Heart of Thunder (Southern Series)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 3, 2004
I thoroughly enjoyed "Heart of Thunder" and was all set to write a glowing review when I noticed a reader mentioned the plot of "Heart" mirrored that of Lindsey's first novel, "Captive Bride." All right, I thought: I'll bite. So I spent a torturous week reading "Captive" just so I can now say "Heart of Thunder" is 1) nothing like it and 2) far, far superior in every way possible.
The plot of "Heart": To force an American rancher off his ancestral land, Mexican hottie and bandito Hank Chavez orders the kidnapping of the rancher's daughter, not knowing that the daughter is the same girl who jilted him.
The plot of "Captive": Jilted desert Chieftain Philip tricks comely Christina into coming to Egypt so he can kidnap and steal her away to his desert camp, where he can make her his love slave.
Okay, the common denominators are "jilted" and "kidnap." But that's about all these books have in common. "Heart" is passionate, with spirited, likable characters who show gumption and can barely keep their hands off one another. "Captive" is an exercise in patience, so wooden that it's difficult to feel anything for the characters - even when they are hurt.
In typical Lindsey fashion, both books have key elements: good guy gets hurt, bad guy comes after girl, baby is involved. Most of her novels follow this pattern (like "Brave the Wild Wind," "When Love Awaits," "Warrior's Woman," etc.). So those don't count as similarities, in my opinion. But, in "Heart," these elements are exciting and keep you turning the pages. In "Captive," you wail, "Will this EVER end??"
All in all, "Heart of Thunder" is a sexy, steamy story with lots of appeal. Be warned: it is a sequel. Be further warned: its prequel "Glorious Angel" is pretty blah, but I won't go into it here (read more about me to see my review on "Glorious"). I would never put "Heart" in the same category as something as pedestrian as "Captive," and heartily recommend it as an extremely enjoyable read.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2000
Samantha Kingsley is in love with her best friend's brother Adrien and travels with them on her way home from school in the East to Mexico. Along the way, their stagecoach picks up a handsome stranger. Hank Chevez is a reformed bandit trying to regain his childhood home. After losing his horse, he hitches a ride on a stagecoach and meets Samantha. Samantha sees the attractive stranger as an opportunity to make Adrien jealous, but her plan backfires. Hank appears to be falling for her. After learning the truth, he becomes sullen and hateful. Samantha responds in kind and they part ways. When she arrives home, she discovers that a violent Mexican bandit is trying to run her father off. Then she is kidnapped and discovers Hank is somehow involved and her hatred for him grows. Can their hate ever turn to love?
This story is one of my least favorite by Lindsey. Samantha is spoiled, willful, and vengeful. Hank is no prince, but could probably have done better. There is so much hate between these two characters that it is impossible to imagine them in love. If you are a die hard Lindsey fan, you should add it to your collection, but you will probably not wish to read it again.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on October 10, 2001
When she is good, she is very, very good. And, this one is very, very good. Hated to finish this book as it was so engrossing and had me emotionally invovled. This is the sequel to Glorious Angel, which introduced Hank Chavez, the hero, as a roguish outlaw. His appearance in that book, though fairly minor, was so strongly drawn, he almost stole the storyline. Apparently Johanna Lindsey's mother thought the same thing, since in the dedication to this novel, JL thanks her mother for "falling in love" with Hank Chavez in the previous novel. She wasn't the only one to do so! This is a superb love story between two very strongwilled people. Sometimes JL makes such relationships too strong and too stubborn--almost always they require a year of living apart once married to realize they cannot live without each other-- a theme she develops over and over in many of her books. In this book she has again created some minor characters that would lend themselves to books of their own, Lorenzo, Hank's faithful outlaw/rancher friend and Sheldon, Samantha's brother. The latter closely resembles the Malory caracter of Warren. This book ranks in my top 5 favorites of JL and is worth re-reading many times.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on March 4, 2010
I bought this book years ago and read it and was underwhelmed. I picked it back up to reread it as I forgot most of the plot line and now I'm right back to what I remember feeling so long ago...these characters don't belong together! My main problem with Samantha, our heroine, is that she hates Hank all throughout the novel, except in the beginning where she is attracted but not in love. Then once Hank kidnaps her and rapes her repeatedly she somehow falls in love. Even the sex scenes don't really show emotion, they just show Samantha giving in to her needs and then clawing or biting him and drawing blood. What would have helped the story was to have more internal struggles for Samantha where we see her feelings for Hank, or stronger inklings that maybe she really does love him. But no. Even after the "passion" when Hank takes her, she still refuses him every time and it turns into this book about him having his way with her while she is unwilling. I don't mind that plot line so much when you can tell that the heroine really does want the guy but I never got that feeling from Samantha. What's more is that when Hank forces her to marry him somewhere deep down the author should have mentioned that Samantha was somewhat happy or....something! But no, Samantha hated the fact that she was married to him, hated the thought of a baby with him, and tried to leave any chance she got. The turning point I kept waiting for never came. She hated him up until the end when she is seeing him nearly beat to death. The love between them seems a little unbelievable and forced.

Hank isn't my type of hero, but that's just my opinion. Yes, Samantha is really attractive and strong-willed but it ends there. What really draws him to her? Not his brain, not his heart, but some other member entirely, and that doesn't build the foundation for a relationship, least of all love. I find it hard to believe that people loved this book. After reading Johanna Lindsey's other novels this really falls short. In fact, I much preferred the prequel: Glorious Angel to this because at least I felt like the characters belonged together!

Bottom line, if you're looking for a page turner, keep looking. If you're looking to complete your JL book list, then go ahead and read. It's not unpleasant, I just happen to hate when I feel that I could have come up with better plots or dialogue than the author. But I did finish it, and it's certainly not the worst book. It's just average.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 1999
Despite what the other reviews say, this book is quite good. I first read about Hanks character in Glorious Angel and always wanted to know more about his story. I liked the character of Samantha because she made mistakes! Also loved the setting!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 9, 2010
Samantha is stunningly beautiful and extraordinarily willful and controlling. She is mostly English, ends up in America, and seems to be flitting across the Wild West for no real good reason, in the company of two friends after spending a stint in an east coast ladies school. Enough to take in, yeah? Don't even try remembering the history of the hero, Hank Chavez, who is also English, American, Spanish, partly Indian and comes from Mexico. WHEW! Ok, that's not a complaint now...it's more or less funny out of its absurdity.

Hank is also an ex-thief-turned-good-guy who wants nothing more than to make it back to his ranch in Mexico. He crosses paths with Samantha and falls for her. Of course he does- she's absolutely stunning and he thinks this to himself a lot. He stares at her in a carriage and she stares back. He desires her and she desires him. Then later they connect over dinner one night when they discover they both have half a dozen types of blood in their ancestry as well as siblings in England. Eh, seems promising. Not bad for an intro.

That's the last you'll see them happy. This pair spend the next 250+ pages hating each other.

Also, I cringed through the awkwardness of Samantha being in love with her best friend's gay brother (Adrian) and the oddity of her best friend not being honest with her about Adrian's tastes. Adrian, also, is in love with the hero, Hank. I felt like JL was being tactless with the idea in the story. For example, there are numerous references to the gay friend throwing himself at men abruptly, like his sexual appetites are out-of-control because he's gay. The hero even has to "pull a gun" on him to thwart his advances, even though he seems like a sweet, quiet guy in every other aspect.

Oh back to the hating stuff. I get exhausted reading romances where there is no romance. These two can't stand each other- except when Hank is forcing himself on the heroine and then she responds like a cat in heat. I can't say which character was more hateful to the other! I couldn't forgive Hank for the many times he scorns and hurts his love, however, I almost couldn't blame him because Samantha is conniving, spoiled, manipulative, stubborn and selfish. I think this is one of those tales where they really deserved each other! If you're looking for a firey romance, this might be for you!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HALL OF FAMEon April 26, 2008
Where are the romance authors who write 19th century frontier/Americana? It seems that only Regency and Victorian-set romances dominate the shelves. The American Western in the nineteenth century was not as reserved and stuffy as other places in the world. They didn't call it the Wild West for no reason! And so, it gives historical romance writers more "leg room" for artistic license without going overboard with anachronisms. But if you want a good Americana, you have to search the backlists of very established authors. I'd read a few of Johanna Lindsey's novels in the past and found them enjoyable. Even though I wasn't particularly impressed with Angel, I decided to give another one of her frontier novels a whirl. Heart of Thunder features a sexy Mexican-American bandido/gunslinger -- the main appeal to me. I wasn't disappointed.

Samantha Kingsley is not like most women. She keeps a gun handy at all times, and if anyone dares to mess with her, she has no qualms about using it. And that is how Hank Chavez meets her, shooting a man who had dared to harass her. A former revolutionary soldier-turned-highwayman, Chavez wants nothing more than to use the money he stole from the wealthy to buy back his hacienda in Mexico, a family heirloom that he is not willing to lose. The problem? Hamilton Kingsley owns this land, and he does not want to give it up, for he intends to leave it to his spirited daughter. So Chavez kidnaps Hamilton's daughter to pressure the man into selling the land. But Chavez hadn't anticipated the fact that the daughter is none other than the woman who had dared to use him to make another man jealous back in Denver. He took her virtue as a payback, and she had sworn revenge. What transpires is a battle to prove one's power over the other.

Even though I said that Chavez had stolen Samantha's virtue as payback for having played him in Denver, there is no rape scene in this novel. I just wanted to point that out. (But Samantha does call it rape, minimizing the seriousness of such an accusation, since it is obvious to the reader that she is a willing participant of the act since their very first sexual encounter.) Moving on, I enjoyed reading this novel. The scenes set in Mexico are my favorite. It reminded me of a telenovela I watched some time ago called Los Plateados (The Silverados), and I was able to picture things in my head quite nicely. Also, it is nice to see that this author had actually done her research and used the Spanish words in the right context and were spelled correctly. Chavez is gorgeous, sexy AND adorable. If only I were to meet a bandido like that! What impresses me most is that Lindsey gave him features like gray eyes and a medium skin tone, and made another Mexican character blonde. Authors and people in general are under the mistaken impression that Mexicans and Hispanics in general all have dark or olive skin and not tall, which is simply not true. Latinos have a rainbow of complexions, just like everywhere else. As for Samantha, she got on my nerves in more ways than one. Yes, she is supposed to be spirited and stubborn, but she is too much! I wanted to kill her by the time I reached the end of the book. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout the novel, and a secondary but brief storyline centered on Samantha's brother is introduced toward the end. No doubt Lindsey wrote a novel with him as the hero. Heart of Thunder was written back in 1983, but the style and romance is timeless. There are novels written all those decades ago that seem outdated when read for the first time. This isn't one of them. I have purchased three other Lindsey romances -- two Westerns and one medieval -- because I enjoy her style and I look forward to a great summer of pleasant, escapist reading.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 1999
There was nothing memorable about this book. Hank was OK, Samantha was Ok, the plot was OK, but it was not a true JL romance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 16, 2001
This is the very first book that I have read from Johanna Lindsey and let me say that I am very happy that I started off with this book. I am already on her third book, and I still haven't read better than Heart Of Thunder. I also noticed that alot of JL's readers did not like the stubborness between Samantha and Hank. I think that their stubborness brought such an exciting challenge to the story. It's kind of boring when the charactors get along too well!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2001
Hart of thunder was the very first book of Johanna's that I read and in fact whenever I need a good book to get away from it all, I pick it back up and read it all over again. I think this is one of the best books she has every read, and I read all that come out, I believe that the stubbornness that they have make it all that more interesting to read. She is an excellent writer and even when I don't agree with some of the way the storylines are going, I still never stop till I reach the very last page, and I always have something positive that came out of the experience. Hank and Samantha have it all, sex, love and passion.... Forever!
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