BOOK REVIEW: The Trapper
THE TRAPPER by Jenna Kernan encourages my future pleasure reading. Her Trail Blazers Western Historical series is exactly what I love. Pioneers making their way through tough territories, trying to dodge the rough characters intent on their failure.
Why was this book in Dorine’s TBR? I read Turner’s Woman in October 2020 for last year’s TBR Challenge, and failed to get my review written and posted (I remedied this today). After finding the review unpublished in my archives, I realized it was Wendy’s Unusual Historical picks post from May of 2020 that got me started on this series. After reading it, I bought several more in the series. That’s because they all looked like promising historical wilderness stories – my absolute fave. I’m especially fond of trapper/scout heroes, so this one was an easy yes in my shopping cart.
I’m not very good at tracking fairytale themes for our reading challenge. The only one I usually recognize, and is a favorite, is Beauty and the Beast. I can’t even cheat and say I chose THE TRAPPER because it represents one of those themes. The main reason I chose it is because the page count was doable in a small amount of time and I was desperate for some pleasure reading I’d enjoy on vacation. This was the perfect choice.
I have sadly begun to wonder if my reading/reviewing days are over. Nothing interests me, and if it does, it takes me months to read it. This book proved to me that there’s nothing wrong with my reading/reviewing mojo – I just need to find the right books!
Is the book flawless? For me, almost. What landed it in the “almost” category was the number of spelling and/or grammar errors. I have an annoying internal editor who grumbles through books needing an edit. Even my Miss Cranky Pants couldn’t whine enough to make me stop reading this story. I love Jenna Kernan’s talent for historical western romance that much. TURNER’S WOMAN had the same problems and I thoroughly enjoyed it. That says a lot that I’m willing to buy books with noticeable errors in them. That means I really love this author’s style.
Am I an English expert? No, and I’m sure you’ll find plenty of oopsies in my reviews. But, in a published book I expect perfection – those errors jar my reading and make me pause. I sometimes wonder what they meant to say if it isn’t clear. Enough mistakes and I want to toss the book at the wall. Even though this book didn’t have that many errors to make me want to toss it, it had enough that I had to take some points off my rating for the imperfections, because that’s how I review. I consider quality of a book all-encompassing – grammar included.
Typical of Native American fiction, there are the expected stereotypes within THE TRAPPER, such as threats of capture by warriors. Also, the hero refers to himself as a half-breed Cherokee scout and he falls for two different white women in two different circumstances. This grieves him in his relationship with this heroine, even as friends. His family lived peacefully among whites for a very long time (a theme I love), so it’s not unusual he’d be attracted. But he has valid reasons to fear involvement with this one.
Also, our heroine realizes her family, as well as herself, are racist in some of their ways of looking at those different from themselves. She learns a lot about Native American culture, which helps point out things we should consider from history. From her curiosity, I learned something about the hierarchy of the tribe and women’s roles that I found very interesting.
Troy Price is a Native American guide who discovers that the party of scientists he’s leading in an expedition to Yellowstone Valley have died of cholera before he meets them. All except one. The problem? She’s a woman and a fancy one at that.
Miss Eleanor Hart, only daughter of the well-respected Harts – one of the wealthiest families in America, is anxious to paint wildlife in hope of winning the interest of James Audubon. She is also enamored with her Indian scout, made famous by fictional dime novels about his exploits. She knows everything about him from those novels. Or so she believes.
Troy and Lena make a magical pair. She looks elegant on the outside, but Troy soon learns she’s tougher than she appears. One of the things I loved most was reading about Lena’s painting talent and Troy’s admiration for it. Her magic with a paint brush gets them attention and trouble, which is easy to predict, but oh-so-enjoyable to read.
The more I think about this book, I realize that it could be considered a reverse Cinderella theme. Troy is broke and in desperate need of this expedition. Trapping no longer brings in a reliable income. Lena is rich and pampered, but falls in love with a man her family won’t approve. Will Troy consider life with a rich girl, whatever her terms?
After reading the first two chapters of Book 4, HIGH PLAINS BRIDE, at the end of THE TRAPPER, I can’t wait to see if three is a charm in my experience with this series. I skipped book two, WINTER WOMAN, so you know it will be placed on the TBR soon.
In the end, THE TRAPPER contained all my favorite themes – a Native American hero, dime novels, Yellowstone, a resourceful heroine with an artistic talent, Audubon, and enough nasty villains to send them on an adventure into the wilderness that tests their love for one another. I needed a good book to get me out of my reading rut and THE TRAPPER met all my desires.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of TheZestQuest.com. A digital copy was purchased. Thanks in advance for following links and sharing this review on social media. #TBRChallenge #RomBkBlog
The Trapper by Jenna Kernan
Category: Historical Western Romance
Series: Trail Blazers, Book 3 of 8
Publisher: Snow Raven Publishing January 2019 (first published September 2005)
Rated 4 out of 5