The theme: A contemporary romance. This turned out to be kind of an interesting choice, because it seems so old-timey. But looking back, fears of satanic cults were very real in the 90s.
Why this one: The sad usual, I needed something short. (Not that it helped in this case.) And I’m a bit burned out on Harlequin Presents at the moment, and my print contemporary TBR is actually pretty small now! But I swear, now that I have less pressure on me, I will plan a little better and pick some of my door-stoppers this year.
There’s a secondary romance in this story, and both romances involve white women with Indian men. (A very liberal interpretation of “women” and ” men”, because the secondary couple is teen-aged.) I don’t think I was aware enough to notice this when reading Eagle before, but this time I was struck by the lack of emphasis on differences. When Teri thinks about John, for example, it’s his shyness and his sweet smile that come to mind. No exoticizing, not othering, unless you count Wyatt’s view of Lavender.
Racism is an issue in the story — inevitably, since Wyatt and John are two of very few Indians in a very white, conservative small town — but part of what makes it interesting is that it’s an outsider story, and the outsider is the white woman. Lavender is the town kook, and Wyatt, who had a long range plan to “find a woman who blended in with the mainstream, marry her and slip into Middle America beside her” is the one who has to change his ideas about how the rest of his life will go in order to be with her.
I appreciated the portrayal of Lavender, an intelligent, mature, giving woman who’s made peace with a lot that’s in her life. You rarely see a portrayal of a hippie in romance that isn’t mocking. Lavender may be a little idealistically drawn, but there’s enough pain and mistakes in her background to make her believable.