Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Blurb: Taken captive by a Shawnee war party wasn't how Charity Edmonson hoped to escape an unwanted marriage. Nor did Shawnee warrior Wicomechee expect to find the treasure promised by his grandfather's vision in the unpredictable red-headed girl.
George III's English Red-Coats, unprincipled colonial militia, prejudice and jealousy are not the only enemies Charity and Wicomechee will face before they can hope for a peaceful life. The greatest obstacle to happiness is in their own hearts.
As they struggle through bleak mountains and cold weather, facing wild nature and wilder men, Wicomechee and Charity must learn to trust each other.
WARNING*****This review may contain spoilers*****
Review: The setting starts in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia in 1764 when it was still part of the American Frontier. From there the action carried the characters into the mountains, which were later identified as the Alleghenies Mountains and on into the Ohio River Valley. Most of the story describes cold, sometimes violently stormy weather. I loved the descriptions of the "flora and fauna". Ms. Tressel describes the colors and the smells in a way that I felt I was there actually smelling and seeing with her characters. The descriptions were great; "Milkweed pods released fluffy white seeds, like tiny sails, in the barely there breeze”; "a potpourri of sensations, like contrasting scents"; "a tangle of grape vines".
Charity Edmondson is a twenty year old "old maid" who lives with her uncle and aunt and her cousin Emma. Aunt Mary is harping about Charity getting married to Rob Buchanan soon. Charity escapes and goes to gather nuts. While she is gone, Shawnee Indians attack the home. Emma is taken captive,, even though she is far along in her pregnancy. Aunt Mary escapes and the men are killed. Charity is also captured. Her captor is Wicomechee, who speaks English. Colin Dickenson is an Englishman, living with the Shawnee, who is a falsely accused fugitive from England. He and Emma had met at some time in the past and fallen in love, but her parents had her marry another man. Rob Buchanan is also taken captive.
Much of the story takes place while the Indians and their captives are going back to the Indian home. They face many hardships and conflicts along the way. Rob, Charity's suitor tries to convince her to escape with him. Chaka, one of the Shawnee warriors is infatuated with Charity and constantly tries to get her alone, to 'have his way' with her. The chief, Chaka's father tells her to choose one of the men as husband. Charity has an encounter with a bear, Mechee, as she calls him, rescues her.
There is conflict between the couple concerning their religions; her's Christian and his Shawnee beliefs.
During a militia attack, Emma's baby is coming and Charity won't leave her cousin. Mechee leaves but sends Waupee/Colin back to help the women. The militia captain is Rob's father. Paxton, one of the militia wants to take Colin captive for the reward being offered. He also tries to take Charity. The Shawnee attack and Charity is saved again.
The trip back to the Indian village is crammed full of action like the time when she is captured by some fur traders; and either romantic talk or quarreling between Charity and Mechee.
There are many mystical episodes intermingled with the events. Charity probably has psychic powers, because sometimes she dreams of happenings to come or hears her dead brother, Craig, calling her to follow him. Mechee's father predicts what will happen several times.
The ending is a real surprise, but I will let you have the pleasure of reading it for yourself.