Tanya Martin is kidnapped by Native Americans on her way to Colorado and finds the love of a lifetime, while adjusting to living with a Cheyenne tribe. Tanya Martin is only 16 years old when she and her family set out for Colorado, where her fiance awaits. However, her life changes forever when she and several of her traveling companions are kidnapped by a group of warriors. She is fortunate in that the man who claims her is not vicious or needlessly cruel, although the others are not so lucky.
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The man who claimed her is named "A Panther Stalks" is commanding and will not tolerate her stubborn nature. To prove her status, she is branded shortly after her arrival. When she attempts to escape, endangering other members of the tribe, she is whipped for her actions. It is initially very difficult for her to live with the tribe, but she slowly begins to fall in love with her captor. There is evidence of his feelings changing as well.
Over time, she is embraced as a full-fledged member of the tribe and after extensive training, even becomes a warrior. Her Indian name is "Little Wildcat." There are several situations where she is forced to participate in torture and she is unfortunately not able to permanently improve the lives of all the women with whom she was kidnapped.
There are numerous references to important historical events during the time period, which starts in the 1860's. Therefore, important battles are fought and eventually Indians are being sent to the reservations. Fortunately, A Panther Stalks, is only half Native American and his mother is Caucasian. As conditions worsen and tribes are forced to disband, tensions arise and Tanya and their children are forcibly removed.
She attempts to return to her home and family, but is miserable. She sees herself as a married woman and as a result, she has no interest in meeting other men. The man she was engaged to marry shows his true personality as a pompous and abusive man, which again reminds her of how lucky she is to have met A Panther Stalks. Finally, she risks her life and that of her children to seek out her husband and does so just in time.
Despite the problems, they attempt to stay with the tribe. Eventually, they realize that the safest option for their family is to return to the area where his mother lived and to help their friends from the outside. They take their four children and resolve to help their friends and family members from the tribe as much as possible, while also building a life for themselves in a society that is now somewhat foreign to them.
Best part of story, including ending:
I loved the story, but my only problem was how quickly Tanya acclimated to her new surroundings. For example, even though she did not want to, she participated in torture and seem to accept the possibility of rape for any of the kidnapped women as just another day. I wish she had more trouble doing so.
Best scene in story:
I was moved by the scene where she realized that in order for her to her sons to be happy, they would have to leave. The planning and attention to detail, to reunite with her husband was stupendous and it is important to remember that she risked all of their lives by doing so.
Opinion about the main character:
I loved that Tanya was spunky and intelligent, but felt like it was too easy for her to become completely submissive. Although I do believe they were in love, the events that led to their love seemed almost like a Stockholm Syndrome preparation. In addition, the details about the Indian culture, habits and practices seem to be accurate for the time, even though I am not a historian.