Review: Bride Fire

Bride Fire
Bride Fire by Elizabeth Chadwick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

My Kindle ebook started from chapter four for some reason and it was straight into some bodice ripping part where the teenage (16 year old) protagonist Cassandra seduces Alex the cowboy and he becomes her husband, against the backdrop of herding wild mustang horses to sell.

They soon get ambushed by Comanche Indians and Cassandra gets kidnapped while pregnant. She hates them as her father was killed by Comanche Indians. She survives being killed by them and is forced into slavery and the chief’s first wife is jealous of her and often tries to get her killed or whipped. Cassandra befriends the second wife, Black Rain, a runaway black slave from the Deep South who has a better time with the Indians than she ever did with her white slave owners.

Cassandra is made into the war chief’s third wife and finds she quite likes the Comanches after all, now she understands them better. She gives birth to twins and the girl is given away by the jealous first wife without Cassandra’s knowledge to be looked after by some other tribe. Cassandra never sees her daughter again. She’s left with her little boy who is more valued by her tribe.

Soon she meets the Indian who killed her father and she seeks revenge. Then the war chief dies in battle and Cassandra gets rescued by Alex who’d been tracking her for more than half a year. He takes her to ‘safety’ in slave country and his deranged and sinister sister who gives her a hard time and jealously tries to take over as mother to her children and get Cassandra separated and sent away. Cassandra gives birth to a second son but doesn’t know if it’s half Indian or Alex’s. Her sister-in-law spreads rumours about her, questioning the legitimacy and paternity of her children and ostracising Cassandra from society. Life is a living hell for her. Much worse than with the Indians.

Thanks to her sister-in-law, the evil slave catcher Odin is always on her trail if she so much as steps outside the boundary of their property and Cassandra is nearly killed. But her slaves that she’s been secretly teaching reading, writing and religious studies to before setting them free when she escapes to North America (Massachusetts), come to her aid.

Her husband Alex is very stubborn, proud and stupid in the whole book and keeps putting Cassandra in dangerous situations and not listening to her complaints about her sister-in-law, about the wrongness of slavery and he doesn’t ask or want to know about her time with the Indians. She eventually tells him of their missing daughter Alexandra when he has a strop that none of their two sons are named after him.

The protagonist is a teenager (16-19) in the entire book and grows up very fast with her experiences. She is a weak, insipid character at the beginning and consequently the book doesn’t get interesting till she’s kidnapped by the Indians and has to grow up and develop some strength.

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