop a Wedding

Young, widowed, and penniless, Lily Andrews, the Countess of Merrill,has strong opinions on marriage. When she spots a certain engagement announcement in The Times, she decides to take action. She will not allow another hapless girl to fall prey to a man—particularly the scoundrel who broke her heart five years ago. Anonymously she writes and distributes a pamphlet entitled “Secrets of a Wedding Night,” knowing it will find its way into his intended’s innocent hands…

How to Seduce a Widow

Devon Morgan, the Marquis of Colton, desires a good wife and mother to his son—someone completely unlike Lily Andrews, the heartless beauty who led him on a merry chase five years ago only to reject him. When Devon’s new fiancée cries off after reading a certain scandalous pamphlet, he vows to track down the author and make her pay. But when he learns it’s his former fiancée Lily, he issues a challenge: write a retraction or prepare to be seduced—to find out how wonderful a wedding night can be…

A book in a continuing series or a completely new series:

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Like all the Jaded Gentlemen, Dr. Rowan West may have his secrets, but he’s done his best to forgive the ghosts of his past and move on with his life. Until the beautiful Miss Gayle Renshaw appears on his doorstep, jeopardizing his medical practice, his reputation, and, worst of all, his heart.

In her desperation to become a doctor, Gayle uses what she knows of Rowan’s fiancée’s mysterious death to blackmail him into taking her on as an apprentice. With his back against the wall, Rowan agrees, but quickly discovers that Gayle isn’t as heartless as she seems. Captivated by his tenacious and brilliant new student, Rowan finds himself surrendering to temptation, just as the enemies of the Jaded start to encroach. Now, with both their lives threatened, Rowan may be forced to give up the woman he loves to save her life…

A book by one of my favourite authors:

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An arranged marriage is daunting, but not as daunting as seducing a spouse whose passions you do not understand…

Derek Charles Holbrook, Viscount Banfield, knew his fate since he was seventeen when his father announced his union to the beautiful but mysterious American girl by the name of Miss Grey.
To protect the troubled estate, Derek submits to his father’s wishes, not realizing he’s about to entangle himself in a hell of a lot more than marriage.

Miss Clementine Henrietta Grey may be worth millions, but not a single coin has ever bought her a smidge of happiness. When she marries the charasmatic and dashing Viscount Banfield, whose only strife in life appears to be the uneven seams in his coat, she finds that siring the heir he wants requires far more than her heart is prepared to give.

Unable to seduce his overly-serious and reluctant wife, Derek realizes his dreams of creating a loving family has turned into a nightmare. But with the unexpected assistance of a retired courtesan and her outrageous school, Derek and Clementine discover that passion is a language spoken not just from the body, but from the mind, heart and soul.

A book selected completely at random:

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Fate has thrown two sworn enemies…

Of all the hotel rooms rented by all the adulterous politicians in Chicago, female Assistant U.S. Attorney Cameron Lynde had to choose the one next to 1308, where some hot-and-heavy lovemaking ends with a death. And of all the FBI agents in Illinois, it had to be Special Agent Jack Pallas who gets assigned to this high-profile homicide. The same Jack Pallas who still blames Cameron for a botched crackdown three years ago—and for nearly ruining his career.

Into each other’s arms…

Work with Cameron Lynde? Are they kidding? Maybe, Jack thinks, this is some kind of welcome-back prank after his stint away from Chicago. But it’s no joke; the pair is going to have to put their rocky past behind them and focus on the case at hand. That is, if they can cut back on the razor-sharp jibes—and smother the flame of their sizzling-hot sexual tension.

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COMANCHE SERIES 3

Torn between the white and Comanche worlds of her parents, Indigo Wolf has grown up estranged from the townspeople of Wolf’s Landing, Orgeon. No one understands her elusive spirit-until Jake Rand comes to town to act as foreman of her family’s ranch. But Jake’s real motives are as secret as his true identity, and as personal as his growing attraction to Indigo.

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I thoroughly enjoyed this book although it didn’t quite have the same emotional impact as the previous two books in the series, Comanche Moon and Comanche Heart. Once again, Catherine Anderson transported me back to 1885, to the mining town of Wolf’s Landing and into the world of Hunter and Loretta Wolf and their daughter, Indigo, the heroine of this book.

This book explores the growing relationship between Indigo and Jake with all its emotional turmoil and Catherine Anderson is so adept at drawing you into the lives of her characters and making you really care about them.

A terrible experience when Indigo was younger has left her with a deep distrust and fear of white men in general. Things she’s heard about how a white man treats an Indian wife do nothing to reassure her.

Given the circumstances, I can fully understand Indigo’s initial horror at having to marry Jake. After all, he’s a virtual stranger and a white man, two good reasons for distrusting him! Fearful for her safety, after further incidents at the mine, Jake forbids her to go to the mine or to go anywhere on her own. In Indigo’s eyes, Jake’s actions only serve to reinforce her opinions of him; she has become a virtual prisoner:

All the things she had always counted on had been snatched away, Lobo, the support of her parents, the home where she’d grown up, the mine, and her mountains. Even her name was different. Not Indigo Wolf anymore, but Indigo Rand. She felt like a cup that had been drained and left empty.

I think this shows a stubborn streak in Indigo and also a certain amount of immaturity because she’s not willing to see that her safety is Jake’s only concern.

Jake treats her with nothing but kindness, gentleness and patience and so I was frustrated with Indigo’s continuing antagonistic attitude towards him. It’s only when Indigo finally opens her heart to Jake that I realised just how deeply her past experiences had coloured her outlook on life and why she found it so difficult to trust Jake.

I liked Jake from the start because of his concern for those people affected by his father’s actions and his intention to go to Wolf’s Landing personally to investigate. He’s a man with a conscience.

His relationship with Indigo is complex. He is attracted to her from the beginning but won’t act on it because he feels guilty about lusting after his host’s daughter. Not to mention that he considers himself much too old for her. She is very different from the ladies in Portland and he is fascinated by her and when he offers to marry Indigo to protect her reputation, he’s not just being honourable:

If he were brutally honest, he had to admit that the thought of marrying her wasn’t totally repugnant. She appealed to him in a way he couldn’t define. He could almost taste how sweet her dusky-rose lips would be, how silken her skin. A man could suffer far worse fates.

Jake’s very patient with Indigo, always considering her feelings, even when it comes to consummating the marriage. I wasn’t surprised when he eventually loses patience with her and vents all his frustrations but this proves to be the catalyst for them to admit their love for each other. The consummation scene comes towards the end of the book but it is so beautiful and poignant that the paucity of love scenes didn’t affect my overall enjoyment of the book.

There are some funny moments in the book which had me giggling to myself particularly when Father O’Grady is talking to Jake about Indigo’s confession and when Indigo asks the local prostitute, Franny, for advice about her wedding night!

Although the action only forms a background to the love story, there is a nail-biting climax which will have you on the edge of your seat.

VERDICT: Catherine Anderson has again crafted a beautiful and tender love story

RATING : ★★★★★

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COMANCHE SERIES BOOK 2

Years ago, Amy Masters escaped the Texas plains for a quiet life as a teacher in Oregon. Then, out of the shadows comes Swift Antelope, the Comanche warrior to whom she once pledged her heart. But Amy’s brutal past has made it impossible for her to trust any man-even the bold warrior who has haunted her dreams, the only man she ever loved, the Comanche heart she can’t live without…

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This is a powerful and beautiful love story with a tremendous emotional impact. It’s a book that stayed with me long after I had finished reading it.

I really felt for Swift when he constantly tried to regain Amy’s trust with such determination and patience only to suffer her scorn and constant rejection. The scene where he is humiliated in front of a classroom of children is truly heart-rending. I couldn’t understand, at first, why he would put himself through all this. Later it is apparent that building a new life in Wolf’s Landing with Amy is his last chance to escape his past which he knows will ultimately mean his death at the hands of someone who is faster on the draw –

“Do you think I rode two thousand miles on a whim? I was running, dammit, running for my life!”

I love the way he tells Amy how much he loves her and wants her:

“That’s an L, as in love, and I love you more than I’ll ever be able to tell you with words. I want to tell you in other ways. In the way I kiss you. In the way I touch you. In the way I hold you. Won’t you let me say it my way, just once?”

So romantic!!

When he discovers the terrible secret Amy has been keeping buried for so many years, he is willing to leave rather than cause her any more pain, knowing the possible consequences for him. This is where I really fell in love with Swift’s character because he is willing to make such a great sacrifice for her.

I felt for Amy because of all she had suffered but I was so annoyed with the way she constantly spurned Swift. I wanted her to see beyond his outer appearance and recognise he was still the Swift she knew and loved and trust him enough to take a chance. Once I learned the shameful secret she’d been hiding from everyone, her reactions to Swift and what he represented made sense.

When Swift tells her he’s leaving, I could feel the turmoil Amy is going through – this is what she wants but, without him, her life will be empty. It’s such an emotional scene when Swift sees her running after him and she finally admits she loves him and wants him to stay. The love scene where Swift first makes love to Amy is so beautiful and sensual, a testament to Catherine Anderson’s wonderful writing.

There are some really very funny scenes in the book which help to relieve the tension. I particularly enjoyed the one where Amy is trying to evade Swift and climbs out of her kitchen window, only to get stuck half way. The dialogue between the two had me laughing out loud.

Catherine Anderson really impressed me with the emotional depth of her writing and I could fill a notebook with all the memorable quotes. I cannot recommend this book enough and it is definitely a keeper for me.

VERDICT:  A TRULY WONDERFUL BOOK – A MUST READ!

RATING: STELLAR ★★★★★

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