Walking in Two Worlds by Terry O’Reilly

 Walking in Two Worlds by Terry O’Reilly

Blurb:

Lee Masters is fired from his cattle drive when his sexual orientation is discovered. Frustrated and angry, he rides to a mountain lake where he meets Running Buffalo, Tatanka, who is also exiled from his tribe for refusing to adhere to tribal custom for braves who prefer men to women. They strike up a friendship, which readily turns to love. Their family is completed when a young Indian, Sleeps With Dogs, insists they take him with them on their search for a home. Where can they find the acceptance they seek? Will they always be Walking In Two Worlds?

 

 

Review:

A very interesting story where the sum of the book is better than the individual parts. Taking apart each element shows the inherent problems within the story; however, together the book is actually better than I’d thought. On the downside, the writing is often too simplistic and lacks a cohesive flow that draws you into the story. Instead the actions are presented almost factually without eliciting emotion and connection. Similarly the characters come across as stiff and contradictory, just as the landscape of the background is muted and dull. However, put together the elements combine to create a surprisingly interesting and romantic story that manages to transcend the problems it creates.

The blending of two worlds is clearly difficult, even if the two men encounter more acceptance than rejection. Both Lee and Tatanka are looking for a fully accepting home where they can be, as they want to be and not be defined by society’s rules. However accepting that society may be there are limitations and rules for even that acceptance. Within the Dakota tribe, it’s a woman-man. Within the settlements, it’s hiding their relationship. Within the Hopi, it’s accepting the Winkte. Each society has its benefits and drawbacks, clearly showing that the two men who come from very different backgrounds and experiences cannot easily compromise no matter how much they try.

As I’m no historian, I have no reference if the author got his details correct but I have no reason to doubt given the research apparent within the story. It seemed to blend easily and well with no obvious missteps to the casual reader. The level of detail regarding both the settlements and various Native American tribes was impressive as it was incorporated easily without excessive added information. The background was established and continued to offer necessary information to the way of life without overwhelming the reader with sheer amounts of research. Part of this is due to the simplistic prose but it’s also the author’s judicious use of his copious research and I have to give credit for not taking the easy route and showing off how much he learned.

While the characterization was somewhat flat and inconsistent, surprisingly it seemed to work looking back on the story. Every instance I want to point out that the characters were contradictory eventually plays itself out and shows the reasoning that may not be apparent at that time, or the character grows throughout the journey and resolves the previous action. So be sure to read the entire book before making judgments. There’s one particular scene with Spotted Owl and Lee that had me close to frustrated but later explanations, especially much later, show the actions in a much different light when taken in another context. Even though that’s not a great excuse for a character inconsistency mid-story, it works in this story so is somewhat forgiven.

Another aspect I liked about this book was the ending. This is the third book I’ve read from this author (making my way through his backlist) and each time the ending was undeniably a HEA, but each left me wanting. The men are all in love and determined to have a future together but it may not be exactly riding off into the sunset classic ending. Because of this, I never know what to expect and that keeps me wondering where the author will go with these characters. He stretches the “rules” of happy ever afters ever so slightly that the classic ending doesn’t apply while still satisfying the romantics. So I was definitely fretting a bit 5 pages to the end but surprisingly completely satisfied with the ending. I didn’t think he could pull it off and he did – very well.

So while there are numerous problems within the story, I can still recommend this book for those who are looking for a romance that’s more fantasy than reality, but is interesting and satisfying. Don’t let the prose turn you off, it’s a bit bold and brash at the beginning but mellows as the story progresses. The writing harkens back to the author’s earlier work so I do think his prose gets more cohesive in his next books. Focus on the relationships, as that’s the real strength and the strong theme of romance within the book. 

Get it HERE!

 


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