September 07, 2013

Cassie Edwards's "savage" romance novels

10 Steamy, Fantastically Ridiculous Romance Novels Starring 'Savages'In the grand history of literature written in English, Cassie Edwards is not even a footnote. But in the romance-novel genre, she would get her own chapter. And in the American-Indian-themed-romance-novel subgenre? Well, she wrote the whole damn book. Actually, she wrote at least 85 damn books in the American-Indian-themed-romance-novel subgenre. (Her total career output in all subgenres was at least 106 books, based on her page at Fantastic Fiction.)

Cassie Edwards, who has won the Romantic Times Lifetime Achievement Award and the Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award, was born in 1936 and is, as far as we know, alive and well. Her career, though, hit the skids when she was exposed in a serious plagiarism scandal. (Writing tip: If you want to make your Indian hero sound wooden and humorless, steal his dialogue from published nature writing.)

Those who enjoy romance novels say they are a distraction, an escape from the real world. Mindless entertainment--no better or worse, perhaps, than watching sports or playing video games. But mindless fun isn't the same thing as harmless fun--particularly when you're mindlessly hammering away at the same stereotype.

Of those at-least 85 books about ripped Indian men sweeping overwhelmed white women off their feet, at least 52 of them start with the word "Savage." That was kind of Edwards' thing: Books about Indian men and white ladies entitled Savage _____.

Does this strike anyone else as incredibly--savagely--wrong?

SAVAGE FIRES: Josephine Taylor Stanton gives up on love after a train wreck leaves her in a wheelchair. But when a handsome Indian chief named Wolf comes to help fight for the rights of his people, he loses his heart to this tender-hearted woman of courage and strength.

Comment:  Note that all the "Indians" resemble white Anglo-Saxon males. We wouldn't want white women consorting with someone who actually looks and acts like a minority!

For more on romanticized Indians, see The German Fetish for Indians and Avon Buys Generic "Brave" Statue.

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