Saturday, September 3, 2011

Catherine Anderson -- Cheyenne Amber

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ .   {4.95}
Action: ♠♠♠♠. / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥. / Sensuous: ♦ / Suspense: ♠♠
Action: 4.5 / Emotion: 5 / Romance: 4.5 / Sensuous: 1 / Suspense: 2 / Western Flavor: 4 // Humor: 21 / Tears: 8

The are several reasons why absolutely loved Cheyenne Amber by Catherine Anderson.   First, have always been a fan of western romances, particularly those that feature Indians or Half-breeds.   Second, Catherine Anderson is a favorite author, so was pre-disposed towards enjoying the book before even opening the cover.   Third, loved the hero's personality; namely, his confidence, his maleness, his disregard for polite society, his ability to overcome the obstacles thrown in his path (both physical and emotional).   Fourth, the book is peppered with laugh-out-loud humor as the hero and heroine communicate on totally different wave-lengths.   Fifth, became emotionally invested in the plight of the hero and heroine, suffering pangs of sympathy with tears.

The prologue introduces the heroine's husband, Tristan Cheney, a ne'er-do-well, who is gambling with the leader of a band of Comancheros, Francisco Gonzales.   Tristan finally meets a man who has no tolerance for his glib tongue and decides rather than taking Tristan's offer to indulge in his wife's favors as a means of paying off his gambling debts, he would rather have Tristan's wife permanently.   As the story progresses, it becomes obvious that Gonzales, basically, did Laura Cheney a big favor by removing the wife beating, fortune hunter from her life.   As the plot revealed more and more of Tristan's worthlessness, several times wondered how such a well-educated, wealthy Boston debutante could have ended up being married to such a scoundrel.   It seemed that Tristan must have once been an amazingly smooth-talking devil when he convinced Laura to marry him, because his current persuasive powers did not seem all that impressive.   It wasn't until the last pages of the book that the real reason Laura married Tristan came to light.

Anderson displayed her creative skills at story-telling by keeping the reader on edge for quite a few pages before she revealed how the evil-hearted Francisco Gonzales failed to abduct the totally-inept broom-toting Laura when he stole her newborn son, Jonathan Christopher Cheney.   When Laura headed into Denver to find someone to help her rescue her son, another facet of Anderson's skill that was richly featured in Cheyenne Amber was her ability to entertain the reader with side-splitting laughter during what should have been very serious conversations between Laura and the wonderfully irreverent Deke Sheridan.   The tone that was to follow Deke and Laura throughout their story was set during their initial meeting:

Laura had taken all the kicks in the teeth that she intended to for one day.   Men!   Every last one of the them was bent on keeping women in their place, subservient, pregnant, and helpless.   Yet where were they when emergencies cropped up?   Off somewhere frying bigger fish.   Rage reached a flash point inside her so quickly that she didn't take time to consider her next move, she simply acted.   With no memory of having drawn it from the holster, she somehow had Tristan's gun in her hand.   The piano music and singing simply stopped.
"To blazes with your miserable cows.   My son, could be dying while you sit there nursing that stupid bottle and I can't waste precious time hunting up another man.   Unless you want your hide aerated, you'll come with me peacefully."
Deke had never heard the word aerated, but when he saw the Cheney woman's gun from the corner of his eye, it wasn't difficult to get her gist.   In his thirty-one years he had found himself at the wrong end of a pistol more times that he cared to count, and his usual reaction was to slap leather.   His speed had saved his life more than once.   But this was the first time a white-faced, trembling female had ever pulled a gun on him.   Taken aback, he was a split second slower on the draw than normal, and in that second, he managed to control his reflexes.   In the next heartbeat, he was damned glad of it.   The silly little fool didn't even have the hammer cocked.
And so started the stand offs and impressive forays into amazing dialogue between Deke and Laura.   Immediately upon meeting Deke, and the words that flowed from his mouth, the perception that he was illiterate presented itself.   Soon thereafter, it was also apparent that while Deke may not have been schooled in etiquette, grammar and higher education, he was anything but stupid.   He had been very well educated in the school of hard knocks.

One aspect of Deke's personality that was so intriguing was his blatant disregard for what other people thought.   As Deke said to himself multiple times during the book, "he was who he was."   Another aspect of Deke's personality was his ability to go from sounding like an illiterate hick, who flavored his conversations with "ain't," improper grammar, curse words and constantly making fun of the big words that Laura threw at him during her tirades, to sounding Tibetan-monk wise when he spoke in Cheyenne to his soul-brother, Black Stone.

"That's because you ain't sure where you're at, you ain't sure where you're goin', and you don't got the --" .   .   .   "You don't got the know-how to figure out either one." (page 81)

"I am filled with such sorrow, brother.   I weep inside over the child you have lost.   But I cannot cut my own child from my heart to end your grief." (page 193)
Laura was the complete opposite of Deke.   She was the well-educated, incredibly proper, disowned daughter of a Boston industrialist.   Her lack of survival skills in the Colorado Rockies was further hampered by the lack of self-confidence instilled by Tristan's mistreatment and constant periods of abandonment.   The one venue that Tristan's fist did not curb was Laura's tendency to express her opinions.   Many times Deke quaintly expressed his amazement at Laura's inability to quit talking.

"You can talk up one side of a man and down the other so fast, he don't know what hit him." (page 82)
"She couldn't even say no without tonguing the subject to death." (page 132)
"The girl had a tongue she could wrap around a post and still have wag to spare." (page 234)
Laura's courage and bravery, in spite of difficult odds, was admirable.   Even though she was full of distrust towards men, she kept trying to make her way in their world.   For the longest time, did not think Deke would ever get through the brick wall that Laura had put around her heart, determined to never let another man have control over her life.   What a revelation it was to Laura to find there was freedom in sharing her life with a man who trusted her and treated her as an equal.

Loved the addition of Okema (Cheyenne for Chief) to the story.   The tale of how Deke came to own the dog was a clever way of imparting that Deke had a kind heart underneath his hardened exterior.   The addition of Chief added greatly to the enjoyment and warmth of the story.

The secondary characters from the short time Deke and Laura spent in the Cheyenne camp after they found Jonathan added great depth to the development of the main characters.   The conversations and camaraderie that were shared between Deke and Black Stone displayed a wonderful insight into the vulnerabilities of Deke's heart.   It also vividly revealed that although he lived in the white man's world, his heart belonged to the Cheyenne.

Although their roles were small, Black Stone's wife, Star, and his adopted sister, Sugar Girl, were also wonderful additions to the story.   Their interactions with Laura revealed that many of her preconceived ideas about the Cheyenne were way off the mark.   Their life stories revealed that there were good and bad customs and people in the Cheyenne world and that it was inappropriate to judge people by their heritage.

Love the spirituality that is portrayed by Cheyenne belief system as expressed by Deke:

Raised as a Cheyenne, Deke didn't believe things happened accidentally.   For every breath of breeze, for every drop of rain, for every heart that beat, there was a purpose.   His people believed life was a tapestry, the weave complex, the pattern controlled by powers beyond comprehension.   Deke saw the births of a man and woman as events that took place at the opposite outer edges of that tapestry, the proceeding days, weeks, months, and years a braid of textures and colors that swirled relentlessly toward a center point where their individual patterns finally blended and became more intricate.   If a man was lucky, the woman he met and became interwoven with in that central swirl brought with her a brilliance that shimmered as beautifully as Laura's eyes.
The only downside to the entire book is the lack of sensuality.   Since this book was written in 1994, this element is not surprising.   Nevertheless, even though the physical attraction between Deke and Laura runs rampant and is prevalent throughout the story, they only make love once near the end of the book and then the scene is only presented in the shadows of vagueness.   That does not, however, prevent Deke from embarrassing Laura repeatedly with his lack of what she considers proper decorum when it comes to the human body.

Cheyenne Amber contains all the necessary characteristics that make for a great read.   {1} An amazing alpha hero, who is not afraid to reveal his vulnerabilities and risk opening his heart again.   {2} A wonderfully entertaining, wounded, yet strong, heroine, who eventually lowers the barriers around her heart.   {3} Lots of western-style action to keep the story moving at a swift pace (and shine a light on the hero's skills).   {4} A book so well-written than the emotional involvement reaches both ends of the spectrum: heart-felt laughter and soul-searing tears.   {5} The romance of a man who is determined to find a way to keep the woman he loves and have a happily-ever-after.   {6} A tad bit a suspense that keeps the reader just a little bit on edge at times (i.e., {a} will they find Laura's son, {b} will Francisco catch up to them; {c} will Deke ever get through to Laura).

Even though all the above factors are necessary to make a great read, the most wonderful aspect of this book is the dialogue that flows between Deke and Laura.   As with all Catherine Anderson books, Cheyenne Amber is a must read.   Her wit and sense of humor come shining through in bright, vivid detail.
--Vonda M. Reid (Saturday, August 27, 2011 : 9:56 p.m.)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cheyenne Amber Quotations:

  . . .   All her life, that was all she had ever really wanted . . . just to be loved, not for her accomplishments or worth, but for herself, regardless of flaws, unconditionally.   . . .

  . . . he had been so terribly, terribly alone.   He was so strong in so many ways, yet underneath it all, he was vulnerable as a child might be, still looking for a place where he could love and be loved, for a world that wouldn't turn away from him.
388   . . .   She wanted to raise her fist at the sky and scold God.   . . .
388    . . .   Why, oh, why did there have to be so much ignorance in the world?   Why was hatred instinctive between those of different skin colors?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Characters Found In "Cheyenne Amber"

Character Description / Relationships
Sheldon Beckergray hair; well-dressed (419) short; round; crescent of gray hair that extended from ear to ear (421) Laura's father wanted to merge Van Hauessen Exports with Becker Fleets (425)
Black StoneDeke's cousin and boyhood companion; his spirit brother; one and only friend Deke trusted completely (186) long ebony hair; muscular brown shoulders; chiseled features gleamed like rubbed mahogany (190) eyes glittered like polished onyx, unreadable yet penetrating (191) chief of the Horse Soldiers (200) nearly as tall as Deke; same broad shoulders; moved with panther-like grace (281) fierce man; glittering black eyes; chiseled features; cruel, humorless mouth (290)
Pete Brassfieldtracker (43)
Amanda Carringtonsnootish bitch in town (49)
Jonathan Christopher CheneyLaura's newborn son (10)
Laura CheneyHeroine: hair and eyes the color of whiskey (3) skin the color of cream (4) born, raised in Boston (26) naturally curly hair that defied a braid (41) amber eyes (46) long on nerve; short on reticence (78) courageous; brave (181) Whiskey Woman (212) sassy little piece of baggage (233) married 2 years to Tristan (255)
Tristan Cheneywellborn; educated; Bostonian (1) always had bigger fish to fry; had big aspirations (9) more temper than strength (101)
DeloresDeke's first wife; rich socialite // sent Deke divorce papers; went back to San Francisco
Francisco Gonzalesleader of degenerates (1) dark eyes; swarthy face (3) swarthy brown face; jaw bristled with whiskers that caught the greasy strands of black hair; looked mean and dangerous; tobacco-stained smile (12) husky man; lofty stature (13) // leader of Comanchero group
Isaac Holmestracker (43)
Burk Johnsonthin gringo with more freckles than good sense (2) // member of Francisco Gonzales' Comanchero group
Juan Lunamember of Francisco Gonzales' Comanchero group
Medicine WomanDeke's mother; herbalist; couldn't cook (195) whiter hair; deeper lines in face; thin, bony skeleton with grizzled braids hanging over stooped shoulders; warm, liquid brown eyes (201)
MuskratBlack Stone, Star's son (291) plump little boy (290) eyes dancing with mischief; shoulder length black hair; fat, dimpled cheeks; cutest little fellow Laura had ever seen; great, shoe-button eyes (291)
Okema / Chief(41) large; rust-colored dog; massive head (39) loose jowls glistening with drool (40) wild-eyed (42)
Passes Much WindMedicine Woman's husband; deceased (223)
Missus Peabodyon wagon train; smoked a corncob pipe (7)
Deke Sheridan / Flint EyesHero: best tracker in territory; raised by Cheyenne; fast with a gun; not quite civilized (35) tall; dark; lean yet well muscled; subtle air of tension about him; dangerous; mahogany hair hung in a thick, gleaming curtain to his shoulders; Indian-patterned scarlet sash at his waist; gun belt slung low over one hip; sleeves torn from shirt; sun-burnished and powerfully roped arms; bronzed chest; two medallions; knee-high moccasins that sported layers of long fringe from calf to ankle; absurd blend of savage and white man (39) gaze as clear as ice shards, barely tinted with blue, fringed by weathered lines; luxurious sable lashes; arresting countenance; cheekbones high; the cord of tendon pronounced along his square jaw; sharply cut, blatantly masculine features; high bridge of his nose sported a knot where an old break hadn't mended correctly (40) 31-y-o (44) good night vision; sharply honed senses (51) soundless walk (52) surly; uncommunicative (84) work-hardened; badly scarred hands were graceful, tips of nails remarkably clean and half-mooned with white; calloused hands (87) a blend of earthen scents (88) crude, uneducated half-savage cowboy (93) aware in uncanny way of movement around them (105) narrow of hip, broad of shoulder; a study of grace and wildness (117) darkly handsome; high, sharp cheekbones; a stubborn chin; a jaw delineated with corded tendon; a full mouth, hard, but strangely sensual (207) animal grace (258)
StarBlack Stone's wife (196) big brown eyes (244) long, shiny black hair neatly bound into plaits; fingernails short, neatly trimmed, tips half mooned with white (248)
Sugar Girl20-y-o; sister to Deke's young love (198) slim; loves sugar and molasses (199) pretty little face (243) shy, soft spoken (286) // lived with Black Stone and Star
Sterling Van HauessenLaura's father; against Laura marrying Tristan (26) gray hair; well-dressed; amber-colored eyes (419) cold and calculating eyes; lost his heart (420) assertive; controlling (440)

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Catherine Anderson

♠   Website
♦   My Space
♣   Twitter
♥   Facebook

♣   Fantastic Fiction
♠   FictionDB

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Cheyenne Amber Reviews:
      Rated              Posted                             Site                                                 Notes, Comments, Etc.                        
4.60 average{5 reviews}Amazonas of: September 2, 2011
9 / 8 / 1003-23-2004Eye On Romance 
3.90 average{5 reviews}Good Readsas of: September 2, 2011
3.7502-28-2010Maldivian Book Revieweralso posted on Good Reads
5.00 average{5 reviews}Shelfarias of: September 2, 2011
4.9509-03-2011Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Good Reads, Shelfari

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

♥  Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥  Very Subjective Rating
♥  Willing to share Cheat Sheet
    ♦  in whole or in part
    ♦  WordPerfect or PDF
♣  Will add your Cheyenne Amber review link to table, just ask

No comments:

Post a Comment