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    My Favorite Heroine by Buffie Johnson
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  • Published: Aug 29th, 2009

Buffie Johnson

When I learned the reviewers here at Romance Novel TV would be doing a week-long blog series on our favorite heroines, my thoughts immediately turned to the author who lured me into the romance novel world almost 15 years ago.   None other than Julie Garwood.    Now my dilemma was which one of her heroines do I pick?   I was torn between a couple of Ms. Garwood’s heroines, but Christina Bennett from The Lion’s Lady won out.

Christina Bennett was a toddler when her English mother was killed in the wilds of the Black Hills of America while trying to escape her malicious husband.   At the time of Christina’s mother’s death, a Native American Indian woman and her son were living with them.   So it was only nature that Merry, the Native American Indian woman, took Christina to raise as her child.  Merry and her Dakota Indian husband, Black Wolf, raised Christina to be strong, sensible, and a bit stubborn, all of which she needed when she returned to the English shores to avenge her mother’s death.   With white blond hair and clear blue eyes, Christina did not resemble the dark hair and eyes of the Dakota people.   But when the tribe’s shaman revealed to the tribe the vision he received from the Great Spirit, all members of the tribe embrace the little child – the lioness of their community.

Alexander Michael Phillips, the Marquess of Lyonwood, has tried marriage and it failed miserably.   His wife Lettie betrayed him with his own bother, and then died while trying to deliver their love child.   Alexander (Lyon to all of his friends) has become bored with society and all of its activities.  While escorting his younger sister to yet another boring society party, Lyon is blown away by the attraction he feels for the new lady on the scene.  Introduced to English society as Princess Christina, Lyon is intrigued by her gorgeous features.  Upon Lyon’s introduction to Christina, he is amused and curious by her vague answers to his questions.   Lyon cannot believe his feelings for Christina as he vowed he would never marry, let alone love, again.    Christina’s reaction to Lyon is one of disbelief.    Never in her dreams did she think she would find a warrior among the “white men” of England.   Raised to believe in destiny and vowed to find a man who was a warrior as proud and arrogant as her father, Christina realizes that Lyon is her warrior.

lion's_lady_julie_garwoodAt the end of Chapter 1, Julie Garwood tells a few traits Christina has received from her Dakota family:

From her father, Christina was give courage, and determination to finish any task, to conquer any difficulty.  She learned to wield a knife and ride a horse as well as any brave – better, in fact, than most.

From her mother, Christina was given the gift of compassion, understanding, and a sense of justice towards friends and enemies alike.

Christina’s straightforwardness is so refreshing.   At times it actually had me laughing out loud as I pictured the scene.   At one point in the story, Christina and Lyon are saying their goodbyes at the front door, when Christina tells Lyon she has one more question for him.    Lyon smiles down at her, amused by the faint blush that is covering her face, and then is shocked to death when she asks “Will you marry me Lyon?  Just for a little while.”  As he stares at her dumbfounded, Christina tells him to think about it and to let her know and then proceeds to shut the door in his face.   I must have had a grin on my face for five minutes after reading that scene.

Another example of Christina’s straight-to-the-point talking comes after Lyon and her share a passionate evening together.  Christina tells him “And now you must give me the soft words, Lyon.”   Confused by this, Lyon asks what she means and is told he must tell her what is in his heart.  When Lyon admits to loving her, Christina is quick to tell him “But I already know you love me.   Now you must praise me, Lyon.  It’s the way it’s done.  You must tell me I’m as beautiful as a flower in the spring, as soft and delicate as a flower’s petal.  And why is that amusing to you?  A woman must feel as desirable after loving as before, Lyon.”  Lyon finally realizes what Christina needs.  He pulls her into his arms and tells her all the soft words she desires.

There are so many reasons why I chose Christina as one of my favorite heroines.  She is strong.   She is a woman who is not frightened easily.  She demands what she wants.  She tells it like it is.   She shows her affection and attraction to Lyon freely.   She is a woman that I could be friends with.

Even though this novel was written 21 years ago, the characters still ring true today.   A strong, confident heroine.   A sexy, arrogant hero.   A cast of quirky secondary characters.   A murder mystery.  A beautiful love story.   All of these ingredients blend well to create one of Julie Garwood’s master pieces.

If you have not read The Lion’s Lady before or if it has been years since you last read it, I challenge you to read it and enjoy the strong, sensible, and stubborn heroine of Christina.

9 Responses to “My Favorite Heroine by Buffie Johnson”

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  1. Pam P
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 5:34 am

    I mentioned in PJ’s post that Christina is one of my favorite heroines, too, Buffie. I like how upfront and bold she can be yet also understanding in her own way, too, and that Lyon loves her for all her unique qualities and doesn’t try to change her.

  2. Buffie
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 5:57 am

    Pam, I am so happy that you like Christina too. I so enjoyed that she was not the cookie cutter heroine of most historicals. She IS bold and upfront, but not in a witchy way.

  3. PJ
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 7:20 am

    As I told Pam yesterday, it’s been a number of years since I read “The Lion’s Lady”. I think it’s definitely time for a re-read. Thanks, Buffie, for bringing to life another of my favorite Garwood heroines!

  4. Buffie
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 7:39 am

    PJ, it had been a few years since I had read The Lion’s Lady, but Christina was a character who always stuck in my head. I hope that you do find the time to re-read this wonderful book.

  5. Gannon
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 9:05 am

    Buffie, this is one Garwood that I haven’t read. I will definitely add it to my collection!

    Great job!

  6. Andrea
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 9:19 am

    Yet another book to add to my tbb list! I just love a straightforward heroine and Christina sounds perfect. Wonderful blog, Buffie! 🙂

  7. Buffie
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 9:25 am

    Gannon — if you enjoy Garwood historicals, then you really need to add this one to your collection.

    Andrea — Yes, you should add this one to your TBB list. I think you would really enjoy this one.

  8. Maria Lokken
    on Aug 29th, 2009
    @ 5:41 pm

    This is a plot line that usually works for me, where the heroine is taken out of her environment and all she knows and then returns to ‘society’ . Usually she brings with her a wiser, oftentimes more straightforward approach to situations, because she has a different viewpoint. When I read stories like this, it reminds me to always look at situations from lots of viewpoints and not just my narrow view of things.

  9. Marisa
    on Aug 30th, 2009
    @ 7:01 am

    Buffie – I too love Christina as a heroine. This is one of the first romance books I ever read and has stayed on my keeper shelf since then.

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