Dancing on Coals

Dancing on Coals - Ellen O'Connell What a powerful story! And what a joy to find this author. Once again, there needs to be a way to give more stars. We need an 'all time favorite' star, and this will surely top my list.Ah, Gaetan! It's rare that you can find a hero quite as fierce as Gaetan. He doesn't even speak any words to our heroine for quite a long time. If you're looking for a sweet and gentle love story, this is not it. This love story is dangerous and proud. The gentleness is hidden, but the bits that are there are magical. Katherine is an American woman trying to find freedom from the strict rules enforced on ladies by society. Her father owns a shipping company, and as a child, she and her brothers accompanied him to faraway places and had many adventures. As they grew up, however, Katherine was expected to stay home and become the proper lady that others expected from women in those days. She eventually has enough of that, and decides to have her own adventure while the men in her life are away overseas. And boy, does she ever find adventure! Her stagecoach is robbed by bandits, she is rescued by a handsome Apache warrior, and scorned by his people, including his brother Gaetan. Gaetan hates all white man for their killing of his parents and oppression and slaughter of his people. But as much as he ignores, fights, and runs away from his love for Katherine, he can never separate himself enough to be free of this white woman. Soon, circumstances force the two together, and despite their hate and fear, they form an unwanted bond. While also an enthralling love story, this book also focuses on the plight of Native Americans, namely Apache, during the late 1800s and up into the early 1900s. It tells of their struggles to live free on land that was systematically taken from them, not by right or might, but by sheer numbers. It brought tears to my eyes more than once. The cruelty of man, the grasping at power and land, truly knows no bounds. It was a bittersweet ending, as we all know what became of the original Americans. But also thoroughly satisfying, as the love between Gaetan and Katherine was fierce and strong, and they kept their 'hard promises.'