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    Anna Campbell’s Review of Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare
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  • Published: Oct 1st, 2009


Reviewed by Anna Campbell
Publisher: Leisure Books
Release Date: March 6, 2005

I must admit when I stayed up far too late one night to read this brilliant story, I had images of gorgeous Daniel Day-Lewis running through the forests going through my head. You know, that long lean streak in his buckskins with his black hair flying behind like a banner and his steely eyes fixed unflinchingly on the heroine! Not a bad thing at all!

This book marked a number of firsts for me. It’s the first Pamela Clare I’ve ever read – and it certainly won’t be the last. It’s also the first romance I’ve read set during the Indian Wars in mid-18th century America. I’ve been saying for a while that I’d like to see some settings other than the Regency and Victorian eras in Britain – it was so refreshing to read about somewhere different.

This is one of the most powerful books I’ve read in a long time. And man, does Pamela Clare know how to torture a hero! Her guy clearly did something wrong in a previous life because he suffers in this one. And so nobly and bravely too. Sigh! Mind you, I can’t say her heroine exactly has an easy ride of it either. When these two suffering, courageous creatures come together and get their happy ending, I can tell you, it’s SOOOOO satisfying. A perfect emotional arc of a story!

Since he was captured by Indians and tortured, Nicholas Kenleigh has turned his back on his army career and his rich family. He suffers bitter survivor guilt because the two young soldiers he was attempting to save didn’t make it. He also suffers guilt over what happened to him while with the Wyandot (I won’t go into too much detail – one of the marvelous things about this story is the way Pamela Clare unfolds the back story for each character). He’s become a grim loner who traverses the wilderness, trapping to pay for supplies, and generally avoiding other people.

ride_the_fire_romance_bookBut his life changes forever the day he stumbles upon heavily pregnant widow Elspeth (Bethie) Stewart who has been left alone after her husband’s death in her isolated cabin on the frontier. Nicholas has been seriously wounded and reluctantly forces the frightened young woman to give him shelter and care.

Bethie has her own secrets to hide and she has no reason to like men. But gradually these two wounded souls develop a wary trust, a trust underscored with burgeoning desire. Most of the first half of the book covers Nicholas and Bethie trapped together in the cabin and it develops an intensity that is absolutely breathtaking. We watch the barriers between them begin to crumble and there’s an amazing scene when Bethie has her baby with only Nicholas to help her. What a man!

The Indians are uniting to force the Europeans from the Ohio Valley and the cabin isn’t safe for Bethie and her daughter. For the first time since his capture, Nicholas heads east towards the family and friends he abandoned after his ordeal. But for all Nicholas’s bravery and skill, they’re too late to escape war and danger and the ghosts of the past.

This book has everything – great sexual tension, an action-packed story, high stakes, compelling characters, beautiful writing and a historical authenticity that you can almost touch, it’s so vivid. But the main thing I took away from it was the emotional intensity. You really go through the wringer with these characters – believe me, get tissues, and then the bit that really made me break up was right at the end when I thought they’d come through the worst of it all! A truly magnificent story! Pamela Clare, take a bow!

34 Responses to “Anna Campbell’s Review of Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare”

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  1. Pam Pellini
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 7:37 am

    A favorite read for me, too, Anna, a wonderful, emotional read. I can picture Daniel Day-Lewis playing the hero, great choice.

  2. PJ
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 7:56 am

    Perfect timing, Anna! I’m in the process of putting together a book order just added RIDE THE FIRE. It sounds wonderful! 🙂

  3. Lisa Richards
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 8:39 am

    Loved your review. Have added this to my book order. Saw that it was book 3 of a trilogy. Anyone know if you need to read the previous three so you wont be lost?

  4. Laura
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 9:02 am

    Wow! What a fantastic review. I have to agree with you, I love the idea of something different than Regency and Victorian. Don’t get me wrong, I love those time periods, but this book sounds great. I too believe I will order this one. Thanks for something different.

  5. azteclady
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 9:55 am

    Lisa, you don’t really have to read the first two books in the trilogy–I read it cold, just as Ms Campbell did, and I loved it just as much as she.

  6. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 3:27 pm

    Hey, Pam, isn’t this the best book? I was riveted right from the start – and not just with visions of DDL 😉 And it’s a book I find myself still thinking about which is always the sign of a keeper. So glad you’re another fan. I wonder how it went under my radar first time around.

  7. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 3:28 pm

    PJ, I think you’ll love this – and it’s so darn unusual too. That hero is really birdy, birdy, num, nums. Hmm, how did Peter Sellers get in here? Out, Peter, out!

  8. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 3:29 pm

    Lisa, I hadn’t read the previous two – as I said, this is my first Pamela Clare, although definitely not my last! I had no trouble working out who was who and what was happening. And a lot of the book is this really intense relationship build up between the hero and heroine.

  9. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 3:30 pm

    Laura, thanks for saying you enjoyed the review! I have exactly the same feeling about settings as you do – I’d cry my eyes out if we never had another Regency but sometimes it’s nice to take a walk on the wild side and go somewhere else!

  10. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 3:32 pm

    Hey, Azteclady! Great to see you here! I’m so glad you love this book too – I’ve mentioned it to a lot of people since I read it and it seems to have gone under a lot of other radars as well. And honestly, the intensity in this story puts it in a class by itself.

  11. Joanie T
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 3:47 pm

    Read. All. Her. Titles.

    You won’t regret it!

  12. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 4:12 pm

    Hey, thanks for the recommendation, Joanie T!

  13. Helen
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 4:15 pm

    I have read a couple of Pamela’s books (thanks to Joanie) and they are awesome I have 2 more on the TBR pile Sweet Release and Carnal Gift but I don’t have Ride The Fire I need to order this one.
    Pamela writes such wonderful adventures and they are not put downable.

    Have Fun

  14. Annie West
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 5:06 pm

    Anna, this sounds remarkable. I haven’t read any of Pamela’s books but can’t resist now.


  15. Mary Roderick
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 5:42 pm

    I have read all of Pamela Clare’s book. I love them all and cannot even begin to pick a favorite. She writes contemporary novels too. She can write so beautifully in both historical and contemporary settings.
    Her research is amazing!

  16. Jennie Marsland
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 6:02 pm

    I read Ride the Fire recently and I agree that it’s amazing. Bethie and Nicholas are wonderful conflicted heroes. I’ve also read the first two books in Pamela’s MacKinnon’s Rangers series, as well as one of her contemporary romantic suspense novels. I had the same problem with each book – I couldn’t put them down. They’re full of non-stop action and sizzling tension. Delicious!

  17. Alicia
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 7:12 pm

    I seriously have read this five times. This book is my favorite out of all books that I have ever read.

  18. Gannon
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 9:38 pm

    Oh, sounds like a winner, Anna!! Your visual of DDL is just…*sigh*. I love Last of the Mohicans!

    I’ll be adding this one to my TBB list.

  19. Christine Wells
    on Oct 1st, 2009
    @ 9:50 pm

    Sounds fabulous, Anna. With all that emotional intensity I can see why this would be a book close to your heart. Thanks for the great review!

  20. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:01 am

    Helen, prepare for a late night and a few tissues with this book. It really is a keeper!

  21. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:02 am

    Annie, I think this book would be really up your alley.

  22. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:02 am

    Mary, I love it when I discover a great new author with a back list! I’m looking forward to exploring Pamela’s work in depth after the wonderful Ride the Fire.

  23. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:03 am

    Hey, Jennie, clearly another fan! I loved this book!

  24. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:04 am

    Hey, Alicia, five times? Way cool! I’ll definitely be reading it again. I think it was such a complex feast of a book, I need to sample it again to test all the wonderful flavors! And that’s enough of the cooking metaphors! 😉

  25. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:04 am

    Gannon, give this a go. I know we have similar taste and this book really blew me away.

  26. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 12:05 am

    Christine, I luvs me some emotional intensity 😉

  27. Kandy Shepherd
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 7:44 am

    This book sounds amazing Anna. I always trust your recommendations!

  28. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 2:49 pm

    Thanks, Kandy. One of the things I loved about this book was that it was so unusual.

  29. Manda
    on Oct 2nd, 2009
    @ 6:54 pm

    Thanks for the reminder, Anna. I just read one of Pamela Clare’s romantic suspense novels last week and I meant to try her historicals. Will definitely be searching this one out. I cannot resist the DDL-like hero. Sigh. So intense.

    Plus I have been enjoying Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers series, so it will be interesting to read an account told from the other side of the Atlantic.

  30. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 3rd, 2009
    @ 12:10 am

    Hey, Manda, sounds like great timing. I’ve got a couple of the RS books too. I think she’s going to become an autobuy for me.

  31. PJ
    on Oct 4th, 2009
    @ 12:05 pm

    Manda, I didn’t know she wrote R/S. I’ll definitely have to check those out.

    Love Elizabeth Hoyt’s Legend of the Four Soldiers series. Can’t wait to get my hands on the new one! Btw, Elizabeth won the Maggie last night for TO TASTE TEMPTATION. 🙂

  32. Anna Campbell
    on Oct 4th, 2009
    @ 2:45 pm

    Congratulations to Elizabeth! Sounds like you had a great time at the Maggies, PJ. Wish I could have been there! Lots of Bandits to play with.

  33. PJ
    on Oct 4th, 2009
    @ 3:42 pm

    Anna, we had a wonderful time partying with the Bandits in attendance. Wish you could have been there too. You were definitely missed!

  34. Eleni Konstantine
    on Nov 5th, 2009
    @ 10:44 pm

    Wow, sounds like quite a book Anna.

    Sigh – another on the to be read pile – such a hardship ;))

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