When Ella Hastings is captured by the Blackfeet Indians at age nine, then adopted by the Lakota Indians, she is thrust into a new way of life and transformed into Little Brave, adopted daughter of their revered and peaceful chief, Grey Owl. Ten years later the white man returns. Their soldiers storm her tribe’s village and bring reminders of a world she’d almost forgotten. Suddenly, she is confronted by the question: To which world does she now belong? Her only hope in discovering who she really is lies with the enigmatic army scout, Beech Richoux.
Son of a French trapper and Lakota mother, Beech Richoux was raised in a white man’s world after his mother’s death. Acting as an army scout to raise money for his horse ranch, he’s unaware of the Army’s true intent to annihilate his mother’s people until it’s too late. And the white woman he finds living among the Lakota only adds to his desperation to save his people. Now the narrow path he has created to balance himself between these two worlds is tipped by the mysterious white woman known to the Lakota as Little Brave.
Can two people robbed of their own childhood learn to live together in such differing worlds? Can Little Brave and Beech forge a new path into a life where they both are finally set free?
Publisher and Release Date: Ruby Merritt, September 2014
Time and Setting: 1876, Wyoming Territory
Heat Level: 2
Genre: American Historical Romance
Reviewer Rating: 4 stars
Review by Jill
In the Wyoming Territory of 1866, nine year-old Ella Hastings is abducted by Blackfeet Indians and her father killed. For two years she lives as their captive, until she is traded to the Lakota and is adopted by their chief, Grey Owl, who makes her his daughter, naming her Little Brave.
Ten years later in 1876, Beech Richoux leads a group of soldiers into the Lakota village. Here he comes across Little Brave. Beech, half-Lakota, half-white, is a tracker for the US Army. He has lived in two cultures, having grown up with his Lakota mother and French trapper father, before being brought to live with his white relations when he was twelve. Beech is unaware that the army is under orders to remove the Native Americans to the nearest reservation.
As a fan of western historical romances. I’m always on the lookout for new authors, and particularly Native American romances. This is a very good story, and is I believe, Ruby Merritt’s début, which makes it all the more impressive. The strength here is in Ms Merritt’s ability to tell a truly captivating story.
Both Beech and Ella are of two worlds. She has been born white, raised Lakota. He has been born Lakota, and raised in his formative teenage and adult years in the white world. They have both had to adopt another culture to survive. As she travels with Beech, Ella struggles to recall some of the language and traditions of her white parents. Beech struggles with his growing feelings for Ella, knowing that as a white woman she must be returned to her family and the white world. And despite his white upbringing and English language, he is still considered Lakota and therefore unsuitable for Ella.
I had some minor quibbles and feel there are some scenes that could have been more detailed; and I was at times unsure who was talking as the dialogue wasn’t tagged. But all-in-all this is a really enjoyable, well-written story, which reads realistically with great historical detail.
Ella’s Choice is an engrossing read, and I’m looking forward to the next title in this series, Lena’s Courage. Recommended for readers who enjoy western historical romances, and particularly Native American HRs.