Ride the Fire

Written by Pamela Clare
Review by Teresa Basinski Eckford

Nicholas Kenleigh is a broken, guilt-ridden man. When he arrives at Bethie Stewart’s cabin with a serious injury, she is eight months pregnant, a widow living alone. Together, after her baby’s birth, they set out on a desperate mission to warn settlers further east of an uprising by the native population.

While the pacing is good and the writing engaging, Bethie is less than convincing, an abuse survivor who protests Nicholas’s help delivering her baby but openly bares her breasts to nurse her child. Nor did I understand why, instead of asking for Bethie’s help with his injury, Nicholas chooses to threaten her. These inconsistencies seriously detracted from the novel’s strengths. Also, the last fifty pages appeared designed only to showcase historical characters and add another forced element of conflict.

It’s clear the author did a lot of research for this romance, and she incorporates it into a vibrant setting, the Pennsylvania frontier in 1763. At times the realism is overly gritty, especially the extensive details of torture techniques of the Wyandot tribe. While I appreciated the author’s dedication to historical realism, I wish she had written more believable characters and toned down the gory aspects of Nicholas’s past.