The Book: To Find You Again by Maureen McKade
The Particulars: Historical western, Berkley, 2004, Out of Print
Why Was It In The Bat Cave TBR?: You have to ask? Historical western. Plus I tend to like McKade's westerns.
The Review: Seven years ago Emma Hartwell was captured by the Lakota Sioux and adopted into the tribe. She had well moved past the idea of returning to her white family when the cavalry attacks her village. She's severely wounded, but is saved when a solider stops long enough to notice that she's a white girl. Now she's back in her hometown, living with her parents and younger sister. But the reunion hasn't been all that smooth. She's now well and truly "ruined," and her parents have no idea what to do with her. They propose to send her to live with a spinster aunt in Minneapolis, which sends Emma into a panic. When she was rescued, she left behind her son. Now, fully healed from her injuries, and the threat of Minneapolis looming, she takes off to find him.
Emma's daddy would rather spit at Ridge Madoc than look at him, but the man is a former army scout. If anyone can find Emma and bring her home, it's Ridge. Desperate to get back the land that Hartwell swindled out from under his useless, drunken stepfather, Ridge agrees to bring Emma home. What he doesn't know, what nobody knows, is that Emma isn't going anywhere until she finds her boy.
McKade wrote some nice westerns for Avon, but when she moved to Berkley her stories took on a heavier, emotional component. This book follows that pattern. What we have here is a road romance with a heroine caught between two worlds, and not really "belonging" in either. Ridge is your classic outsider, who knows what it's like to be unloved, unwanted, and looked down upon. These two are made for each other, and really make the perfect couple. As the reader you get the impression that not only do these two belong together, but that they'll go a long way in healing each others' emotional wounds.
However, this read wasn't entirely smooth. Emma's Daddy hatin' on Ridge was painted with a thin brush, and I didn't really "get it" other than Daddy wanted the land. Frankly, I need more reason than that for the serious amount of hatin' going on. Also, for all Emma had been through, she struck me as pretty dense at times. If not for her past, I would have chalked it up to naivete', but given how poorly she was treated in town after her rescue, the fact that she would think for one single solitary moment that things would be fine for her "half-breed" son given enough time? Yeah, that's just flat-out dense. She's a straight-forward, practical character. Frankly, she should have been a whole helluva lot smarter in that regard.
Plot lines of this nature, featuring Army and Native characters can be tricky - but I think McKade navigated it well. The Natives aren't all Goody-Goody Goodness and the Army isn't all Evil Evil Evil. Some are evil. Some aren't. Some are good. Some are bad. This worked for me. I also appreciated that the author does a nice job with Emma's family - both biological and adopted.
This one won't be landing in the Bat Cave Keeper Stash, but it was still a nice read. Pretty consistent for what I "expect" out of a McKade western. If you've read and enjoyed other books by her, this one is definitely worth hunting up. Says me.
Final Grade = B