From Publishers Weekly
Pritchard's brilliant mix of romance and satire may have a heart made of cactus, but it goes down like hot Indian fry bread dipped in honey. "Shouldn't one live one's romance, not read about preposterous imaginary ones?" muses Prudence True Parker, college prof and single mom shortly before romance novelist Digby Deeds (aka Mildred Crawley) bequeaths her the last 40 plot lines from his bestselling Savage Passions series as a reward for passing him toilet paper in a lavatory. Parker, author of one award-winning book, hasn't written anything in years, but has mounting bills and a 17-year-old daughter to support, so she accepts. Then Parker meets gorgeous Ray Chasing Hawk, Comanche artist (and former porno films soundtrack composer), a self-styled "Lord of the Southern Plains," 14 years her junior. Although Hawk likes to bite rather than kiss and says, "[Y]ou are so white you glow in the dark," he's soon sharing Parker's Arizona nest, painting, modeling and preparing to become a Sun Dancer. Meanwhile, a parade of vividly drawn characters, including Hawk's fellow Sun Dancers, invade Parker's white-bread life as Hawk teaches Parker that "savage" love bears little resemblance to the novels she's been secretly writing. Pritchard's quicksilver ability to blend biting social/political commentary with a rueful analysis of relationships makes this lesson in true romance an absolutely sage-scented delight.
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Arizonan Prudence True Parker teaches surprisingly effective touchy-feely writing classes at a community college. Divorced, 48, in debt, and excruciatingly lonely, she's also smart, funny, generous, spiritually inclined, and open to new experiences, of which there are many in this clever roller-coaster ride of a novel. First an enormously successful romance writer who specializes in romances about white women and hunky Native American warriors anoints Prudence his heir to the series Savage Passion. Prudence has no intention of writing such trash until she meets Ray Chasing Hawk, a gorgeous, young, and virile Comanche artist and model, and finds herself enacting a romance of her own. Or is she? Angry, difficult, and manipulative, Ray turns Prudence's life upside-down. Now truly desperate for cash, she starts writing Native American romances in secret, torrid, and cliched tales that play in ironic counterpoint to her increasingly complicated life. Pritchard overloads her otherwise wily tale with trivia, but her shrewd humor, canny insights, colorful characters, and intriguing plot prevail. Is this a romance? Yes, although by critiquing the genre, it transcends it. Donna Seaman
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