Wednesday, January 13, 2016

REVIEW: Sweet Prairie Passion by Rosanne Bittner

Sweet Prairie Passion
by Rosanne Bittner

Publisher: DCA, Inc
Page Count: 463
Release Date: September 23, 2012
Format: Kindle

How got: personal library; bought via Amazon

First attention getter: genre

Synopsis:

From GoodReads:

This first book in Rosanne Bittner’s popular Savage Destiny series tells the powerful love story of 15-year-old Abigail Trent, who is traveling west with her family; and a very rugged plainsman, Zeke Monroe, the half-Cheyenne guide who wins Abbie’s heart as they journey through an untamed land beset with Indians, outlaws and nature’s harsh challenges. Although Zeke and Abbie come from very different worlds, violence and personal loss bring them together in unexpected ways, including a very poignant situation that involves Abbie’s little brother. By journey’s end, Abbie has changed from an innocent young girl to a strong woman whose courage and determination to survive make her the perfect woman for the sometimes violent Zeke, whose past and upbringing make him a challenge only Abbie’s love and personal faith can overcome. Sweet Prairie Passion is the beginning of many more stories about this unforgettable couple and their life together as they face the perils of settling America’s Old West and learn that love can conquer anything.

My Thoughts:

Star Rating - 3

This is the book that I dropped by Bittner years ago and decided to re-pick up after reading some real bomb shells by her. After finishing it, I can see why I originally dropped it @ 22%. The book has some issues, which only makes sense, I guess, being one of the author’s first works, if not the first. So conclusions after finishing it?? I’m glad I finished as I know it’s the first in an epic 7 volume series that covers this relationship through decades. The book got better the further I went along, but I’m glad as heck that the author’s writing improved with the years.

You definitely have to keep going with this book; it doesn’t really start getting any good until about half way through. Once stuff starts happening to Abigail’s family, then we start to get a glimpse of Abigail maturing and changing with the events portrayed. We also start to see a relationship between and Zeke as a realistic prospect rather than a school girl crush.

I did like the connection between Abigail and Zeke once poop started hitting the proverbial fan. They seemed to draw strength from each other, and their relationship matured the further you went along. There were times where Zeke could get a bit hoity-toity with his beliefs on Indian versus white practices or Abigail could backslide to her tweeny characterization from the first part of the book. Yet, these were only few and far between; overall, their relationship only got better the further into the story we went.

However, it’s in characterization that this book really falls flat. At one point or another, every single character falls prey to a stereotype, even the leads. Most of the secondary characters never leave those stereotypes and the leads backslide into them even towards the end. There’s the self-absorbed older sister, the tweeny heroine (at least in the beginning half), the sly gambler, the slimy preacher, the proud Sioux girl, the Indian haters, the good farmer folk….. Need I go on??? More depth to the people populating her world would have done tons for this title.

And then there’s the world itself. I guess I’ve gotten spoiled by some of the other titles by Bittner I’ve been exposed to so far, as of this writing. In these other works, she pays as much attention to her setting and historical world as much as her romance and it shows. In this volume, the world seems to follow the way of her characters, very stereotypical and flat. The plains of the Oregon Trail and its landmarks fall flat to me; they could be anywhere. The author also throws in terms, places, and things that definitely aren’t historically sound. When it comes to historical romance, this isn’t always a big quibble, yet Bittner does tons better in other novels so I was sad on this point.

So one of Bittner’s best? Heck no. A solid first attempt, first published in 1983. Probably. The relationship and main heroine improves the further you go along. This is also the start to a long epic following the relationship throughout American history. So for that alone, I’ll keep following the series. But shallow characterizations and a poor attempt at historical details keep this from being stellar. Here’s hoping that following volumes approve in these areas…

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