A while ago I re-read the classic, yet embarrassingly dated and racially insensitive Indian Romance Career Achievement award-nominated novel Brave Heart. Ever since then I’ve been keeping an eye out for something to read by an indigenous author
as penance because there are alarmingly few Native American authors in my overall reading rotation. ⠀
I first heard of Heartbeat Braves via a review by @thunderbirdwomanreads and added it to my reading list immediately. It’s the first of a 4-part series about the love lives of workers at the fictional Crooked Rock Urban Indian center, somewhere in California. The author, Pamela Sanderson, is a citizen of the Karuk tribe. I’d never seen a romance novel written by and about indigenous American people before so this seemed like a great choice for something light and fun.
It’s a typical romance novel. The central couple, Henry and Rayanne, are young but also relatively drama free–the main plot conflicts come from their jobs. They themselves have an astonishingly healthy relationship (emotionally), as romance novels go. However, Henry, our male protagonist is–sorry, y’all–kind of a loser. He doesn’t mean to but he’s got definite bum tendencies. His lady love Rayanne, in contrast, is very type A, organized, on top of everything and doesn’t ever seem dumb enough to fall for a dude who manages a band and squats in a condemned building just because he’s fine–yet she does. There are plenty of real life couples like this, sure, but I didn’t enjoy reading about one in a straightforward romance, and it lowered the rating of the book quite a bit for me. Otherwise, it’s cute, light and sweet with some interesting cultural touches and a welcome sense of social awareness.
Three stars and gainful employment to Heartbeat Braves. ⠀
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