Sunfire Romance Novels
In the 80s, the world was lit by Sunfire!

Dawn of Love Book 3: Savage Spirit

Book 3 in this series was my favorite: Savage Spirit by Meg Cameron, copyright 1985.

Savage Spirit Front Cover (Credit: Joseph Cellini)

I feel like I might have bought my original copy on vacation, in Florida somewhere. But the copy I have now is a replacement, which I really had to hunt for.

Front Cover Blurb: Is sixteen too young to have a…Savage Spirit

On the Cover: Catherine Brant (also known as Fawn Loses Its Spots and  Healing Fawn) and Blue Quail. Blue Quail does NOT look like a ferocious warrior. He looks like a 14-year-old. He looks a bit like a prepubescent Leonardo DiCaprio.

Setting: 1787-1788, Kentucky and then the Shawnee village in Ohio. The accuracy of the timings in this book are pretty suspect. According to Wiki, Blackfish died in 1779, and several sources state that Loud Voice was born in 1775 and would only be 13 at the time of the book.

Similar Sunfire Book: Cassie

Main Character: Catherine Brant, called “Cat” by her family. (We know this was a common nickname in that time period; Elizabeth I’s nurse/companion was Kat Ashley.) Cat is almost 16 at the start of the book, with gray-blue eyes and dark blonde/golden brown hair. She is the only girl in a family of 7 children and is a firm tomboy. She is kidnapped shortly into the novel by a Shawnee who takes her hundreds of miles from home and ultimately trades her to another group of Shawnee.

Suitor #1: Tom Alexander, a friend of her brothers’; brown eyes, copper-red hair. He is lovestruck by the sight of tomboy Cat ever wearing a dress for the first time ever, at her brother’s wedding. Cat wants to dance and doesn’t think about how she might be leading poor Tom on, since they’re friends. Then Tom takes her out in the woods and kisses her, and Cat is very curious and enthusiastic about her first kiss. Tom mistakenly takes this to mean that Cat is as head-over-heels in sudden puppy love with him as he is with her, and begins to court her in earnest, against poor Cat’s wishes. She is captured trying to run away from Tom in the woods.

Cat’s Captor: I refuse to call Two Stars Walking in the Sky a suitor; he kidnaps Cat and attempts to rape her. But she fights him off and shames him so badly in front of his village that he never attempts to touch her again. Two Stars is lazy, boorish, and greedy. Cat ends up doing the hunting for them just to keep them fed and almost escapes. But she is brought back to the village only to be traded away to Blackfish and his sons for two silver bracelets.

Suitor #2: Blue Quail, adopted son of Blackfish; Cat loses her heart to him when she first sees him from afar; he is riding a pony standing up, “dancing on the pony’s back.” I assume Blue Quail has dark hair to go with his sun-bronzed skin, because Cat doesn’t even know he’s not Shawnee-born until she meets him face-to-face and sees his blue eyes.  Blue Quail was captured at age 5 by the Shawnee and brought up as one of them.

Suitor #3: Loud Voice, who was a real person also known as “the Prophet” and Tenskwatawa, is the younger brother of Tecumseh and is very impressed by Cat. He begins to court her in the Shawnee way, by playing the flute at her door. This kind of rattles the cage of his adopted brother Blue Quail.

Back Cover Blurb: He Was The Adopted Son of a Shawnee Chief …

Savage Spirit Back Cover

How does it stack up against its Sunfire counterpart? In Cassie, it was the heroine who was captured at a young age and brought up as a Native American; in this book, it’s the hero. For some reason, this shorter book seems to more accurately represent Native American life. Both have similar themes. Characters are torn between two worlds. Cat knows a bit of the Shawnee language, and she blends in to Shawnee village life pretty quickly once she’s with Blackfish’s family. But she never loses sight of wanting to get home. Blue Quail, on the other hand, knows his birth parents are dead, and he’s also smitten with the chief’s daughter, Whippoorwill Calls. Cat has to fight first to get Blue Quail to even notice her over Whippoorwill Calls, and then to want to leave the village for Cat’s home.

Also of note is the friendship between Cat and Whippoorwill Calls. Cat wants to hate WC because of Blue Quail’s infatuation with her. Instead, she ends up feeling like a sister toward her. Both girls have been brought up in a family of boys, and they both feel that the other provides them with that sisterly relationship they’ve never had.

This is the first book that almost deals with sexuality. While the words “rape” or “assault” are not used, Cat knows what Two Stars wants when she wakes up to him on top of her. We also have Blue Quail saying something like “Standing too close to you isn’t good for me,” and then there are moments in a bed roll that lead Cat to say, “Some things should wait until we have a roof. But it’s not that I don’t want to.”

Finally, I love the epilogue. We actually get to see some of the characters’ married life and learn a little about the children they have together. Too bad we didn’t get a fast-forward like this in the Sunfire books. (But only happy endings, please. I wouldn’t want to hear about Gary Marlowe being killed in WWII three years after Roxanne.)


2 Responses to “Dawn of Love Book 3: Savage Spirit”

  1. OMG. My sister and I loved that book. Multiple copies!!!

  2. My favorite book of all time! My friend let me borrow her copy and I read it over and over! After all these years, I finally found it again and have my own copy!

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