I have recently finished Sabine Star’s first western romance novel “Lady Gone Bad”. While this novel had occasional strong points, their were some scenes that just had me confused. Some of this confusion comes from Starr who brings in historical context at weird times and one is never able to find out all of the back story of Lady Gone Bad aka Sharlot.
(spoiler alert) Well lets start with the end of the novel in which Lady Gone Bad is pardoned because she helped catch a group of thieves along with a traitor to the government with the help of Rafe and her horse Copper. The problem is that once this all resolved all we really learn about is how the horse thieves Zip, Lampkin, etc. stole her prized horse and killed her parents, but we never hear of her journey after that point. I think this would be worth mentioning given that by the end of the novel most people have become invested in the main characters.
Now, to go off a tangent sort of another confusing point in this book is when Sharlot begins lecturing Rafe in a way about the civil war heroes from thirty years ago. She explains to Rafe that some outlaws are “Confederate heroes, or sons of the heroes, still engaged in the conflict, taking back what the union stole and giving it to the needy like they did during the war”(Starr 183). I think the point that is she trying to make is that not all supposed criminals are guilty men or women and some people have to get involved with outlaws in order to gain justice. Sharlot is an example since she woos outlaws in order for her own agenda. Also, I think she is trying to get Rafe to realize that “there are always two sides to every story”(Starr 186). She also emphasizes that “People aren’t black, white or red. They’re grey”(Starr 187). She is trying to get Rafe to realize that maybe the situations for outlaws, confederate soldiers are more complicated than they seem. The issue with this is Rafe is a law man and for him people fall into the two camps of “guilty” and “not guilty” with very little room to be anything else in the middle.
Their being two sides of things can also be seen through the female characters in this book. I say this because of the female role models in the book are Belle Starr and Lady Gone Bad. These women represent strong, independent women who take care of themselves and who do not want to be dependent on men. For instance Lady Gone Bad is able to support herself through singing and helping others. The other side of this coin is woman like Angel Rafe’s sister who are demure timid woman who will do whatever they can to win over a man it seems, even if these ladies are their idols. This can be seen when she tells Lady Gone Bad “I’ve been working on this look with you in mind. She winked, chuckling. Angel Gone Bad”(Starr 212). Rafe does not approve of this off course, but Angel does not seem to care in this situation. When she explains to Rafe that she must stay with the VIking “long enough for him to understand I am his own true love”(Starr 213).
The book “Lady Gone Bad” by Sabine Starr shows to me that romance novels are more than just bad sex scenes that leave something to be desired. I say that because to my recollection their is only one sex scene in the beginning of the book in which there is foreplay. However, I do like how she attempts to provide some historical context to these characters in her western romance novel, and shows two interesting perspectives of women gender roles through Lady Gone Bad and Angel.