This epic romance centers on the family of Austin Shaw, Boston blue-blood and member of Custer's army. During the Battle of the Washita River, Austin rescues a Sioux maiden, Wiwila. Austin is very attracted to her. Although she is loath to admit it, Wiwila feels the same way about him. With kindness, understanding, and deep passion, the two come together, creating a new life.

But then Austin is sent back to Boston where his mother manipulates his career. However, he requests to be sent back to Custer and arrives just before the Battle of the Little Big Horn. It is there that Wiwila finds him, possibly the only officer who survived the battle. After he recovers, he and Wiwila decide to raise their son, Colt, among the People.

Years later, Colt is injured at Wounded Knee and nursed by a doctor who recognizes the ring he wears as a symbol of the Shaw family. He sends Colt to his grandmother, who hires Samantha MacGregor to teach him to become a gentleman.

During the "taming of the savage," Sam and Colt grow closer and their feelings intensify. However, Colt knows he belongs with his parents and heads back to the reservation. He is appalled at the conditions under which they are forced to live.

After his grandmother's death, Samantha travels to the reservation to convince Colt to accept his inheritance and do what he can to help his people.

Ms. Gentry's panoramic tale spans the lives and loves of one family who are intertwined with the history of the Sioux. Not only do readers have two great love stories, but enough historical detail and Native American culture to keep you reading far into the night. This is a book destined for my "keeper" shelf! SENSUAL (Aug., 373 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Evelyn Feiner