Beloved Savage - Sandra Bishop Despite the utterly ridiculous title and cover (compliments of the early 90's), I would not consider this book a bodice-ripper. It is really a touching love story about a woman torn between two worlds.

From the first Tonnewa is a gentle and compassionate man who sees a woman in trouble and wants to help. Despite hating the white man because of what they did to his wife and mother, when he sees Susannah in a similar situation to theirs, he cannot stand the idea of any person suffering such a fate and intervenes. Out of humanly compassion he argues on Susannah's behalf to keep her safe and only claims her as his woman to save her from being put to death when there is no other solution, out of basic human decency. He grows to admire her courage over time and eventually learns to love her. It is moving to see their relationship evolve out of something deeper than common lust, which is what one often finds in a story about Indians and captives like this. Tonnewa is truly the ultimate hero. He is understanding and caring, he never pushes Susannah, only tries to help her find her own way. Before she's even born, Tonnewa adopts Susannah's daughter as his own and won't let anyone speak against them. There is nothing "savage" about him.

Within this love story, the author manages to really bring alive the historical setting as well. The story takes place during a period of intense discord between the French, British and different Indian tribes in the early colonies. The author manages to convey to the reader the feelings of tension and fear that the early colonists and Indians lived with daily. I thought it was very interesting for once to view things from the side of the Indians, as much of the story takes place in two Indian villages, where these two peaceful tribes fear the invasion of the whites onto the lands that they had been used to hunt, as well as their possible invasion into their village to rescue Susannah.

Of course Susannah and Tonnewa represent the idea of overcoming ones prejudices of skin color to view a person individually, as who they are as a person. Being white doesn't make you "good" and being red doesn't make you a "savage." You prove these things through your actions and deeds - who you are in your soul.
"You are my soul," he said. "I have seen its shape, and it is you. You have walked in my heart, and I hear the echo of your footsteps there."

"Susannah was no longer a white woman. She was the other half of his soul. As he'd tried to tell her many moons ago, the color of the skin was of no consequence. Did not Manitou make all the colored flowers of the meadows as well as the different colors of a man's skin? The white man thought that his god was different and his alone.
His people knew that was foolishness. Whatever the name chosen by men, there was only one creator of all living things."

And now I'm sad that this is this author's only book :'(