Madeline Baker

Tales of Western Romance

LOVING DEVLIN was voted Best Indian Historical by the Puget Sound Romance Readers

Cerridiwen Cover

REVIEWS

This is an anthology containing two novellas, both highlighting the clash of cultures and lifestyles between the white pioneer settlers and the Native American tribes. Ownership of the land was very different in Indian understanding from the white pioneers. Each tribe had its own territory but did not see themselves as "owners" of the land. The earth was a gift to them and they saw it as their responsibility to care for it and tend it. In turn, the earth fed and clothed them and sustained their lives and communities. Now the white settlers have come, "bought" their land and "stolen" it from their tribe. Thus it was deemed acceptable to raid, kill, and kidnap the whites who had desecrated their part of the earth.

Toklanni is an Apache warrior whose mother had been a white captive and whose father was Apache. He has adopted the Apache life fully, but was always just on the fringes of the tribal life. His half-brother had led the raid against Sarah's family in retribution for the killing of Apaches by the soldiers. But Toklanni cannot kill Sarah--in fact, he begins to watch over her in her isolation, bringing her food and firewood in the dark of the night. When he is attacked by three white men and left for dead, it is Sarah that nurses him back to health and they eventually solidify their relationship and marry in the town church. The only missing piece in their family happiness is Sarah's kidnapped son, Danny, and Toklanni sets out to bring her peace as well as bring Danny home from his home village where he has been "adopted" by Toklanni's half brother.

This story and the following story of Devlin's rescue of Sarah from the Comanche, arch enemies of the Apache, is really two tales of this culture clash, an examination of the respective values and ways of understanding reality, the ordering of family life, and the relationship to the land of each culture. Both are also tales in which Sarah and Devlin must come to peace with their own roots. Devlin lives in Sarah's world because he loves her and wants her happiness above all things. But he must still contend with his Apache side, and his journey to rescue Danny as well as his need to reclaim Sarah bring him face to face with his roots in The People (as the Apache call themselves) and how that has shaped him as a human being. Both stories are filled with what is often called "human interest" -- the story behind the story. Sarah's love and acceptance of Devlin/​Toklanni is never in question. The problem lies in how Devlin/​Toklanni sees himself.

In many respects, Devlin and Sarah are people who are larger than life. They are both loving and giving, and their story reminds the reader that how we value our earth, how we value life itself, how we value one another orders our actions and dictates how we live. It is a wonderful anthology which embraces the history of America's expansion into what was formerly Native American territories. It brings the reader face to face with the prejudice between whites and Indians, but in a very gentle way exposes the rootlessness of that prejudice. It also examines the anger and animosity between the Indian tribes themselves. Often their only commonality was their hatred of the whites.

I found these stories to be very readable which testifies to the fact that Ms Baker has produced stories that are, at the foundation, very well written. The plot is a common one and is rooted in our history. But the story line is creative and while kidnapping, Indian raids and such were not uncommon, the resolution of Devlin and Sarah's crises is very well crafted.

This is a very nice historical anthology. I recommend it to those who enjoy historicals set in the Old West. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.
Judith Reviews Book Binge

* * *
Loving Sarah - After Sarah's home was attacked by Indians leaving her with a dead husband and kidnapped son, she can barely hold on to her will to live. She wouldn't even have survived these three months if it weren't for a mystery person leaving her food every few days. When she finally gets a glimpse of him, she is stunned to find he's an Indian, one of the enemies who destroyed her life. But, what she feels for Toklanni is anything but hatred. For him, she willingly stands up to the scorn and prejudices of the townspeople. As she's finding happiness again, there remains one dark spot, her missing son. Can Toklanni possibly get him back from his tribe and give her a Christmas miracle?

Loving Devlin - Toklanni gave up his Apache roots to be with the woman he loves and live as the whites do. Now he is Devlin and while he misses being Toklanni, he is now blessed with a wife, stepchild and a baby on the way. When he returns from an afternoon of hunting to find his home burned down and his wife missing, he knows he'll have to go deep into the hostile Comanche Territory to get her back. He knows the risks, but for Sarah, he'd brave anything.

Loving Sarah and Loving Devlin were two intertwining stories that captivated me from the beginning. Sarah and Devlin fall in love against all odds and teach us about the power of forgiveness, tolerance and love. You can't help but believe in two people who would brave prejudices and chance being outcasts so that they could be together. If only we could all be so lucky to know a love like that.

Reviewed by: Tara
< a href="http://fallenangelreviews.com/2010/September/tara-lovesserenade.htm"> Fallen Angel Reviews

** *
Hope Chest Reviews said:
Loving Sarah is a sweet, tender story about two lonely people finding love and acceptance in a place neither would have expected, each other's arms. Toklanni is a somewhat tortured but sympathetic hero as a half-breed who doesn't quite fit in either the Apache or the white world, and who is very self-conscious about a scar that runs the length of his face and body. He is a very gentle hero though, who protects and provides for Sarah when she is left alone due to an Apache raid on her home. I thought Sarah was realistic as a former city-dweller who isn't fully able to provide for herself when left alone and miles from the nearest civilization, yet she exhibits a quiet strength of character through her faith and persistence after her husband is killed and her son is kidnapped. She also has a very forgiving heart to be able to love and accept Toklanni after the attack by his people in which he played a part.
This story is very simple, things happen rather quickly, and it lacks some of the depth I've read in other books, but in my opinion, there was a certain beauty within it's simplicity that some full-length novels can often fail to capture. I found it to be an easy read and a refreshing change of pace from the intensely emotional romances that I usually tend to favor, a sweetly endearing story that had the feel of curling up by the fire on a cold winter's day. Loving Sarah can be found in the anthology, A Frontier Christmas, and is the first in a two-novella series. The sequel, Loving Devlin, is found in the anthology, A Wilderness Christmas.

















This is an anthology containing two novellas, both highlighting the clash of cultures and lifestyles between the white pioneer settlers and the Native American tribes. Ownership of the land was very different in Indian understanding from the white pioneers. Each tribe had its own territory but did not see themselves as "owners" of the land. The earth was a gift to them and they saw it as their responsibility to care for it and tend it. In turn, the earth fed and clothed them and sustained their lives and communities. Now the white settlers have come, "bought" their land and "stolen" it from their tribe. Thus it was deemed acceptable to raid, kill, and kidnap the whites who had desecrated their part of the earth.

Toklanni is an Apache warrior whose mother had been a white captive and whose father was Apache. He has adopted the Apache life fully, but was always just on the fringes of the tribal life. His half-brother had led the raid against Sarah's family in retribution for the killing of Apaches by the soldiers. But Toklanni cannot kill Sarah--in fact, he begins to watch over her in her isolation, bringing her food and firewood in the dark of the night. When he is attacked by three white men and left for dead, it is Sarah that nurses him back to health and they eventually solidify their relationship and marry in the town church. The only missing piece in their family happiness is Sarah's kidnapped son, Danny, and Toklanni sets out to bring her peace as well as bring Danny home from his home village where he has been "adopted" by Toklanni's half brother.

This story and the following story of Devlin's rescue of Sarah from the Comanche, arch enemies of the Apache, is really two tales of this culture clash, an examination of the respective values and ways of understanding reality, the ordering of family life, and the relationship to the land of each culture. Both are also tales in which Sarah and Devlin must come to peace with their own roots. Devlin lives in Sarah's world because he loves her and wants her happiness above all things. But he must still contend with his Apache side, and his journey to rescue Danny as well as his need to reclaim Sarah bring him face to face with his roots in The People (as the Apache call themselves) and how that has shaped him as a human being. Both stories are filled with what is often called "human interest" -- the story behind the story. Sarah's love and acceptance of Devlin/​Toklanni is never in question. The problem lies in how Devlin/​Toklanni sees himself.

In many respects, Devlin and Sarah are people who are larger than life. They are both loving and giving, and their story reminds the reader that how we value our earth, how we value life itself, how we value one another orders our actions and dictates how we live. It is a wonderful anthology which embraces the history of America's expansion into what was formerly Native American territories. It brings the reader face to face with the prejudice between whites and Indians, but in a very gentle way exposes the rootlessness of that prejudice. It also examines the anger and animosity between the Indian tribes themselves. Often their only commonality was their hatred of the whites.

I found these stories to be very readable which testifies to the fact that Ms Baker has produced stories that are, at the foundation, very well written. The plot is a common one and is rooted in our history. But the story line is creative and while kidnapping, Indian raids and such were not uncommon, the resolution of Devlin and Sarah's crises is very well crafted.

This is a very nice historical anthology. I recommend it to those who enjoy historicals set in the Old West. I give this book a rating of 4 out of 5.

Judith http:/​/​thebookbinge.com/​search/​label/​Judith%27s%20Reviews Book Binge
9/​4/​10

4 Angels
Tara at Fallen Angel Reviews said:

Loving Sarah - After Sarah's home was attacked by Indians leaving her with a dead husband and kidnapped son, she can barely hold on to her will to live. She wouldn't even have survived these three months if it weren't for a mystery person leaving her food every few days. When she finally gets a glimpse of him, she is stunned to find he's an Indian, one of the enemies who destroyed her life. But, what she feels for Toklanni is anything but hatred. For him, she willingly stands up to the scorn and prejudices of the townspeople. As she's finding happiness again, there remains one dark spot, her missing son. Can Toklanni possibly get him back from his tribe and give her a Christmas miracle?

Loving Devlin - Toklanni gave up his Apache roots to be with the woman he loves and live as the whites do. Now he is Devlin and while he misses being Toklanni, he is now blessed with a wife, stepchild and a baby on the way. When he returns from an afternoon of hunting to find his home burned down and his wife missing, he knows he'll have to go deep into the hostile Comanche Territory to get her back. He knows the risks, but for Sarah, he'd brave anything.

Loving Sarah and Loving Devlin were two intertwining stories that captivated me from the beginning. Sarah and Devlin fall in love against all odds and teach us about the power of forgiveness, tolerance and love. You can't help but believe in two people who would brave prejudices and chance being outcasts so that they could be together. If only we could all be so lucky to know a love like that.

Reviewed by: Tara
http:/​/​fallenangelreviews.com/​2010/​September/​tara-lovesserenade.htm

** *
Hope Chest Reviews said:
Loving Sarah is a sweet, tender story about two lonely people finding love and acceptance in a place neither would have expected, each other's arms. Toklanni is a somewhat tortured but sympathetic hero as a half-breed who doesn't quite fit in either the Apache or the white world, and who is very self-conscious about a scar that runs the length of his face and body. He is a very gentle hero though, who protects and provides for Sarah when she is left alone due to an Apache raid on her home. I thought Sarah was realistic as a former city-dweller who isn't fully able to provide for herself when left alone and miles from the nearest civilization, yet she exhibits a quiet strength of character through her faith and persistence after her husband is killed and her son is kidnapped. She also has a very forgiving heart to be able to love and accept Toklanni after the attack by his people in which he played a part.
This story is very simple, things happen rather quickly, and it lacks some of the depth I've read in other books, but in my opinion, there was a certain beauty within it's simplicity that some full-length novels can often fail to capture. I found it to be an easy read and a refreshing change of pace from the intensely emotional romances that I usually tend to favor, a sweetly endearing story that had the feel of curling up by the fire on a cold winter's day. Loving Sarah can be found in the anthology, A Frontier Christmas, and is the first in a two-novella series. The sequel, Loving Devlin, is found in the anthology, A Wilderness Christmas.
http:/​/​www.thcreviews.com/​cgi-bin/​vts/​book_review.html?book_review_id=320
4/​20/​11






























Love's Serenade contains two novellas previously published in a pair of Leisure anthologies - A Frontier Christmas (Loving Sarah) and A Wilderness Christmas (Loving Devlin).

Original Leisure Cover

Original Leisure Cover

LOVES SERENADE

11-21-16
Cover by Cynthia Lucas
Love’s Serenade is a compilation of two books both written by Madeline Baker. The first book is Loving Sarah followed by Loving Devlin. These poignant stories were so connected it was fun to read them. These emotionally charged characters were so fully developed that I actually felt as if I had been there as the actions took place.
In New Mexico, in 1869, Sarah and her family were attacked by Indians. Her husband sent her to hide but, before he and their six-year-old son Danny could get there, he was killed. The little boy was kidnapped. There was one Indian who was supposed to find and kill Sarah. However, when Toklanni saw her, he knew in his heart he couldn’t kill her.
Devlin, known by his Indian name Toklanni, was a half-breed. His father was an Indian who had taken a white woman as wife. He was raised partially in each world. Therefore, he could speak English and his native language. Problems arose when he started leaving food and clothing in baskets on her porch and fell in love with Sarah.
Baker presented us with two characters that were so different from each other but they were so compatible. These strong people were a study in survival. Both had lived through struggles and trials. They slowly fell in love with each other. The conflicts they endured were so realistic. When the books transitioned from Loving Sarah to Loving Devlin, the hardships escalated.
This book was uniquely different from most that I read. It was one that I will not forget. The myriad circumstances faced and the additional characters were interestingly captivating. I recommend that anyone who enjoys historical romance especially back in the age of Indians fighting whites and each other. You will definitely not be disappointed.
Reviewer: Brenda Talley


LOVING SARAH

Chapter 1

New Mexico
1869


It was there again, a large oak basket filled with fresh meat and wild vegetables. Sarah Andrews stared at the basket for a long moment, as if it might tell her where it had come from. There were no other white people in the immediate area and she was certain the Indians were not in the habit of providing for their enemies. It seemed to be a riddle without an answer.
Her heart filled with gratitude, Sarah carried the basket into the kitchen, quietly blessing the unknown giver who had put fresh food on her table once again.
As she sliced the venison, Sarah wondered anew who it was that brought her food several times each week. Without her unknown provider, she would have died of starvation long ago, for there weren't enough vegetables left in the garden behind the cabin to sustain life, and she'd long ago eaten all of the dried and tinned food Vern had brought from town. The only thing left was a sack of dried apples.
In the beginning, she'd considered trying to walk to Pepper Tree Creek, but the thought of crossing over fifty miles of the desert alone and on foot, defenseless against snakes and predators, frightened her almost as much as the very real possibility of encountering Indians along the way and she always changed her mind.
Sarah quietly cursed the savages who had killed her husband and kidnapped her son. The Indians had burned the barn, stolen their horses and cattle, taken Vern's rifle and all their supplies. To this day, Sarah didn't know why her life had been spared.
She'd been in the root cellar when the attack had occurred. She had heard gunshots, a bloodcurdling war whoop. And then she'd heard Danny's terrified scream, the same scream that haunted her dreams. "Mommy! Mommy, help me!" Filled with dread, she'd hurried toward the stairs only to find an Indian blocking her path, a war club adorned with feathers and what looked suspiciously like a scalp clutched in his hand.
Terror had frozen her in mid-stride. She had stared at the Indian, repulsed by the weapon in his hand, by the hideous war paint that covered every inch of his face, distorting his features so that he looked like a demon from hell. In that instant, she'd known she was looking death in the face.
But nothing had happened. The Indian had looked at her as if he were seeing a ghost and then, to her surprise, he had scrambled up the ladder and disappeared.
By the time Sarah made her way outside, the attack was over, the Indians were gone. She had found her husband's body sprawled face down in the dirt, a single arrow protruding from his back. Her six year old son, Danny, was nowhere to be found. She had searched for him for over an hour, refusing to believe what she knew to be true. The Indians had taken her child, her only child.
Resolutely, she had set out after them, but a late summer shower washed out the tracks, forcing her to give up the chase, and she'd returned to the cabin to bury her husband along with her dreams...
Sarah fried the venison and boiled the vegetables, grateful to have something to do. Sitting at the small raw plank table in the narrow kitchen, she ate without tasting the food, automatically lifting the fork to her mouth until her plate was empty.
Occasionally, she thought of not eating, of just curling up in bed, closing her eyes and waiting for death, but she didn't have the willpower to starve herself when food was available, and she didn't have the courage to slit her wrists. She'd never had any courage at all. And now all she had to sustain her was hope. Hope that the cavalry would find her next time they made a sweep through the area. Hope that they'd find the savages who had taken Danny.
After dinner, she put the basket outside the front door, knowing that tomorrow or the next day it would be gone and the following morning it would be there again, filled with food.
She hadn't expected it to be refilled the first time she set it out on the porch. She'd emptied the basket and put it outside simply to get it out of the way. It had been gone the next day. For a little while, the mystery of the basket had helped take her mind off her troubles. She'd wondered who had left it in the first place, and who had taken it. Two days later, it had appeared on her doorstep again, filled with food.
For a time, Sarah stood at the front window, staring at the charred ruins that had once been the barn. It was a blackened shell now, cold and empty, like her life. She lifted her gaze toward the sky, watching the late summer sun set in a riotous blaze of crimson that reminded her of blood...Vern's blood.
Turning away from the window, she went to the homemade calendar that hung beside the fireplace and crossed off another day. Three months, she thought. Three months without Vern, without Danny. Three months of no one to talk to, no one to care for. Three months of solitary. How long would it take before she went mad? How long before the Indians came back?
Going into her bedroom, she gazed at the small tintype of her son that stood on the narrow table beside her bed. Danny, her baby, at the mercy of godless savages. How frightened he must be! Did anyone comfort him when he cried? Was he getting enough to eat?
Thoughts of her only child being ridiculed and abused brought quick tears to her eyes. He had never known anything but kindness and love in his short life, never been away from her for more than a few hours. If only she could see him for a moment, assure
herself that he was alright, that he was still alive. She'd heard stories of children being raised by Indians. It sickened her to
think that her son might be forced to become a warrior, to ride against his own people, to commit the terrible atrocities she'd read about in the newspapers back home. She thought of her son, her own flesh and blood, taking a scalp....
"No!" She shook the horrible thought from her mind, refusing to dwell on it any further. Surely a merciful God would not allow such a thing to happen.
Later, kneeling at her bedside, she prayed for the soul of her husband, comforted by her belief in an afterlife and her conviction that Vern had been a good man who would be welcomed into heaven. Poor Vern. Theirs had been a marriage of convenience. He had wanted a wife and she had wanted a way out of her father's house. When Vern had proposed, she had accepted, so eager to get away from home she'd never stopped to think what it would be like to be married to a man almost old enough to be her father, a man she didn't love.
During the eight years of their marriage, she had developed a genuine fondness for her husband. Vern had been a kind and gentle man, thoughtful of her needs, her likes and dislikes. When she took a liking to a high-backed sofa she saw in a mail-order catalog, he had ordered it for her, even though they couldn't really afford it at the time. In the good times, he had surprised her with gifts: a fancy blue bonnet she had no occasion to wear, a pretty apron, a hand-painted fan. In the bad times, he had promised her that things would get better. And he had given her a son...
She was sorry now that she had never loved Vern. He had deserved so much more than she had given him. She had tried to love him, but she'd never been able to give him the heartfelt devotion and affection a man deserved from his wife. The fact that he'd never complained only made her feel more guilty.
Blinking back tears or sorrow and regret, she prayed fervently for a miracle that would return Danny to her arms. And then, as she had every night since the attack, she asked God to forgive her for hating the heathen savages who had ridden out of the foothills early one summer morning and taken away everything she'd ever loved.