I rarely talk about the books I’m reading. I read once that it’s bad juju to review if you write, and I pretty much agree with that.
But I can’t not talk about The Orchid Hunter by Sandra K Moore, from Silhouette Bombshell.
I was attracted to this book for several reasons, not the least of which was the cover. In my humble opinion, it’s the best cover Silhouette’s ever done. And I love jungle stories and kick-ass heroines, so I’m there.
Even so, I was a little hesitant going in. The heroine, after all, is an orchid hunter, and my only familiarity with botany is using a Supersoaker to blast Japanese beetles off my rosa rugosa. So when I hit the words cymbidium archinopsis, I thought here we go. This is where the author pauses to cut and paste in her thesis on orchids so I’ll have a clue. Where’s my pillow?
But she didn’t. The more technical aspects are cleanly woven in to the heroine’s thoughts and dialogue on a natural, need-to-know basis. I’ve been given all the info I need, and learned a bit, without ever sitting through a botany lesson.
Dr. Jessie Robards is a great heroine—she’s smart, funny, kick-ass, while still having the strengths, faults and emotions of a real woman. There are a couple of moments I particulary respected the author for—her heroine knows there are times/places in the world when a woman keeps her mouth shut and her eyes on the ground and does so. Even with all the technical aspects of botany and bugs, and the Amazon and its indigenous peoples and their plight, there’s no lagging description. No hammered-in Earth Day lessons. The narrative’s tight and clean, and the action’s high.
Overall, this is—so far (I’m not finished with it)—an adventurous and intelligent book that says “she’s an orchid hunter going into the Amazon jungle for the Death Orchid—keep up or stay home.” Sandra K. Moore set a pretty high bar for Silhouette Bombshells with this book. (Yeah, I’ve got a Bombshell ms I’d like to finish someday.)