On The Wild Sideby Gerri Bowen
The former Major Trevor Wilde, now the Earl of Ardmoor, takes a keen interest in connecting those couples who belong
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Run through regency England with the Wilde family! Something Wild I liked the main character, Lady Madeline, immediately. Madeline is a woman desperately trying to adhere to the expectations of proper society, but her wild blood makes things difficult. As she tries to set a good example for her nieces and nephews, she has little outbursts of feeling that were quite entertaining. In addition to trying to tame her wild blood, Madeline is nearly forced into an unbearable marriage. Just at the right moment, a man from her past reappears. During her only season in London six years ago, Madeline met Robert, the Earl of Spode, a man she's never forgotten. The two immediately feel a connection, but the path to their happy ending is not clear. Robert must first get Madeline's unwanted suitor out of the picture, and also win the approval of Madeline's brother, Trevor Wilde, the Earl of Ardmoor. Ms. Bowen does an excellent job of setting the tone for the anthology with this first story. In Something Wild, I was introduced to Madeline and Robert, both of whom are very nice characters who delight in meddling in the romances of their friends and family. I did have one small issue with the story. Though Madeline and Robert had met six years earlier, they were barely acquaintances. While I realize that space is limited in a short story and that there is something to be said for love at first sight, I do wish that Madeline and Robert would have had time to get to know one another before deciding they were going to get married. Ardmoor was the most interesting character that I met in Something Wild. Throughout the story, he retains a bit of mystery. He confines himself to his room most of the time mourning the loss of his leg in battle. While Ardmoor comes off a bit gruff at times, it gradually becomes clear that he cares deeply about his family and by the end of the story is pulling himself out of his depression. I found myself smiling as Ardmoor shouted "inventive curses" as he learned to walk with his peg leg. I looked forward to reading more about him in the other stories. Sweet Sauerkraut While the romance in Sweet Sauerkraut doesn't directly involve anyone in the Wilde family, it does involve Ardmoor's close friend, Nick Wharncliffe. At first I didn't particularly like Nick. His motivations for finding a wife are purely selfish. He is responsible for his five nephews or monsters as he calls them. Nicke simply needs a wife to cook for and take care of them. He even needs a wealthy wife because he needs money to make repairs on his home. Nick doesn't seem to care who the woman is as long as she meets those credentials. However, when Nick is introduced to Beth Reese, he finds that he actually develops genuine feelings for her. Beth loves to cook and plans to use her culinary talents to win over Nick's unruly nephews. The more time Nick spends with Beth, the more he likes her. He even encourages her to enter a cooking contest and suggests that she come up with a recipe with sauerkraut as the main ingredient. I gradually warmed to his personality as I watched him fall in love with Beth and genuinely support her independent efforts. Originally posted at The Long and Short of It Romance Reviews.