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

Dec
30

Happy 2013 to everyone! I had hoped to sneak this post in as the last of 2012, but that didn’t happen. But let’s start the new year off with a new series!

Starting in 1999, Simon Pulse published a series of six books that centered around American historical disasters. This series didn’t have an official name, so I’m calling them “Historical Disasters.” Although, one could also describe them as “Sunfire: The Next Generation.” These books were definitely more edgy. Main characters engage in sexual activity, although it’s more implied than described. In addition, the chosen hero doesn’t always survive. I think that element was a lot more shocking in books of this genre. You EXPECT the couple to live happily ever after.

Book 1 is Hindenburg: 1937 by Cameron Dokey.

Hindenburg: 1937 Front Cover (Credit: Cliff Nielsen)

Hindenburg: 1937 Front Cover (Credit: Cliff Nielsen)

Font Cover Blurb: In a time of fear, a love that will never die…

Main Character: Anna Becker, a 16-year-old German girl with pale blue eyes and honey-colored hair. She leaves Germany after the death of her grandfather to avoid becoming a pawn in the career plans of her Nazi brother, Kurt. She and her grandfather already had tickets for the journey of the Hinderburg to Lakehurst, New Jersey, so Anna takes her ticket and runs.

Suitor #1: Karl Mueller, Anna’s first love, who she suspects left her to become a Nazi spy. He has an ideal Nazi appearance with pale blond hair and deep blue eyes. It’s Anna’s bad luck that he’s traveling on the Hindenburg as well, since he threatens to return her to her brother…if she doesn’t report to him about the activities of Suitor #2.

Suitor #2: Erik Peterson, dark hair, forest green eyes. At first a stranger to Anna, he helps her board the Hinderburg without attracting too much attention. Then he remains attentive to her for the rest of the trip, taking her on tours of the ship and becoming a dinner partner. But is there more to him than meets the eye?

Setting: First Germany, then the Hindenburg’s journey, ending with the disaster at Lakehurst Air Field; late April through mid-May 1937, with some flashbacks to previous events.

On the Cover: Right, Anna; left, Karl; center, Erik; bottom, the burning airship.

Back Cover Blurb: “Anna, promise me…”

Hinderburg: 1937 Back Cover

Hinderburg: 1937 Back Cover

Similar Sunfire book: None, although this disaster is reminiscent of the sinking of the Titanic. The reader knows that both events will end in disaster, so there is a very limited time span for the action to take place.

I like a lot of books by Cameron Dokey, but this one doesn’t contain her best  main character. You have to feel for Anna, but you also want to shake her at times. In the end, she bungles just about everything. But that doesn’t mean you don’t root for her. And the setting is just so interesting and different. You could argue that it’s more German than American history, but the crash/fire did take place in America. It apparently only took about 30 seconds for this huge airship, which was only slightly smaller than the Titanic, to go up in flames. It’s shocking that most of the passengers actually survived. Was it sabotage? We’ll probably never know for sure, but as Dokey claims in her author note, it DOES make for a more interesting story. It also adds to the conflict if the saboteur was actually working against the Nazis.

NEXT UP: Yes, I’m slogging my way through Heather. Ugh.

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Dec
24

I hope everyone enjoys a happy and safe holiday season! I have a new series to start blogging, but given the events of the last few weeks, I didn’t think it was appropriate to talk about disasters in a lighthearted way. But after the holiday, I will start up again.

Merry Christmas!

Dec
05

It took 22 books to get to a main character of non-European descent. The one and only African-American Sunfire girl is Corey by Jane Claypool Miner.

NOTE: All three main characters are African-American, and only Ned gets a full physical description. Other than the sharp cheekbones Corey inherited from her Native-American grandfather and Penn’s height, none of their specific physical characteristics are described.

Corey Front Cover (Credit: Joel Iskowitz)

Corey Front Cover (Credit: Joel Iskowitz)

Front Cover Blurb: Freedom gave her the right to live, the chance to love.

Back Cover Blurb: She escaped from the South to the North, where a boy captured her heart.

Main Character: Corey, a 15-year-old house slave from South Carolina. She leaves the only home she’s ever known after Union troops burn the house down and her owner dies from a heart attack. With great fortitude, Corey makes her way north to Philadelphia. Eventually she takes the last name “Marshallhouse” to reflect her past while avoiding actually taking the name of her owner. Unlike most slaves, Corey was taught to read and write. She doesn’t know when her birthday is, but assumes she turns 16 before the end of the book.

Suitor #1: Ned, another slave from Marshall House. He is 17 with warm brown eyes and short, curly black hair; he is tall and broad-shouldered. He’s a pretty simple guy—all he really wants is to marry Corey, and he nags her about constantly. Corey worries about Ned’s common sense and ability to handle money, despite his stubborn insistence that he should carry the money because he “is the man.” He heads north with Corey, helping her search for her mother, but they become separated during a battle and Ned is conscripted (or maybe not so much forced) into the Union Army.

Suitor #2: Penn Wilson, an educated writer, abolitionist, and teacher from Philadelphia who has never been enslaved. He has studied in London and, even though he is working to end slavery, sometimes has trouble differentiating between the idealism of freedom and the reality. Since Corey has experienced first-hand the reality and hardship of suddenly being free, she and Penn often clash, especially when it comes to Corey’s mother.

Setting: November 1864 through April 1865, South Carolina, then the “Jubilee Trail” north to Philadelphia. The book begins during Sherman’s march and ends a couple days after the characters learn of Lincoln’s assassination.

On the Cover: Middle, Corey. I wonder if her hair should be that short, but then, she did dress a boy while traveling. On the left is Ned in his Union Army uniform. On the right is Penn dressed like a gentleman, carrying books and smiling like he knows he’s awesome. Bottom right: Ned and Corey smooching, probably as Ned leaves for the West. It’s not the white dress and pink bonnet Corey buys for her visit with Ned. Ned also usually kisses Corey respectfully on the cheek, not the lips.

Corey Back Cover

Corey Back Cover

There is a LOT of historical information in this book (which incidentally clocks in as the shortest of the Sunfires). First we meet Harriet Tubman, known as “Moses” for leading people to freedom using the Underground Railroad. (In fact, it seems as if Corey’s journey north may be loosely based on hers.) Corey and Penn go see Frederick Douglass speak. Corey goes to Washington DC to bring the plight of unpaid Black Union soldiers to the attention of Abraham Lincoln and actually speaks to the president.

In fact, there are so many serious historical events that the romance is all but lost in the story. I didn’t feel like I really saw the couple fall in love. But that hardly seems to matter when you think of the difficult lives the characters probably led after the book’s close. Hopefully Corey was successful as a teacher and didn’t become the victim of violence in the Reconstruction-era South.

UP NEXT: I’ll start reviewing a new series…and we’ll party like it’s 1999! Then I’ll move on to Heather, and we’ll enjoy Frollo’s triumphant return.

Nov
18

Happy belated Thanksgiving! Hope everyone got some good deals on Black Friday, too.

The final book in the Dawn of Love series is Promise Forever by Dee Austin, copyright 1985.

Promise Forever Front Cover (Credit: Joseph Cellini)

Front Cover Blurb: Is sixteen too young to…Promise Forever

Setting: 1840, a clipper-ship journey from New Bedford, Massachusetts, to Northern California, including a stop in the Falkland Islands.

Similar Sunfire Book: None. You could argue that Joanna’s Jed was a sailor, or that Marilee and Merrie’s books included journeys by ship, but it’s definitely not a straight comparison.

On the Cover: Tabitha Walker and Tom Howard. Tabitha is wearing the jade bracelet her father brought home for her.

Main Character: Tabitha Walker, 16; red hair, blue eyes. She is the daughter of a widowed ship captain who has been at sea for four years. She lives with her aunt and uncle in New Bedford, Massachusetts, where she is bored out of her mind and longing for adventure.

Suitor #1: Tom Howard, age 19; white-blond hair, gray-green eyes. He is a sailor on Captain Walker’s ship, the White Swan. He knows right away that he wants Tabitha as his wife, but he’s naive enough to think that a girl who stowed away on a ship to China will be content with hanging out on land raising children and waiting for her husband to come home from the sea.

Suitor #2: Davy Pearson, age 20; black hair, black eyes. He is the bosun on the White Swan and wonders if marrying the captain’s daughter will be a shortcut to having his own ship.

Suitor #3: Juan Alvarado, age 19; the Spanish-Mexican son of Captain Walker’s friend. Tabitha is dumped on the Alvardos’ California ranch after Captain Walker catches Tabitha and Tom in a compromising position.

Suitor #4: Alexei Ubetskoy, aka “Alexei One.” He is the Russian nephew of Baron von Wrangell, who is attempting to peacefully steal California for Russia. He’s not so much a suitor as a dinner guest who goes walking with Tabitha in the moonlight and kisses her (without her cooperation). It’s interesting that the preview for this book in the back of other DoL books claimed that Tabitha would be choosing between Tom and Alexei, who could give her everything. That certainly didn’t come across in the final product, so I wonder if something was cut or just changed before the book was finished.

Back Cover Blurb: Together They Sailed The Oceans on a Voyage of Love

Promise Forever Back Cover

This is a tiny book, clocking in at a brisk 180 pages. I liked Tabitha as a character just because she wasn’t primarily motivated by romance. Despite what the back cover says, she was planning to stow away on the White Swan before she ever met Tom. If Tom had been her one motivating factor, I would have been annoyed. I’m not thrilled with the way she treated her aunt and uncle, who really were like her parents. Her father certainly wasn’t much of a father, abandoning her for years at a time, then visiting for a few weeks before leaving again for years. And then, he dumps her on a friend and abandons her in California! I understand he was a sailor and had to make a living and all, but…parent of the year, not so much.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this recap of the Dawn of Love books. As I continue on with the Sunfire notes, I’ll alternate with another set of similar books.

Nov
17

Rachel, Sunfire #21, is one of Vivian Schurfranz’s titles that I like more than dislike.

Rachel Front Cover

Front Cover Blurb: America promised her a new a life and a new love.

Back Cover Blurb: Can she be true to her heritage and to the boy she loves?

Main Character: Rachel Rothkowski, brown hair, brown eyes, turns 16 about halfway through the book. She and her family are Jewish Immigrants from Poland. As they are processed on Ellis Island, the family’s last name is changed to Roth. (Small bone to pick here: My great-grandfather came from Poland, and I grew up in a predominantly Polish Chicago neighborhood. Nothing as easy as “Rothkowski” is worthy of being changed. If their name had no vowels, or a bunch of Cs, Zs, Ks, and Ys, I’d be more likely to buy the change.) The Roths start off living with the Rosen family, who includes Rachel’s aunt and uncle and her snippy cousin, Hannah.

Suitor #1: Joshua Fine, curly black hair, blue eyes, and spectacles. He is the Rosens’ neighbor and is opening a produce store in the neighborhood. He is super conservative, hardworking, and religious. He wants Rachel to become a traditional wife and mother. He also dislikes that she went to school and attends night classes.

Suitor #2: Nathan Meyers, auburn hair, brown eyes. He’s a reporter for the New York Times. Even though he, too, is a Jewish immigrant, he’s much more open and embracing of American culture. He attends classes so he can become an American citizen. He changed his last name himself, and encourages Rachel to follow her dreams. Rachel’s traditional mother doesn’t approve of his modern ways.

Setting: New York City, August 1910 through June 1911. In addition to immigration, the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where Rachel works, is a major focus, as well as unions.

On the Cover: I know people get a kick out of this cover, mostly over Nathan’s suit. in the middle is Rachel, looking appropriately Eastern-European. To the right is Joshua, looking really hot and not at all as described. From the description, I get more of this, only with black hair:

Hey, I always thought Percival was cute…and much more than Nellie deserved!

To the left is Nathan, looking a bit like Robert Redford in The Sting. And that suit! Oh, that glorious suit! Bottom right are Rachel and Nathan embracing (he just won’t let go of that hat, will he?) and bottom left is the Statue of Liberty, symbol of hope for the new Americans. NOTE: I can’t find a credit for the cover, but I thought it was an Iskowitz. It certainly seems much more like an Iskowitz than the Julie cover did.

Rachel Back Cover

I think Rachel is one of the better Schurfranz offerings. Sure, we still have two guys who immediately think Rachel is the greatest thing since sliced bread; we still have the bitter enemy who becomes best friend in Hannah, and we still have the “checking out my own gorgeous face and newly blossomed yet still petite figure in the mirror” scene. But there’s also a lot of good history here, and Rachel herself is a likeable character. She IS very naive, as Joshua says; how else would she not figure out what cousin Hannah has against her from the start? However, she doesn’t save the world, the way a usual Schurfranz heroine would. She plays a small but personally significant part in surviving the fire, which is heartbreaking. The love of the family is predominant, and I love the circle of how the Roths start out their new life by bunking with the Rosens. Then, at the end, when the Roths are established in their own apartment, we learn they will be hosting the next batch of relatives to head over from Poland.

Significantly, there is NO Frollo character in this book!

Humph. Well, at least I get a part in Heather.

Yes, Frollo, we’ll see you again. But first we’ll get to meet the only African-American Sunfire girl, Corey.

Nov
11

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?

Sep
23

Just back from my Disney World vacation, where I had a great time! Please give me a few days to recover, do laundry, and reconcile myself to the real world. Up next is the post on the fifth Dawn of Love book, and a Schurfranz book I kind of like, Rachel. So bear with me while I get my act together!

Sep
03

In my opinion, Sunfire #20, Julie, by Vivan Schurfranz, has the ugliest cover hands-down. The yellow cast over all the images is only the start of its problems.

Julie Front Cover (credit: unknown)

Coming Next Blurb at the end of Nicole: Julie, who has to choose between two exciting men while she struggles to help in the building of the first transcontinental railroad.

Front Cover Blurb: As the railroad opens a new age, Julie opens her heart to first love.

Back Cover Blurb: Still only a girl, love forces her to make a woman’s choice.

Main Character: Julie Fulton, who celebrates her 16th birthday shortly into the book; curly auburn hair, green eyes. Her family is a “railroad family,” including her father, an engineer; her brother, a spiker; and her mother, a famous telegrapher.

Suitor #1: Dylan O’Kelly, curly black hair, blue eyes. He’s a tracklayer for the Union Pacific. He’s loud, brash, and arrogant; he first meets Julie by making fun of her, yet he STILL somehow wins her heart. Yeah, that’s the kind of book this is.

Suitor #2: Samuel Harper, brown hair and brown eyes. A young surveyor working for Julie’s father, his uncle is Hiram Harper, who owns a stagecoach line and therefore doesn’t want the railroad finished. (Psst, Frollo, that’s your cue!)

The iron horse is the servant of the devil…just like all of Schurfranz’s heroines.

Please, Frollo, give it a rest; we know you lust after all of them.

Setting: November 1868-May 1869, Crooked Branch, Utah Territory; the completion of the first transcontinental railroad.

On the Cover: Oh, this poor, poor cover. Middle: First we have Julie, if Julie were actually Hispanic. Now I do give props for the clover necklace, and I think the pink dress is supposed to be the one she gets for her birthday, and maybe, MAYBE, there’s some reddish cast to her hair. But how can you tell with all the YELLOW? Gack. To the right is the ugliest suitor of all time, Dylan. Or maybe it’s a pig in a wig (one of my favorite lines from Sorcerer’s Stone…thank you, Ms. Rowling.) Below Dylan is a lovely locomotive coming ’round the mountain. To the left is Samuel, actually looking decent, especially compared with the unfortunate Dylan, but what’s with the poet shirt? Below Samuel is Julie, in what appears to be a can-can skirt, sitting in a meadow with Samuel. Could the combination of colors on this cover be any less pleasing? Is there anyone who LIKES this cover?

Julie Back Cover

Okay, I admit it: I could NOT reread this book. I tried, a couple times, but it’s just horrible. The only thing that maybe, possibly, makes it slightly better than Megan is Julie’s sticking by Dylan when he’s hurt and thinks he’ll never walk again. But Dylan treats her like property! “I’m not going to marry you now that I’m paralyzed, so I pick Samuel for you instead.” Really, Dylan? You’re that arrogant that Julie should just mary whoever YOU think she should? He’s an ass. I feel bad for Samuel. I think the poor guy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Aug
19

A teenage girl tilts her head and gazes from beneath her wide-brimmed hat up at the Titanic, the huge ship that will take her home to America. Although she is a privileged first-class passenger, she has a secret: her widowed mother has squandered her father’s entire fortune. The girl must marry money or she and her mother will lose everything. But she is about to meet the love of her life, who is not a rich, titled gentleman but a penniless steerage passenger whose values will inspire her to change her own outlook on life. And she can’t even imagine the disaster to come and how it will test her and her new love.

Sounds familiar, right? But believe it or not, I am not describing the plot of a blockbuster, award-winning movie…it’s Sunfire #18, Nicole, by Candice F. Ransom.

Nicole Front Cover (Credit: Joel Iskowitz)

Front Cover Blurb: The tragic sinking of the Titanic, and a new love, will change her life forever.

Back Cover Blurb: Can the love in her heart give her the courage to face incredible danger?

Main Character: Nicole Sanders, 16; light brown hair, brown eyes. Her flighty mother, Evangaline, whisked Nicole away to Europe when Nicole’s father, Hudson, died suddenly. She kept her there for two years, giddily running through Hudson’s money while Nicole did her best to manage the finances, buy travel tickets, and fend off boring European boys. Now penniless, the Sanders women have to return to New York…with Evangeline posing as “Vange,” Nicole’s older sister, in order to snag a rich husband. At least that’s the plan until Nicole meets…

Suitor #1: Lord Price Armsley, the future Earl of Dunsmoor; sandy light brown hair, blue eyes. Price is traveling alone because he’s actually running away from his overbearing father. Well, running away first-class with a motor car and plenty of tuxedos, but no valet. He meets Nicole on deck as the ship is leaving port and instantly takes a shine to her. Evangeline is furious that Nicole is ditching her to spend so much time with some boy, until she finds out the boy is a lord. Then the plan changes: let Nicole marry the wealthy husband instead. The fly in THAT ointment is: Nicole is already head-over-heels in love at first sight with…

Suitor #2: Karl Terez, a Hungarian immigrant; curly black hair, brown eyes. He and Nicole make eye contact as he is boarding the ship with his mother and two sisters. It’s obvious he won’t be a first-class passenger, so Nicole has to hunt for him for a bit until they officially meet. They sneak around meeting in laundry rooms (with Price’s help, after Nicole tells him Evangeline is trying to land him as a son-in-law for his money). Strangely enough, Vange is not the only family member less than thrilled about this romance. Karl’s miserable sister, Francesca, hates Nicole because she’s rich (or at least a first-class passenger) and Francesca was forced to leave her own love behind, so no one else should be happy anyway. Maybe Francesca is part Vogon.

Setting: This Sunfire is of the shortest duration, just five days: April 10th through the 15th, 1912, on the Titanic’s one-and-only voyage. Makes it kind of difficult to create a realistic love-of-your-life story. (Or is it?)

On the Cover: Middle, Nicole in one of her fancy dresses. I don’t think one of this color is mentioned, and her gowns are usually described as having long sleeves, but I still think it’s appropriate and I like the feather accessory. Her hair is probably not era-appropriate, but I always thought Nicole was one of the prettiest Sunfire girls. To the right is Price, looking dashing, and again accessory-complete with gloves, top hat, and walking stick. To the left is Karl, probably as he looked boarding the ship with his knapsack. Lower right is Price and Nicole on the deck, which gives us a glimpse of the romantic atmosphere of the ship pre-accident. Lower left is the Titanic going down. (I don’t think smoke should be coming out of the smokestacks as it’s sinking, but small point.) I always loved this cover with its dark berry title and mood-setting colors.

Nicole Back Cover

I still think the amount of detail Ransom packs into the short format is miraculous; although now the images of the ship in my mind as I read have been replaced by the movie scenery. I admit that as an adult, I find the idea of Nicole and Karl falling in love at first sight completely nuts, and that they developed their relationship to “true love” level in five short days incredible. And then I think about the movie, and how I believe in Rose and Jack’s love, cultivated in about the same amount of time…maybe even less, since Rose didn’t even see Jack for the first time until the second day at sea.

In any case, Ransom does a good job of conveying both the rising level of panic as well as the nonchalance of the people who insist there’s no danger. Even once Nicole is settled in the lifeboat, there’s still some possibility of her freezing to death before they are rescued. (This is a Sunfire book, so of course she’ll be rescued and at least one swain will survive.)

It’s incredible to believe that the final location of the Titanic had only been known for about a year when Nicole was published. These days, most of us have seen real images of the ship decaying at the bottom of the ocean.

Note: This was the last Sunfire book by Candice F. Ransom, and the loss was keenly felt by all Sunfire fans.

Aug
08

The fourth Dawn of Love book is probably my least favorite: Fearless Love by Stephanie Andrews, copyright 1985.

Fearless Love Front Cover (Credit: Joseph Cellini)

Front Cover Blurb: Is sixteen too young for…Fearless Love

On the Cover: Lucy Bonner and Jesse Lee Powell, who has hair that Simon Le Bon would have envied.

Okay, maybe not.

Jesse Lee is giving Lucy his mother’s locket, which in the book is described as a half moon, not a new moon. Maybe it was a new moon on Monday? (Tee hee. Okay, I’ll stop.) Also, the scene wasn’t nearly as romantic as shown on the cover, as Lucy was still spitting mad at Jesse Lee at that point.

Setting: Texas, February through April 1836

Similar Sunfire Book: Victoria

Main Character: Lucy Bonner, the daughter of a wealthy ranch owner in San Antonio. She is 16 with the dark eyes and blue-black hair of her Spanish-Mexican mother. Lucy and her family are preparing to leave her father at the Alamo. She is known to be timid and shy until she meets Jesse Lee Powell.

Suitor #1: Jesse Lee Powell, age 19, golden-blonde hair and blue eyes. He came from Tennessee with Davy Crockett to fight for Texas independence. Unfortunately, Jesse Lee has a “love ’em and leave ’em” history, often prefaced with “kiss me tonight, for tomorrow I may die.” When one of Jesse Lee’s fellow fighters makes this quite hurtfully known to Lucy, along with a couple of insults about her being a loose sexpot, there is a huge blowup that results in the entire Alamo knowing that Lucy was smooching in a dark corner.

Suitor #2: Juan Seguin, 26, black hair, dark brown eyes. He was Lucy’s childhood crush, and she seems a lot more attractive to him at 16 than she did at 10. (Which, granted, is in his favor.)

Suitor #3: Dirk Schumann, the son of a neighboring ranch owner. He assumes he and Lucy will be married to join their ranches, but he turns nasty after the hullabaloo over Lucy and Jesse Lee. He decides that if Lucy is giving it away for free, he’ll get in line too…no marriage required. Dirk is a complete d-bag, and d doesn’t stand for dirt.

Back Cover Blurb: Lucy Bonner would never forget…

Fearless Love Back Cover

How does it stack up against its Sunfire counterpart? Really, no contest here. We do get some snapshots inside the Alamo in this story as opposed to Victoria, where the characters observed from the outside. But mostly, this is a story about people riding horses. Lucy and her family ride out of the Alamo. Jesse Lee chases after them. Then Jesse Lee shows up at the Bonner ranch. He leaves, then Lucy rides back to the Alamo. She rides back home. Then the Bonners leave home ahead of the Mexican army. Once they finally camp, Lucy rides to San Jacinto to find out what’s going on. All this riding in one little 180-page book.

Not too surprisingly, Lucy and Jesse Lee don’t get much time to develop their romance. Really, they only ever see each other five times in the course of the book. Add in the mistrust built on their first meeting and Lucy’s love for him doesn’t really seem that believable. Attraction, sure; true love, not so much.

Another irritant: Lucy meeting Santa Anna. While it’s not like Lucy plays any big role in changing the course of history (he asks her to give the message that there will be no quarter given at the Alamo), I hate when the fictional heroine interacts importantly with real-life people. Bt if you follow this blog, you already know that!

This book has a lot of sexual innuendo. It’s implied that Jesse Lee has been bonking his way from Tennessee to Texas. Dirk and Harper have a lot to say about Lucy’s availability. In their last meeting at the Alamo, Lucy tentatively suggests that maybe sex SHOULD be an option, because they really might never see each other again. Luckily, Jesse Lee has learned his lesson and wants only a kiss before Lucy leaves.