I read this book on the weekend and boy did this book grab me. I skimmed, very quickly, through the prologue as it contains a very vivid description of a torture scene. I think sometimes I have too good an imagination for my own good. For example, when Braveheart came out, I refused to see it until I knew how it ended. I'd been burned before and I needed to prepare. I read the end in a bookstore and could picture it very clearly. That kept me from seeing the movie for quite some time. I waited until it came out on video (before DVD's became so popular) so I could leave the room at the end. But I digress
Once I got past the prologue, I fell completely and totally in love with this book. For one thing the setting is one I love but is very hard to find - colonial America. The book opens six years later with the hero Nicholas Kenleigh having cut all ties to his family and simply existing as a trapper. After a brief stop at a fort to bathe and get rid of stress in a time honoured way, he is attacked by French trappers. He arrives near death at the homestead of heroine Elspeth (Bethie) Stewart, a young pregnant widow who is near her time. After forcing her at gunpoint to help him she reverses the roles.
Nicholas is a hero in every sense of the word. Although he has trained himself not to feel anything, Bethie slowly begins to melt the ice he has lived with. Bethie had had a very rough time of it herself and it's wonderful to see these two wounded souls heal each other. Nicholas is so patient and understanding with her. Bethie, although very cautious and untrusting is a heroine I enjoyed very much.
Another thing I appreciated about the story is it's not black and white. True the Indians are attacking the settlers, but Ms. Clare shows they aren't all bad and they have their own reasons for doing what they are doing.
The description of the times are superb. I could picture everything so clearly.
I love the movie Last of the Mohicans and this book had a very similar feel to it as the movie. I had no sooner finished reading this book, then I sighed, took a deep breath and began an immediate reread. I think I'm going to be spoiled for the next little while and find it difficult to get into another book. I noticed it just received 5 stars at The Romance Reader. It earned every one of them