I am always thrilled when Native American culture is a major part of any story, and Laura Drake did a fantastic job educating her readers on the Navajo people and traditions. Having recently been in Navajo territory and meeting the people there, it gave me a fresh new perspective on their way of life. It was clear from the start that this was going to be a unique romance I would not soon forget - it teaches the reader so much about love, patience, and looking beyond the color of a person's skin to their soul beneath.
Nevada Sweet is on the run, and Unforgiven, New Mexico is her latest hideaway as she tries to escape a troubled past. Gruff with zero filter, Nevada often rubs people the wrong way, but even she is having trouble irritating the friendly cook at the Chestnut Creek Cafe. Joseph "Fishing Eagle" King doesn't know what to make of this strange newcomer, but he is certain she is lashing out at everyone from fear. Offering her a place to stay seems right, but as they grow closer, he has more than just his desires to consider. He once made a promise to uphold the Navajo way, and falling in love with a white woman was not in his plans. Fate has a funny way of bringing people together, and as tension ignites between the two, they must both consider whether they want a future apart...or together.
Nevada was one of those characters you have a love/hate relationship with, because she was so complex and difficult to read. On the one hand, I understood she had a hard life and something has definitely happened to make her hide behind her sharp tongue. I have known a lot of people like that, and I felt an affinity towards Nevada's friend, Carly. It can be hard to help someone who doesn't want your help but still needs it. Nevada had been on her own for so long that she trusted no one but herself, and she didn't want to form any attachments. But she couldn't help it with a man like Joseph King. He was probably the most patient man I have seen on paper, putting up with her snide remarks and insults so that he could slowly sneak around her defenses. Once he did, it was lovely to see the Nevada she kept hidden away. The Navajo culture played a huge role in this book, and I liked seeing the interactions between Nevada and Joseph's people. While it's frustrating to see the automatic animosity based on her being white, it also brought attention to the continuing struggles of bridging that gap that our ancestors created. I loved how she handled herself and Joseph was fully supportive, making their relationship strong and admirable.
I look forward to reading more about the women of Unforgiven - I believe Lorelei is up next, and I can't wait!
**I received a free copy from the publisher and this is my honest review.**