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Daniel McKenzie was an army scout—quiet, capable, handsome…and utterly unwilling to be the trail guide April Williamson needed to reach Kentucky. The Indian attack at Blue Licks was but one bitter taste of the American frontier, a massacre that had taken her father just as cholera had taken her mother. But April would not give up on her dream. At journey’s end was independence, and nothing would stand in her way.
The young widow was beautiful and determined, but the months of travel involved in her plan would be too hard. Without the general’s order Dan would have told any woman no, but April especially. His secret would destroy her—or she might destroy him. April’s kiss was like the country itself. Restless and sweet, it promised a love that denied every boundary and looked only to freedom and the future.
Thoughts and impressions: Much like Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold, I was drawn to Kentucky Green for two reasons:
1. It’s a historical romance and these seem to be my weak spot (even if I find most of them to be mediocre at best).
2. It’s one of those rare(r) historical romances set in the early USA rather than *insert European country here*.
The author weaves an interesting piece of historical fiction with many a nod to real people and events. Not being from the USA – and having left school in the UK before we touched on anything relating to non-European history (except Ancient Egypt) (and French history lessons were only interested in their own colonies) – I am only vaguely aware of these parts of American history. In fact, most of my knowledge about this period comes from documentaries / films (and who knows how historically accurate those are!) that I’ve seen over the years.
With Kentucky Green, the author gives a glimpse of what life could have been like for the colonials when neither the Americans nor the British were at their moral best. The British because they were fairly double-crossing the Indians and the Americans because they were pretty much invaders stealing the land from the native inhabitants.
I particularly appreciated that the author didn’t shy away from some of the more historically accurate points, choosing political correctness over historical truth. She wasn’t afraid to include a racist side to this story. All too often these days you see authors who are pretty much walking on eggshells in order to avoid such controversial topics. But that’s not how it was back in those days. Racism was a part of the norm and this story embraces that, working with it rather than skirting around it. I think that the book is that much the better for it; it wouldn’t have felt as authentic without it.
This is the classic tale of boy meets girl, boy pisses off girl (and vice versa), boy is required to spend significant amount of time in girl’s company, boy ends up developing feelings for girl that he tries to ignore (and vice versa), boy can no longer ignore said feelings, some form of drama befalls boy and girl – can they come out on top? It’s a tried and true formula, and obviously it works.
My one… not qualm but thing I want to comment on I guess… is that April is a young widow. It soon emerges that she was merely given the position of wife in order to protect her after the deaths of both of her parents. She is never touched by her husband. This keeps the character “unspoiled” for the “love of her life” that is to come in the form of the hero of the story but I personally would have preferred a different approach here. I’ve never understood the appeal of having a window character with no sexual experience. As a widow she should be able to match the hero for his knowledge rather than still being cast in the role of swooning heroine. Maybe that’s just me?
Style: I noticed some minor mistakes but these are easily overlooked. Overall, a good style that perfectly fits the historical romance genre!
Final verdict: Another fun read from Terry Irene Blaine. It held my interest from start to finish. I didn't quite enjoy it as much as Colorado Silver, Colorado Gold but I'm still giving it 4 stars.
Extra notes: Some bad language and sex are present.
In the author's words:
Topic: Where Ideas Come From
I have a writer friend who says people keep asking her were writers get their ideas. Her reply is that we get so many ideas that we can't write them all. Getting the idea is the easy part of writing.
So where did the idea of writing Kentucky Green come from? From Alistair Cooke's A Personal History of the United States. When I taught US History (and Western Civilization) in the community college, I would show parts of Cooke's America television series (the instructor for my education class - known as ‘how to teach' said that the generations that grew up watching Sesame Street could learn via video - and it gave my voice a break). In the episode Gone West, Cooke talks of Daniel Boone, and gives one of Boone's quotes: A man needs three essentials – a good horse, a good rifle, and a good wife.
If a good horse, a good rifle and a good wife doesn't spark a story, then you're probably not a writer. In addition to the Boone quote, one of my favorite historical novels (The Kentuckian by Janice Holt Giles) is set in the Kentucky frontier in the generation before my story. I'm really drawn to frontier stories, as in Boone's Kentucky and in my Kentucky Green; it took a man and a woman working together to make a home. Neither could do it alone.
So for writing Kentucky Green, I gave my hero, Dan, a good horse. His goal is to breed horses in Kentucky, (which I think that will turn out pretty good for his family's future). I gave him a good Kentucky long rifle, made by one of the best know gunsmith's in Pennsylvania, John Philip Beck, which he shows off to April, the heroine. Luckily, at one time my husband had a black powder rifle, so I had a little firsthand experience when I wrote that scene.
But the key to Daniel Boone's quote is the good wife. This is where the heroine, April comes in. Although it takes her some time, she proves to Dan that she's a capable woman. She's the partner he needs. Thus for Dan, completing the quote of a good horse, a good rifle and a good wife.
Terry Irene Blain was lucky enough to grow up in a large Mid-western family with a rich oral tradition. As a child she heard stories of ancestors’ adventures with Indians, wildlife, weather and frontier life in general, so she naturally gravitated to the study of history and completed a BA and MA then taught the subject at the college level. Married to a sailor, now retired, she’s had the chance to live in various parts of the U.S. and has traveled to Hong Kong, Australia, England and Scotland.
“My degrees and my teaching experience make me a natural to write historical romance. Writing historical romance gives me the opportunity to pass on stories of who we are and where we come from while exploring the relationship between men and women. What could be more exciting than that?”
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