Remembering love: Parsons-Yazzie's historical romance novel and the (re)writing of Navajo history

Publication year

Here's the abstract:

Native American–themed romance has long been one of the most popular sub-genres of popular romance. This chapter focuses on the initial four books in the Apache Protector Series, published in 2015 and 2016, revolving around four brothers (and one missing sister) on an Apache reservation in Arizona. All brothers work in some form of law enforcement and the books explore questions of crime and justice, love and trust, specifically in relation to the Indigenous heritage of the brothers, and the special legal status of Native reservations. Place functions in this series as a form of anchored identity, centralising questions of land, community, family and off-reservation adoption in the romance plots, as well as questions of borders, immigration, trafficking and land rights in the suspense plots. The chapter will examine the way in which this series subverts the dominant mode of historical settings, and how its crossover with suspense provides a space to engage with questions of (in)justice for its Apache heroes. I draw on Gilles Lipovetsky’s theory of hypermodernity to explore to what extent these novels supply a form of cultural tourism to an imagined space of tribal community for a hypermodern, largely non-native audience. I compare linguistic anthropologist Keith Basso’s use of the term chronotype in relation to Apache lands to the representation of the physical environment in the novel and its importance to the romance and suspense plots.