03 Jan '13

A Nix Review – Mystic Cowboy by Sarah Anderson (4.5 Stars)

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When Dr Madeline Mitchell quits her job in the city to take on the role as Doctor to the Lakota tribe on the Rez, everyone thinks that she is committing career suicide. Hell, after just an hour there she thinks the same. There is no drugs, no equipment, no walls and half the patients won’t even look at her never mind tell her their symptoms. Things then become even more complicated when the gorgeous Rebel Runs Fast comes in with his brother. The Lakota man sets her pulse racing, actually pays his bills so she can buy much needed medicine but he is also one of the tribe’s medicine men and will always try to get patients into his sweat lodge before seeking her help.
After a disastrous marriage to a white woman, Rebel has sworn off the white world forever. Then he meets Madeline and his world turns upside down. When he discovers her in the throes of heat stroke and has to cool her off in the river?…*phew* Although the attraction between them is palatable, the cultural differences are mammoth. She doesn’t believe in his methods of treatment, believes their acceptance of death is immoral and, worse of all, she doesn’t believe his visions are real. When his visions show that the “flu” that seems to be attacking the tribe is something far more sinister, their beliefs clash in a major way. Who will be the victor in this battle of wills? Does it really matter as long as the outcome is positive in the long-run?
Rebel is probably just as prejudiced as everyone else in this book. He allowed his one bad encounter with a white woman to influence his dealings with the whole white world. He even bets Madeline that she won’t last long because she wouldn’t be able to cope with life on the Rez. My heart broke for the people who lived on White Sands.  The realities of being a Native American on the Rez are described in gritty and unflinching detail and it was horrible to read about such people living in poverty literally a border away from, by comparison, much richer towns.  I liked his journey in this book as he is very blinkered in his views at the start. He is pretty dreamy too…. *swoon*
Madeline drove me BATTY. She was the most insecure person that I have ever read about and, although realistic, I wanted to punch her in the head at certain times (He’s been gone hours…get over it!) Again she was a person who struggled accepting the beliefs and actions of others in the book, but hers conflicts were more scientific than religious. She struggled with the concept of using sweat lodges, couldn’t understand that some people refused treatment because they thought “it was their time” and thought that that visions were actually delusions. Her journey was fantastic and I thought her compromise was a much more realistic outcome than a sudden acceptance of a completely new culture.    
The romance was fantastic. The chemistry was very well written and they certainly did steam up the pages. I particularly enjoyed the skinny dipping scene J It wasn’t just a simple case of lack of communication stopping these two from just having their HEA immediately; there were real concerns and conflict of opinions that was causing some major conflicts. The side plot was horrific. I shall tell you no more but it made me cry a little bit!
I love Sarah Anderson’s books and this one may be my favourite. A different publisher, the first book in this series feels a little saucier than the rest of her work and I loved it. This is a story of lust, prejudice and acceptance. I enjoyed the insights I got into Lakota traditions almost as much as the cultural clash between them. (PS I cannot wait for Nobody’s book….)


Nix

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