Reviewed by Mandi
I’ve been anticipating Thomas and Prudence’s (Pru) book for quite some time. First meeting in Heartbreak Creek, these two have danced around a romance for quite some time. Thomas is half white, half Cheyenne Indian. Pru is half white, half black, born to an enslaved mother. Living in the late 1800’s, these two don’t always have the easiest time in life. They are constantly reminded of the color of their skin by others, but they rise above it all to find love with one another.
At the start of this book, Thomas and Pru are already deep in love, but circumstances have forced them apart. Before he meets Pru, Thomas, who relates much more to his Cheyenne side, was sent away from his tribe to learn the ways of the white, so his people could better defend themselves. But he was caught by the government, and his wife and child ended up dying. Blaming himself, he eventually befriended the local sheriff and he decided to continue to live his life, he would have to live a little less like an indian. He goes to work caring for horses, cuts his hair and tries to wear what the white people in Heartbreak creek wear. He doesn’t like it- much preferring solitude, wide open spaces and living like he was raised. But after meeting Pru, he decides to do whatever he can to win her heart.
When this book starts, Pru is involved in two things she is passionate about – education and the underground railroad. Trying to push forward an education initiative, she gets involved with a man named Marsh who is blatantly a bad person. He has political goals and uses Pru to gain advantage. He threatens her and Pru finds herself in a hard place. She tries to keep Marsh happy all the while quietly helping those in need to escape through the underground railroad. Thomas comes searching for her, ends up with a blind black child who calls him daddy, and eventually catches up to Pru, realizing she is in danger from Marsh. Their romance unfolds from there.
I adore Thomas and Pru. Thomas is so stoic and protective and not afraid to kill those that threaten him or the ones he love. He lives confidently and without fear but is always aware that because of the color of his skin, he is a target. Pru is dedicated to education. She was the one that taught Thomas how to read and write. Pru is a little more nervous in general, but she has a big heart. She loves Thomas fiercely.
And I continued to love these two together in this book, except so much happens that pulls them apart. And I didn’t feel like it was the angsty, emotional distance that can occur between lovers rather, this conflict felt a little forced. Pru ends up trusting Marsh too much, and bad things happen. Thomas ends up trusting Marsh too much and bad things happen. They were too smart to let Marsh get the better of them. Thomas continuously doubts Pru’s committment to him – and again – he was too smart to not realize Pru’s overall goal and plan.
There is also the character of Lillian, a child that Thomas accidentally adopts. She is loud and energetic and has a lot of page time. And while she is cute, it took away from Pru and Thomas’s journey together.
I like this story, but there was also some noisy filler in it.