In this early 19th-century romance, the author demonstrates her flair for incorporating historical fact-in this case, the political maneuverings surrounding the acquisition of the Louisiana Territory-so skillfully into a fascinating fictional plot that it goes down painlessly; indeed, it reads like great gossip. The story centers on the love triangle between Louise Therese Chartier, an Osage half-breed who was sold as a child bride five years previously; married infantry sergeant Daniel Morgan, who assumes responsibility for fiery Louise when her husband is killed; and Daniel's high-strung commander, Lt. James Wilkinson, the leader of an expeditionary force charged with exploring the Arkansas River. Though Daniel is strongly attracted to Louise, his sense of honor keeps him from turning his back on his wife. James, meanwhile, pursues Louise for her beauty and her inheritance, which his father, General Wilkinson, hopes to use to build his own private empire.
Mereline Lovelace incorporates historical persons, places, and events in this story to bring it alive. I've found her books to be accurate in their depiction of the times and she has a way with words so that you feel you are there with the characters. This takes place on the new frontier of the Louisiana Purchase in the early 1800s.
4 of 6 people found the following review helpful:
An excellent historical romance, September 2, 2003
Reviewer: Harriet Klausner - See all my reviews
In 1807, Colonel Pike led a military expedition starting in St. Louis and exploring the Louisiana Territory. The team split in half with one group led Lieutenant James Wilkinson, son of a General, leading four soldiers and two Indian guides southward along the Arkansas River.
The Wilkinson party faces hardships with no chance of turning back as the winter and raiding Indians have caused havoc on them. Rifle Sergeant Daniel Morgan hunts for food while the others rest, but finds an old trapper and his son. Henri Chartier welcomes him into camp and shows him some Viking runes only to have a mountain cat kill him. Daniel buries Henri and goes to take the lad with him only to be shocked that he is a she and now a widow. As Daniel protects the half-breed "Little Louise" from his men and pays the bride price to her uncle, he falls in love with her. However, he is married and soon they will learn her connection through Henri to French royalty removes her even further.
I got this book, I think, with some freebies from Harlequin. Since I never got around to reading it and I must clear out some of my books, it's going to somebody who I hope will enjoy it.