Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter's Reviews > Dancing on Coals

Dancing on Coals by Ellen O'Connell
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Nov 02, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-western, five-star-reads, favorite-historicals
Read from November 04 to 06, 2011

Chief Joseph, Nez Perce, said:

“We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets, that hereafter he will give every man a spirit home according to his deserts; if he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home. This I believe, and all my people believe the same.

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk. It does not require many words to speak the truth.

If the white man wants to live in peace with the Indian, he can live in peace. Treat all men alike. Give them all the same law. Give them all an even chance to live and grow. All men were made by the same Great Spirit Chief. They are all brothers. The Earth is the mother of all people, and all people should have equal rights upon it. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to think and talk and act for myself, and I will obey every law, or submit to the penalty.

You might as well expect the rivers to run backward as that any man who was born free should be contented to be penned up and denied liberty to go where he pleases.

We are taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets: that hereafter he will give every man a spirit-home according to his deserts...This I believe, and all my people believe the same.”

HUGE 5 stars!


Dancing on Coals brought back so many, many wonderful and fond memories! When I was a ten-year-old girl I was reading Karl May’s books. I think they were all between 400 and 700 pages strong and there was this hero...an Apache called Winnetou. Now when I’m thinking about this perfect Indian, I have this picture ingrained in my mind and that is Winnetou. Yeah, I had a major crush on him / Pierre Brice. Oui, Pierre, mon amour! *sigh* Unfortunately I am not able to upload his picture. That’s why I give you the advice to google this actor. He is the perfect Gaetan. Such a gorgeous and handsome French man – even now and he is 81! Aw, those were the days...

A shout out to my GR friend Jill…thanks so much for encouraging me to read this story! And thanks for sharing our enlightening conversations during my status updates – I had a good laugh. Thanks for being such a good friend too. I’ll be on the lookout for more proud, fierce, and hot Indian men, that’s for sure!

Brief synopsis:

Arizona Territory, Spring 1881
Katherine Grant is on her way home to New York in a stagecoach together with three other passengers. When her stagecoach is attacked by Rurales and the other passengers killed, Katherine is rescued by an Apache warrior, called Nilchi. Nilchi’s brother Gaetan is furious when he realizes that his brother saved the white woman and wants to 'marry' her.

Gaetan is a very proud, strong and fierce Apache warrior, and he emanates the dark aura of raw power. They’re calling themselves Nde (people). His parents were killed by white men. Gaetan and his brother Nilchi were raised for a few years in the white man’s world. They had to attend a white missionary school. After Gaetan could escape, he’s never been fully accepted by his people anymore. Gaetan’s living by his own beliefs now. His rage and hatred of all whites goes right down to his core. This hatred and bitterness is burning his heart and belly and it is surrounding him in every way possible. It directs his living, thinking, and breathing. Even when he meets Katherine he is not willing to relent. But he comes to respect her pride and her ‘bad’ temper. And he sees her overt fearlessness and fierceness. Katherine Grant is not your usual heroine. Her upbringing is quite special and helped her to become this proud woman. Her mother died when she was very young. Together with her father and five brothers she was travelling around the world.
Katherine is the opposite of prejudiced. She accepts Gaetan the way he is.

Just...wow! There are so many, many things that I had to admire! Personally, the most important testimony of this story was: Pride goes before a fall. But what’s so amazing about that is Gaetan NEVER fell. Ever. He was such an aloof, pride, strong, and untamed man and he stayed true to his character, to his inner self all throughout the story – right until the incredibly beautiful epilogue! This man is so awesome! I’m always so focused on the heroes. To me a story stands and falls with the hero. He was the ‘backbone’ of Dancing on Coals. However, I have to admit that the heroine was awe-inspiring as well. Such a strong, feisty, and fierce woman! Katherine, you can have my back any time.

I loved the very good dialogs, although I have to warn the readers that Gaetan is very taciturn in the beginning – to say the least. It takes Gaetan a very long time until he speaks to Katherine for the first time. Naturally before they begin to interact ‘properly’ other interesting things happen. The author is able to spread quite a few witty and funny dialogs throughout the story. And Gaetan proves to having a slight and dry sense of humour after all, even though it is not overtly recognizable. I loved to see how Katherine made him smile/laugh eventually. Gaetan and Katherine’s relationships develops slowly but steadily. They are always very likeable and believable.

Loved the chemistry and the build-up between H/h. Their foreplay in the pool was so sensual . I was a bit stunned about the act itself afterward. But I think it suited the hero. This man was so over-the-top horny at that time and there was just no time for finesse. Gaetan, I forgive you. You showed your finesse later, and it was so rewarding to read and see how utterly sensual, erotic, and hot this guy could be when the need arises. This was the case during their second love scene. So beautiful!

I always said that I’m not into historicals. I have to revise my opinion. I’m rather sure that I won’t really be tempted to start reading all those historicals where women are wearing fluffy dresses and the men are posing in stiff suits and silly hairdos and beards. But I’ll continue to read about proud men in loincloths, that’s for sure.

Memorable lines/”quotes”:

[…]“Your skin is white, but I think the white god made a mistake, or maybe he did it on purpose to play a joke. He gave you an Apache heart.”[…]

[…]She raised her head so she could look straight at him. “You’ve already given me what I want. I want you. You should know that I won’t leave your people so long as you live. If you ever return and find me gone, know that they took me against my will. I will not leave you.”
“That’s a hard promise too.”
“It’s my promise.” She toyed with the top button of his shirt. “Do Apaches kiss?”
“The people believe the mouth is only for eating.”
“Oh.” She didn’t try to hide her disappointment.
He shifted her against him a little and cupped her breast with one hand, his thumb rubbing across the nipple. “They also believe a woman’s breast is only for nursing a child.”
Lowering his mouth over hers, he ran his tongue between her lips, exploring her tongue, making her shiver with a stroke along the roof of her mouth.
When he raised his head at last, she whispered, “I’m glad you’re an unbeliever.”

[…]Dying is easier than living sometimes.[…]

[…]”Be reasonable, Miss Grant. You had the protection of one of their people from the beginning. Without that you can’t imagine the savagery you would have endured. We have to stop it.”
“The savagery is on all sides so far as I can tell. People always give as good as they get. There was savagery in the Civil War, and the combatants were countrymen before and after.”[…]

[…]As he left her mouth and took the skin of her neck in his teeth, for the first time he understood that her fierceness gave her value, but what drew him and held him was acceptance. As a boy the teachers had forced him to obey and learn to save their own souls, not the one they doubted he had. As a man his own people looked at him with suspicion because of what the teachers had done.
Katherine alone accepted. She accepted his body in every way he gave it. She accepted his spirit as it was, not as a woman must wish it to be. When they married, she accepted there could be no future and gave hard promises. Tonight his anger could not make her turn away.[…]

[…]”Sneaking away will be like the beginning again, won’t it, like getting away from the Rurales all over.”
He answered so softly she could barely make out the words. “No. It will be different. I didn’t love you then.”

[…]He swiveled to face her, so close she could make out his features in the moonlight. “Before you came, only the killing mattered. My brother told me I was wrong, that I could make war and enjoy good things like other men, but I never listened. By leaving you with me, in death he made me listen. If the people are right and there are ghosts, his ghost is laughing at me. If dying is easier than living, I will take the hardest path. I will choose to grow old beside a fierce woman.”[…]

Believe me, I could add many, many more…


Dancing on Coals is so very well written. It’s such an emotional, profound, beautiful, and all-engrossing read! This book and these characters will stay very close to my heart. Always. Highly recommended! Enjoy!

I strongly advise you to read the author's note.
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Quotes Baba ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Liked

Ellen O'Connell
“If a man could taste wind and fire, they would taste like Katherine. When he stood in high places looking down on things made small by distance, he tried to feel what the eagle felt soaring free on the wind. He was an earthbound man. Only his spirit could ever soar, and only Katherine raised him so high.”
Ellen O'Connell, Dancing on Coals


Reading Progress

11/04/2011 "I can't say that I'm going to start this tomorrow because it's already 1:15 a.m. here. So, I guess I have to say that I'm going to start reading it today, but after I've finished my laundry (ugh) and after my much needed beauty sleep... :))" 4 comments
11/05/2011
16.0% "So far so good! :)" 4 comments
11/05/2011
40.0% "Gaetan has spoken to Katherine for the first time!!! Jeeeez, I can't believe it! LOL Lovin' it! I was wondering about Gaetan...son prénom est français... :))" 21 comments
11/05/2011
66.0% "Wow, I love it! Very well written and totally engrossing. Ok, I have to admit that I've read the epilogue yet. Very beautiful and perfect! :)" 3 comments
11/06/2011
100.0% "Wow! What an emotional and great read! Working on my review and there is so, so much to write..." 3 comments
05/11/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-50 of 89) (89 new)


Karla I've never read this author, but this one looks good.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter It's good, Karla! BTW, in case you're interested Dangerous Cravings was good as well. Not the common BDSM book - just different. :)


Karla Thanks Baba!


Jill Baba was an excellent review! So, so glad you enjoyed. I said to Nikki I'm always just a lttle bit concerned when I give a rec that the book will be disappointing for others. Glad it didn't disappoint.

I love the quote at the beginning. Very apt. And you saw what I saw that it was Gaetan that made this story. Even though Katherine was his equal.

Looks like we can swap recs in historical westerns from now on!


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill wrote: "Baba was an excellent review! So, so glad you enjoyed. I said to Nikki I'm always just a lttle bit concerned when I give a rec that the book will be disappointing for others. Glad it didn't disappo..."

Thanks, Jill! It was definitely the opposite of a disappointment! LOL
I think it will be not all that easy to find more great books about proud Indians... :)


message 6: by Dee (new) - added it

Dee Excellent review Baba :)


Jill Baba, the Native American romance sub-genre is not very popular these days. I think perhaps the 80s and 90s were its heyday. I've read some older ones but like you find the novels back then a bit cheesy and with purple prose.

This is the best NA I've ever read. My second favourite isBeloved Savage Beloved Savage by Sandra Bishop
The cover is a little bit dated but the story isn't. Check out my review.

As well Comanche Moon is also very good. You have that on your to-read list already.

Bttw, where/how do you get your quotes? They're always so appropriate to your review.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill wrote: "Baba, the Native American romance sub-genre is not very popular these days. I think perhaps the 80s and 90s were its heyday. I've read some older ones but like you find the novels back then a bit c..."

Jill, that's the beauty of the Internet. Choose a strong and apt word, add the word quotes and then hit the search button. In this case I've chosen "Indian quotes". And this particular "quote" was on the very first page. I mean I had to click once and I thought "Wow, you lucky woman, this is perfect!" LOL

Thanks for the rec! I've read somewhere that you loved Beloved Savage. What a horrible title, BTW! I don't think that it's apt to call them 'savages'.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Dee wrote: "Excellent review Baba :)"

Thank you, Dee! I think you can feel that I loved this book. It's always so easy to write good reviews when you love a story. :)


message 10: by Dee (new) - added it

Dee I can definately say that love came through in your review Baba which is what made it so good :)


Nikki Oh, stunning review Baba - and includes all my favourite quotes! I also wanted to mention to both you and Jill (view spoiler).


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Nikki wrote: "Oh, stunning review Baba - and includes all my favourite quotes! I also wanted to mention to both you and Jill [spoilers removed]."

Thank you, Nikki! Yes, you are right. He said "I didn't love you then." But he never said directly "I love you". I think it wasn't all that necessary. When you read the story and you get to know this man then you will understand him and you will know how he has to act. It's the way he is and it's just perfect. He shows his love to Katherine in many different ways (non-verbal communication). Plain beautiful!


Nikki Yes he definitely does, especially when he starts looking for her reactions and facial expressions when she sees him. But what I was referring to specifically was when they were at the reservation (view spoiler) and I think he says her name but then in his thoughts he says (view spoiler) or something similar. I damn near swooned off my bed!


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Nikki, I think that was when they were making love after their reunion. In his thoughts he was saying what you mentioned. Definitely a powerful scene - as I said before non-verbal communication... :)


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Swoon-worthy review! Loved your quotes, Baba. I haven't read NA romance since it's heyday. This book seems a sure thing.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Anna wrote: "Swoon-worthy review! Loved your quotes, Baba. I haven't read NA romance since it's heyday. This book seems a sure thing."

Thank you, Anna! It's a fantastic read! Enjoy! I spent more than two hours searching for more good NA stories. But it's hard to find them. Will start another one today... :))


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill,
I wanted to post my review at amazon. Grrrrr...such a crap!! They don't accept it and I already cut some parts out of my review - such as Winnetou/Pierre Brice and the part where I was mentioning you and GR.

You know I'm not all that surprised though. I think that the long quote of Chief Joseph obviously is not PC!!! This is so annoying! I could publish something like that in a Swiss newspaper - no problem at all. Talk about sensible information...Grrrrç*"!!!=&/($$$¨¨&*"


Karla Nice job Baba!


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Karla wrote: "Nice job Baba!"

Thanks Karla! :)


Karla Baba, this is a stand-alone, right?


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Karla wrote: "Baba, this is a stand-alone, right?"

Absolutely! It's only one book. I haven't read her other books yet but I'm sure the others are not about Indians.


Karla It's only $2.99, I think I'm going to buy it.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Karla wrote: "It's only $2.99, I think I'm going to buy it."

Go for it! LOL You said you'd read anything with a good storyline. I think this book is so much more. Enjoy!


Karla I am now the proud owner of this book!


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Karla wrote: Karla Parks I am now the proud owner of this book!

Me, too! $2.99 is such an inexpensive price. Has anyone read any of her other books?


Karla Anna wrote: "Karla wrote: Karla Parks I am now the proud owner of this book!

Me, too! $2.99 is such an inexpensive price. Has anyone read any of her other books?"


I just love a bargain!
I haven't read any books, but I know some of my GR friends read Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold and loved it!


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Karla wrote: "I am now the proud owner of this book!"

Congratulations, Karla. LOL


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Anna wrote: "Karla wrote: Karla Parks I am now the proud owner of this book!

Me, too! $2.99 is such an inexpensive price. Has anyone read any of her other books?"


Anna, I'll be reading her other books. I have started another Western historical this evening. But I'm pretty sure that I'm going to read Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold afterward.


Kristen Karla wrote: "I am now the proud owner of this book!"

Me too!


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Kristen wrote: "Karla wrote: "I am now the proud owner of this book!"

Me too!"


What can I say? Congrats, Kristen! I really hope you're going to enjoy it. LOL


Karla Kristen wrote: "Karla wrote: "I am now the proud owner of this book!"

Me too!"


Woohoo, let's do a read together. This one should be better than the last one. LOL! Did you see my review on RR?


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Karla wrote: Woohoo, let's do a read together. This one should be better than the last one. LOL! Did you see my review on RR?

I'm game! First, I need to finish reading another book. What is RR?


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill, my tennis friend...Federer won in Basel!!! He had to cry. I just love this guy - and I love men who can show emotions! He says that winning at home is always the most beautiful thing! Go Fedi!!!


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill...once more...ok, my review of Dancing on Coals has just gone live on Amazon. And as I suspected it was because of Chief Joseph's statement, and additionally I cancelled the quote "There was savagery in the Civil War...". Posting a statement of an Indian seems to be politically incorrect...
I had to switch to politically correct quotes about pride.


Karla Anna wrote: "Karla wrote: Woohoo, let's do a read together. This one should be better than the last one. LOL! Did you see my review on RR?

I'm game! First, I need to finish reading another book. What is RR?"


Rafe's Redemption!


message 36: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill It's early here Baba and I've just finished reading thru the comments. I'll re-read again when I've got more time this afternoon hopefully, as there are somethings I'd like to comment on. I've got to get things rolling here as it's Monday morning and that means work. Grrr!

Oh, congrats on getting your review up at Amazon. Eventually. I'll read it later first thing when I've got a spare moment.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill wrote: "It's early here Baba and I've just finished reading thru the comments. I'll re-read again when I've got more time this afternoon hopefully, as there are somethings I'd like to comment on. I've got ..."

Ok, Jill. No worries! LOL


Kristiej Isn't this a wonderful book? I adore her writing and I just started rereading Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold for the fourth time


Kristen Karla wrote: "Kristen wrote: "Karla wrote: "I am now the proud owner of this book!"

Me too!"

Woohoo, let's do a read together. This one should be better than the last one. LOL! Did you see my review on RR?"


Lol. You can't get much worse than RR. No, I didn't see your review. I'll go read right now. Let me know when and we'll read this together.


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) Poor RR. Will avoid. Now I gotta get back to Drink Deep. Look forward to group reading DoC. Never done that before. :)


Kristen I was going to start this book but I'll wait until everyone's ready. Are we thinking some time this week?


Anna (Bobs Her Hair) I can start Tuesday or later.


message 43: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill @ Baba
So glad you could get your review up at Amazon. Though it's a tad shorter. Nevertheless you were able to post it.

I have read EO'C's other two westerns. Imo this is her best. The others are westerns but not NA. Although her first, Eyes of Silver Eyes of Gold does have a half-NA as the hero. Both worth reading. My ratings -
EoSEoG - 4 stars
Sing My Name - 4.5 stars
DoC - 5 stars

Federer - I didn't see that match. But I have seen him cry before. Here at the Australian Open. Also I have his autograph. One of my GR friends was able to get it this year at Wimbleton! No doubt you'll also have one. He's my fav player at the moment.

Can't tell you how happy I am that you enjoyed this Baba. Historical westerns and NA in particular are one of my fav sub-genres of romance.

And you're right about Gaetan, he never says (view spoiler)

I also love what you said about their love scenes Baba. The first one compared to the next. But again in keeping with his character.


message 44: by Jill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jill @ Nikki
I love that scene as well when G and K were reunited. I really wouldn't have liked to have been K's brother coming face to face with Gaetan. But I think he held his own pretty well.


Baba  ♥♥♥ Tyler, Marcus, Archer, Dean, Adrian, Dan & Hunter Jill,
I'm going to start Eyes of Silver, Eyes of Gold. I put everything else on hold...It's a pity I have to work though - not much time to read... :(


Nikki Cute - I've never done a group read before! Enjoy, ladies!


Karla Kristen wrote: "I was going to start this book but I'll wait until everyone's ready. Are we thinking some time this week?"

Just give me a heads up Kristen, I just finishing up a book now and then I'll just read a short.


Kristen Anna wrote: "I can start Tuesday or later."

I can start Tuesday.

Karla, will Tuesday work?


Karla Tuesday it is!


message 50: by Kristen (last edited Nov 07, 2011 07:34AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kristen Anna wrote: "I can start Tuesday or later."

Karla wrote: "Tuesday it is!"

Okay. We will start this book Tuesday. Yaay. I'm excited!


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