Sunfire Romance Novels
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Cassie Quick Notes

I totally did not want to reread Sunfire #14, Cassie, by Vivian Schurfranz.

Cassie Front Cover (Credit: Joel Iskowitz)

Front Cover Blurb: Her love was as wild and untameable as the frontier itself.

Back Cover Blurb: Her brave heart is torn between two worlds.

Main Character: Cassandra “Cassie” Stevens, also known as “Snowflower.” Age 15, blond hair, blue eyes. She was kidnapped by the Iroquois at age 4 and brought up as one of them. She turns 16 during the book.

Suitor #1: Joshua Benton, black curly hair, green eyes. An itinerant fur trapper who thinks there’s no place in his life for a wife.

Suitor #2: Benjamin Newell, mahogany brown hair, brown eyes, 19 years old. His parents were killed by the Iroquois. The blacksmith of Three Pines, he is a neighbor to Cassie’s birth parents.

Setting: 1755-1756, upstate New York during the French and Indian War.

Front Cover: Middle: Cassie, looking much more like she’s wearing a 70s hippie version of an Indian costume than authentic Native American dress. (The term “Native American” had not been coined at the time the book was written and would have been anachronistic if used in the book.) I always felt that Cassie looked too old; maybe it was the chubby cheeks. She’s holding a flower that may be intended to be a snowflower, but according to Wikipedia North American snowflowers look more like this:

Credit: Melinda J. Pierce

On the right is Ben, looking very smithy. On the left is Joshua, looking almost like Ben’s twin. Where’s the black hair? Maybe Iskowitz thought it would look jarring in the rest of the color scheme. Bottom left: Ben courting Cassie, now wearing a gorgeous gown in “civilized” Three Pines attire. I would almost think this is Cassie’s blue dance dress, except Ben is in work clothes.

Cassie Back Cover

Back Cover: Cassie and Joshua playing in a stream. Note that Cassie is fully clothed, despite her attempt in the book to skinny dip. Joshua was such a gentleman. (Yeah, right.)

I think this book was a great concept executed poorly. Cassie is a typical Schurfranz heroine, so beautiful and perfect at everything that she’s annoying. I don’t like how she’s not even presented as thinking of herself as “Snowflower” at the beginning. We’re introduced to “Cassie,” and she thinks of herself as Cassie. Even though when Joshua asks if she minds him calling her Cassie, and she says he’s the only one she can remember doing so because her name is Snowflower, it doesn’t ring true. All the third-person omniscient narrative is given by “Cassie.” You might argue that starting off the narrative as Snowflower and switching to Cassie would be too difficult a concept for young readers to follow, but Jane Claypool Miner went there with Rosie/Roxanne, and it worked just fine.

We also have yet another older man who becomes the heroine’s nemesis. In this book it’s Calvin Mullins, Indian hater. This is what I get out of that:

Then there’s the constant use of “little one” as a nickname for the herione. It’s a good thing all Schurfranz’s heroines are petite. What would happen if one were tall…would she be called “big one”? It’s just creepy, like an endearment for a child. If the suitors think of her as a child, they shouldn’t be trying to sneak kisses.

Finally, there’s a ton of historical information in this book, but it’s not woven into the story very well. When characters stop to give recitations of events, it stands out like a sore thumb.

Do you get the idea that I don’t love this book? I don’t love this book. But tune in next time for Quick Notes on my favorite Sunfire, the fabulous Roxanne.

Edit: Drat, I totally forgot to mention that technically Cassie has a Suitor #3: her Iroquois betrothed, Silverblade. He’s willing to marry her despite her being funny looking because she saved his life. Oh, and he wants to see what their children look like. A great reason to marry someone. Despite the betrothal, he’s not really a serious suitor because he’s “27 summers” (i.e., way too old) and a widower. Besides, once she falls for Joshua, the writing is pretty much on the wall.


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