There are two aspects of American history that I believe the romance genre handles especially poorly. The first is the Civil War; the second is anything to do with the treatment of Native American people, especially during the 1800s. Both topics are so frequently mired in politically correct approaches that they come off as sugar-coated and false.
Despite knowing this, I cling to a very frayed thread of optimism, hoping someday I will read an Indian romance that both feels honest and helps me to understand reader (and author) fascination with Indian/European coupling. In The Spirit Of The Wolf, the story of an Indian scout on an unclear mission to save his people and an Englishwoman trying to make her way back home, Karen Kay fails to do either.
HelenKay: For years romance readers have complained about the too-stupid-to-live (TSTL) heroine. This is the woman who acts in ways that defy common sense and reality. The nonsensical decisions they make come both in the face of true adversity and in reaction to mundane problems. Many times this TSTL woman is too insecure to make a life decision without the approval of her mother or father or grandparent or priest or neighbor or 4th grade teacher or someone in an equal position of power. Despite this, somehow and without explanation, she can take on a McGyver-like quality and diffuse a Tomahawk Missile with her barrette using only the knowledge she gained while growing up on a Kansas farm.
In spite of, or maybe in reaction to, these TSTL heroines comes the kick-ass heroine. These ladies don’t need family permission to take a job or a caucus of friends to pick which man to date. Many can shoot, run, kill, diffuse and fight. Unfortunately, many of these ladies also defy common sense and reality, mostly because of their ability to morph from “normal” to superhuman with little explanation. In those cases, the contexts of their kick-ass natures are wrong. But there are others. Silhouette Bombshell promises from the outset a “strong, savvy, sexy heroine who always saves the day.” A reader goes in expecting a kick-ass heroine with specialized skills and an attitude to match. The worry isn’t that the reader will encounter a TSTL heroine. A kick-ass heroine is guaranteed. The worry then is that the kick-ass heroine won’t convince or stay true to who she is and her surroundings. Wendy Rosnau overcomes all of these worries and delivers on the Bombshell promise with the compelling romantic thriller The Spy With The Silver Lining.