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

Dawn of Love #5: Defiant Dreams

Okay guys, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. I started this post aeons ago, but I’ve been bogged down with work and some unexpected new pets. Anyway…

The fifth entry in the Dawn of Love series is kind of…odd. It’s Defiant Dreams by Cheri Michaels, copyright 1985.

Defiant Dreams Front Cover (Credit: Joseph Cellini)

Front Cover Blurb: Is sixteen too young to have…Defiant Dreams

On the Cover: Serena McLairn and Joe Kempton, probably waltzing at the wedding of Joe’s mother to Serena’s uncle, where Serena is described as wearing an amber-colored dress.

Setting: The Civil War: first Vicksburg, Mississippi, then Gettysburg, Pennsylvania; December 1862 through July 1863, with an epilogue in May 1865.

Similar Sunfire Book: Susannah

Main Character: Serena McLairn, 16; red hair, green eyes. She lives with her parents in Vicksburg, flirting with boys and posing as “The Spirit of the Confederacy” in a recruiting poster. But her auctioning off of her clothes and jewelry, and the suggestive way she removes the items on a stage at a bazaar, cause her parents to send her north “for her own safety.” Yes, and because in any other genteel southern city of this era, her reputation would be in complete shreds.

Suitor #1: Lt. Joe Kempton of the Union Army; straight dark hair and gray eyes. His mother marries Serena’s uncle, so they are thrown together until Joe returns to duty. Joe is drawn to Serena, but he distrusts her. Not because she’s from the South or anything, but because she’s a flirt. Joe’s sister Julia becomes Serena’s best friend.

Suitor #2: Mike Squires, light brown hair, brown eyes. He was lightly wounded at the beginning of the war, which seems go give him the right to skip the rest of the war and hang out with Serena. These two never seem really serious. In fact, Serena is more comfortable with Mike than Joe just because she DOESN”T have feelings for him.

Back Cover Blurb: She is a Southern Belle–He is a Yankee Soldier…

Defiant Dreams Back Cover

How does it stack up against its Sunfire counterpart? Serena’s character is much more like Garnet than Susannah. She’s a party girl and she wants a good time. However, Serena’s main struggles during the war seem to be with how to arrange couples to suit her liking. She’s busy matchmaking Julia and Bill, as opposed to Susannah’s increasingly desperate plight. Like Susannah, Serena has a star-crossed romance with a Yankee, but…here’s the kicker…NO ONE SEEMS TO MIND THAT SHE”S FROM THE SOUTH. There is just about no conflict with them being on opposite sides of the war. The only conflict between them comes from Serena’s unwillingness to fall under love’s spell and Joe’s lack of trust in her sincerity. This story could be told at any time; there’s almost nothing of the Civil War about it. And finally, Serena’s turn as a successful surgeon to save the man she loves just sends the whole thing over the top.

Yes, I promise, I will get back to Sunfires. Up next is Rachel and Nathan’s wonderfully wacky suit. Who knew that the 70s were really just a throwback to pre-WWI fashion?

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3 Responses to “Dawn of Love #5: Defiant Dreams”

  1. You have no idea how long I’ve been looking for this book!! I read it when I was, like, 13 and couldn’t remember the title, the author etc. I could remember the main character’s name was Serena and the conclusion was essentially “The Battle of Gettysburg” which meant NOTHING to a 13 year old Irish girl. In fact I remember when I first understood that it was an actual Battle and pretty much the “turning point” in the American Civil War. But I digress! Thanks for doing this posting. I’ve been randomly searching on Google for years hoping the limited knowledge I’d retained of the book would lead me to finding it. Cheers! 🙂

    • Thanks for your post, glad to know I could help someone out! 🙂 I have one of those books I look for too, but I have so little to go on that I’ll probably never find it. Anyway, I hope you stick around to enjoy the blog!

      • Yeah, I have two more I’m searching for. One I even know the title of but STILL can’t find it 🙂

        Anyhoo, I’ll give the Blog a wee peruse, it really is the very least I can do 🙂


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