Review: Mystic Cowboy by Sarah M. Anderson

Liz’s Review

Mystic Cowboy by Sarah M. Anderson
Western romance released by Samhain Publishing on January 1, 2013

One good man could drive her all kinds of crazy.

Men of the White Sandy, Book 1

Just who does Rebel Runs Fast think he is? Dr. Madeline Mitchell, the new doctor on the White Sandy Lakota Indian Reservation, knows there’s a good answer to that question. Somewhere.

Sure, the Lakota medicine man is every cowboy-and-Indian fantasy she ever had, but he sends patients to sweat lodges instead of clinical trials, talks them out of flu vaccines. Even more irritating, he makes her heart race.

Rebel swore off the white man’s world—and its women—years ago. Madeline doesn’t speak the language, understand the customs, or believe he’s anything more than a charlatan. Yet she stays, determined to help his people. And he keeps finding excuses to spend more time at the clinic.

When he discovers her in the throes of dangerous heat stroke, Rebel’s efforts to cool her down set fire to a passion neither thought they wanted. But when the people start falling violently ill, the cultural gap stretches the connection between their hearts to the breaking point…

Warning: This book contains smoking-hot skinny dipping, emotional and emotionally satisfying sex, and a shirtless cowboy who is also an Indian.

When I got into reading romance novels during my first pregnancy, after a long affair with mysteries, one of the types of books that I always looked for were the Native American/Settler historical romances.  If it took place during pioneer times, with a restless heroine looking for something to tickle her fancy and a shirtless young man waiting in the brush to steal her away to his camp and make her his bride, I would snatch it up right away.  Loved them.  Devoured them.  Still enjoy them.  So when I saw the description for a contemporary romance taking place on a Lakota Sioux reservation, I was more than willing to indulge.  I haven’t read anything by Sarah before, but I loved the premise.  Overzealous, under-informed white woman doctor tries to make a difference on a Lakota reservation and tries extremely hard not to fall in love with the local medicine man?  Sign me up!

First, I’ll say that this book felt very real to me.  I have read a great deal about the current situation on reservations in our country, and it’s appalling.  People live with nothing and are glad for what they have.  People like the ones portrayed on the White Sandy Indian Reservation in this book are happy to just have groceries.  It’s easy to see that Sarah has done her research, and that helped me to connect to the characters and fall in love with the world she built.

Dr. Madeline Mitchell has excellent intentions when she signs up for two years as the reservation doctor.  What she doesn’t expect is the awful conditions that she’s expected to work in, between the lack of funding from the government for basic supplies to the language barrier she faces between the older residents who speak only a bare amount of English.  Immediately she butts heads with the medicine man, Rebel Runs Fast, cursing his good looks and charm as she watches him direct her patient to his sweat lodge instead of a hospital for treatments.  When the book begins, Madeline is escaping from a failed relationship and an uptight world, hoping to make a difference.  An icy exterior and a cold glare that can stop a man at twenty paces are her hallmarks, as well as her ability to leap to insane conclusions and not let people speak their minds fully.  She’s immature at times, in her views on life and love and men, but she’s also driven, dedicated, and honorable, qualities that more than make up for her flaws.

Rebel Runs Fast is a sexy surprise a minute.  From one moment to the next, the reader is treated to another layer of the depth that brings us closer to finding out just who Rebel is and why he walks the line between two worlds.  On one hand, a talented artist that poses for publicity shots and uses his earnings to help his people. On the other hand, a spiritual guide, medicine man, and full blooded Lakota who loves his people and wants to be there for them in every possible way.  It seems impossible for both sides of the man – Jonathan the artist and Rebel the Lakota – to exist at the same time, and this constant struggle kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the whole book.  Even the romance aspect of the book kept me wondering, made me not want to put the book down.  I love it when an author makes you work for the love and doesn’t just hand it to you.  Rebel suffers in this book between his duty to his people and his desires as a man, and I suffered right along with him.

The romance between Madeline and Rebel is wonderful, and when they finally get together, things get hot very fast.  Even in the middle of the hot lovin’, there’s this undercurrent of tension that heightens all of it.  Can Madeline live in his world?  Could he let her go if she couldn’t?

Rebel has a vision of his people dying, and when they begin to grow sick, the only person he can count on is Madeline.  Through this plot, the reader is reminded of the atrocities brought on the native people by the white man.  It’s not done in a finger pointing, shaming sort of way, but rather brought about with compassion and yearning for things to be different.  Can one person really make a difference in a situation that seems so hopeless?  The book, even though it’s fiction, answers that question in a most amazing way.

I loved the secondary characters.  Madeline’s family has dwindled down to only her sister, Mellie, due to the deaths of their parents.  Mellie at first comes across as a flighty debutante, but like many of the characters, she’s not just a one-dimensional character.  The clinic where Madeline works is full of amazing characters, from Albert, who sweeps the floors and speaks little English, to Nobody Bodine, Rebel’s friend and a man determined to find out why his people are getting sick, to Tara, who works at the clinic with Madeline.  Each character was rich and vibrant and made the story come alive.  And I can’t say enough about Nobody…he rocked my world.  Love him so much, I sincerely hope the author is planning another book in this series because I will pounce on that like nobody’s business!

This book was such a pleasure to read that I was sorry when it was over.  It’s one of those books that when it was finished and I’d read the last word, I cuddled my Kindle a little closer and grinned like an idiot.  A rollercoaster ride from beginning to end, with dynamic characters, a rich background and history, a touch of supernatural element with Rebel’s visions, a mystery to be solved, and lives to be saved, this book grabbed me by the throat from the first word and didn’t let go until my eyes passed over the very last word.  Now that I’ve read one of Sarah’s books, I can’t wait to read more.

Grade:  A

You can buy a copy here.

2 thoughts on “Review: Mystic Cowboy by Sarah M. Anderson

  1. Kelly Bennett

    Thanks Liz you did a great review I will have to put this story on my list. And it’s nice to know I am not the only one who hugs my kindle or book.

    Reply
  2. Ellie Heller

    I saw the cover and thought for a sec this was going to be a review of Cynful by Dana Marie Bell – it has the _same_ cover model.

    I’m happy it’s not, as I’ve already that, and am always looking for new books. This one sounds Faboo!!!

    Reply

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