Where to start.....This is the first book by Beverly Jenkins I have ever read, and honestly, I would have missed out on an amazing read, had I not attended the Fall in Love Tour and heard her speak. To be BRUTALLY honest, I bought books by the other two authors and that is all I planned on buying UNTIL I heard Ms. Jenkins speak. After hearing her discuss her journey to becoming a writer, her passion for historical accuracy and her FANS speak. I was intrigued. I bought Night Hawk, because she said after 10 years of fans begging, demanding the Preacher get his story, she finally gave it to them, the HOT COVER didn't hurt my decision either. I am so glad I went to the FILT and bought this book, I never would have bought it otherwise. Reason being I burned myself out as a young adult reading every historical I could get my hands on. After reading Night Hawk I will be reading more of Ms. Jenkins books, as well as dipping my toes in the historical genre again.
Now about Night Hawk - I loved this book so much I could go on and on. So to keep my review from turning into a book about how much I loved Night Hawk, I will try to keep it simple.
Night Hawk is a historical western set in 1889 and clearly demonstrates the lure of the Old West, how people could go West and start over, improve their lives.
The Preacher (no he is not really a preacher for those of you who do not like to read about clergy falling in love) Ian Vance was born in Scotland to a single Scottish woman, his father was a Black seaman with the British Navy. Ian's grandfather turned his back on both of them. Ian's mother was a mistress to a rich man, because of this Ian had an excellent education. Ian moved to America and ended up becoming an outlaw, then Bounty Hunter and Deputy Marshall. Ian's wife was killed and ever since he has been living a solitary life. Maggie was also of mixed heritage, her father was a Black Civil War Veteran, her mother a member of the Kaw Tribe. She was raised in a loving home, until her parents died when she was 12 yrs old, since then she has done whatever she could to survive. Maggie is feisty, sassy and not scared of anything. Ian is rough, tough, hardened, but has a loving soul and tender side just waiting for the right women to draw it out.
The local Sheriff is escorting Maggie to another city because he fears for her safety while she waits to be tried for the murder of a white man. Vigilantes attack and about the same time the Sheriff recognizes the Preacher on the train and asks him to escort and deliver Maggie to the next town's jail while he takes care of the vigilantes. They start their journey and Maggie constantly seems to have trouble follow her, but Ian is drawn to her like he has never been drawn to another woman. Maggie realizes she is intensely attracted to Ian, but tries to fight it because she feels unworthy and is uncertain of what her future holds. When Ian and Maggie finally give into their attraction, it is HOT, SWEET and refreshingly described in what I think would be appropriate words for the time period. As they continue to travel their feelings grow into a love neither can deny. The smexin' is hot and there are so many tender moments between Ian and Maggie, it made me smile and sigh throughout the entire book.
Ian's marriage proposal and his answer to why he wanted to marry Maggie made me cry, in a good way. The secondary cast is endearing and just as interesting as Ian and Maggie. I now want to go back and read the books prior to Night Hawk, don't get me wrong Night Hawk can be a stand alone, but I now want to know more about everyone else.
One of the things I LOVE about Ms. Beverly's writing is she includes accurate historical facts in her books, like in 1889 Wyoming allowed all women of any race to vote in an attempt to draw eastern women to the area for the men, about the Hop Alley Race Riot involving the Chinese, how poorly the Chinese were treated, the 1882 Chinese Exclusion act, why Dr. John Osbourne, (who eventually became the assistant Secretary of State under President Woodrow Wilson) turned the skin of Big Nose George Parrot into a medical bag & pair of shoes and many more interesting historical facts. HeHeHe and I LOVED how Charlie refused to call Wyoming, Wyoming, he called it the Dakotas, "like the old days." During the book Ian and Maggie travel from Kansas to Wyoming and having recently visited Ft Collins,CO and Cheyenne, WY, I can tell you that the words Ms. Jenkins uses to describe the area are accurate and she does it beautifully.
Night Hawk made me stop and think..this was ONLY 122 years ago, it is amazing how much technology has grown in 122 years...but also that the way HUMANS treat each other has NOT grown as rapidly as technology. It's a sobering thought.
My daughter is bi-racial and I will encourage her to read Night Hawk and more of Ms. Jenkins books, because unfortunately the USA's education system fails our kids when it comes to teaching about this period of our history and I think she can learn a lot from this book. Ms. Jenkins has opened my eyes to more about this time frame and it makes me even more THANKFUL to all those who suffered and fought for equal rights, without them I would not have been able to have and raise the beautiful young lady I have. I am teary eyed thinking that without their suffering and determination to change things that I would not have been blessed with such a beautiful child.
So THANK YOU Ms. Jenkins for writing the stories you do and for including the historical facts you do!!! Thank you for being brave enough to put out a "black" romance many years ago! Thank you for YOU!!!
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