The Hostage (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

Deborah Sinclair is a beautiful, accomplished young heiress with a staggering dowry. But her fortune does her no good when, one horrible night, Chicago is engulfed in flames.

Tom Silver will walk through fire to avenge a terrible injustice—and he may have to. But when he makes Deborah a pawn in his revenge, the heat of the inferno fades next to the attraction he feels for his captive. And the further he takes her from everything she's known, the stronger their passion grows, ...

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The Hostage (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy Series #1)

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Overview

Deborah Sinclair is a beautiful, accomplished young heiress with a staggering dowry. But her fortune does her no good when, one horrible night, Chicago is engulfed in flames.

Tom Silver will walk through fire to avenge a terrible injustice—and he may have to. But when he makes Deborah a pawn in his revenge, the heat of the inferno fades next to the attraction he feels for his captive. And the further he takes her from everything she's known, the stronger their passion grows, until it threatens to consume them both.

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Editorial Reviews

Kathe Robin
In The Hostage, Susan Wiggs masterfully combines real historical events with a powerful captive/captor romance and deep emotions. She draws readers in with her strong writing style and memorable characters. Once more, Ms. Wiggs demonstrates her ability to bring readers a story to savor that has them impatiently awaiting each new novel.
Romantic Times
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552042137
  • Publisher: Durkin Hayes Publishing, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 7/28/2000
  • Series: Great Chicago Fire Trilogy Series , #1
  • Format: Cassette
  • Edition description: 2 Cassettes
  • Product dimensions: 4.74 (w) x 6.98 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Wiggs has won many awards for her work, including a RITA from Romance Writers of America. She has also published with a number of houses, including Avon, HarperCollins, Warner and MIRA Books.

In addition to being a militant romance writer, a feminist, a guilt-ridden mother and a perfect wife, Susan Wiggs grows mutant tomatoes, speaks French, and plays the cello. Her hobbies are reading, traveling the world and Fair Isle knitting. She lives on an island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, her daughter, and the world's most ill-mannered Airedale. Although she has convinced her family that toiling away at a writing career makes her a candidate for martyrdom, she secretly believes it's the second-most fun to be had.

Wiggs, a Harvard graduate, confesses that a book once saved her sanity. Trapped at Barcelona Airport during an airline strike, she vividly remembers savoring every lush, escapist word of a romance novel. Ever since, it has been her quest to write the sort of books people cling to in crowded airports, or whenever life gets too crazy.

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Read an Excerpt

The Hostage


By Susan Wiggs

Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.

Copyright © 2003 Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1551667568


Chapter One

Chicago 8 October 1871

It was the hottest October anyone could remember. Less than an inch of rain had fallen in three months. Livestock died of thirst, their bloated carcasses splayed beside sun-baked mudholes. The unseasonable warmth made women regard baking day with special loathing and small children cranky with prickly heat. Laboring men paused in their work, looked up at the sky and remarked to each other that they'd surely welcome a breath of winter.

Drought and dry windstorms kept the fire companies frantically busy; engineers and pipemen were called on to put out as many as six fires a day, battling the flames that fed on unpainted frame cottages, rickety shanties with roofs of tar and shake, and the endless supply of woodchips from Chicago's lumber mills.

Into the restless stream of hot prairie wind floated a single spark.

Later, some would say the spark came from a stove chimney. Many believed the gossip that the unfortunate placement of a lantern near a cow in Mrs. O'Leary's barn had caused the mayhem. Others would swear, in the terrible aftermath, that the hand of God himself started it all, while still others accused the Devil. Some even blamed a hail of comets that rained from the night sky. In the great charred ruin of the city, fingers would point and recriminations would echo across courtrooms, in the city hall and at hearings before the Board of Fire.

But the fact was, a single spark, dipping and swirling like a drunken ballerina, rode an updraft of wind that night. It sailed high over a neighborhood of wood frame houses, barns packed with timothy hay, sheds full of coal and wood shavings for tinder, sidewalks constructed of knotty spruce and pine-block roadways.

The West Division neighborhood was a rabbit warren of narrow, miserable alleys and makeshift shanties, a place no respectable person would ever visit. But it was home to day laborers and women with too many babies, to shopkeepers and immigrants, to drunks and dreamers, loose women and strict Catholics. And in the tacked-together neighborhood they bore their children, worshiped, ate, drank, fought, loved and buried their dead.

The dry, blowing heat prompted some folks to find their beds early, while others tried to drown their discomfort in drink and song. The thin, lively whine of fiddle music and the thump of hobnail boots on plank floors emanated from some of the cottages. Noise flooded through open windows and caused flimsy walls to reverberate with the hectic celebration.

And high in the wild night sky, the spark looped and changed direction, pushed along by the wind blowing in from the broad and empty Illinois prairie.

The spark entered a barn where five milk cows and a horse stood tethered with their heads lowered, and a calf lay curled on a bed of straw.

The tiny ember dropped onto a store of musty hay, and when the wind breathed on it, a small circle of orange appeared.

No one saw the pool of flame spread like spilled water, dripping down and over the stacked hay, igniting the crisp, dry wood shavings from Bateham's Planing Mill. No one saw the river of fire flowing along the worn plank floor. No one noticed the horse's nostrils dilate in fear or heard the animal emit a high-pitched whistle of alarm.

Finally, a drayman with a wooden leg, who happened to be loitering across the street, noticed the deep-toned, unnatural light and headed clumsily for the barn. The cows, tied by their halters, stood unmoving even when Pegleg Sullivan came crashing into the barn and untied them. The calf, with its hide on fire and its tether hanging in the wood shavings, plowed into Pegleg and half dragged him out into the yard.

Tall, graceful fronds of flame bloomed at the side of the barn. Stark orange light licked across the beaten earth of the yard between house and shed.

Finally, a man's voice broke the night. "Kate, the barn's afire!"

In Box Number 342, at the corner of Canalport Avenue and Halsted Street, the first alarm sounded.

And over the sleeping faces of the children in the West Division of Chicago, a strange and rusty glow of light flickered.

"What's the matter with Deborah?" asked Phoebe Palmer, standing in the middle of a cluttered suite of rooms at Miss Emma Wade Boylan's School for Young Ladies. Lacy petticoats and beribboned unmentionables littered the divans and ottomans of the fringed, beaded and brocaded salon.

"She won't even let her maid in to attend her," Phoebe added.

"I'll see what's keeping her." Lucy Hathaway pushed open the door to an adjoining chamber. Deborah's dress, which she had worn to Aiken's Opera House the previous night, lay slumped in a heap of tulle and silk on the floor. A mound of sheets lay scattered over the bed, while the smell of expensive perfume and despair hung in the air.

"Deborah, are you all right?" Lucy asked softly. She went to the window, parting the curtain to let in a bit of the waning evening light. In the distance, some of the taller buildings and steeples of distant Chicago stabbed the horizon. The sky was tinged dirty amber by the smoke and soot of industry. But closer to Amberley Grove, the genteel suburb where the school was located, the windswept evening promised to be a lovely one.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from The Hostage by Susan Wiggs Copyright © 2003 by Harlequin Enterprises Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 100 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(47)

4 Star

(28)

3 Star

(17)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 100 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Great

    Best of th e trilogy. Would not bother with the other two, especially the one about Lucy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2011

    Love the complex characters!

    I Love, Love, Love, the Susan Wiggs' books that I have read so far. I have focused on the Historical and love how it is woven into the stories. Her characters are so complex you really feel you know them by the end. But it takes most of the novel to really learn about them.

    This has action and even though it takes place during the Chicago fire, it has only a small portion that is about that event.

    It has the unlikely characters coming together in a very unlikely way that she likes to write about. It also has deep secrets that are unveiled toward the end that help us understand the characters. I think it really makes you think about abuse, and tragedy and how it can affect who you are by the way in which you handle life's challenges.

    The end was not what I expected, or predicted but it worked and I did feel good when it was all finished.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    Mimimi result one.

    T

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    Fernkit

    Ok

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Great read!!!!!

    Fast paced. Love her characters and settings.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    Janet

    Great!

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  • Posted December 5, 2011

    I couldn't put it down!

    This is the first of the Chicago Fire Trilogy and after reading it, I MUST read the other two books in the trilogy. It begins on the day the Great Chicago Fire starts and begins by telling the reader that something has happened the previous evening to our heroine, Deborah, that has affected her whole outlook on her life. We are kept wondering what happened until 3/4 of the way through the book. I love how Deborah learns what life is really about, having only known the shallow and glitzy world of the rich and pampered. The wonderful descriptions and the story of Deborah and Tom - a wonderful love story, kept me reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 21, 2011

    I wanted much more for this book

    Exciting start with the fire, the author really knows her Chicago landmarks. Then the book became blah, the any other half-heartedly written romance.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 10, 2011

    u want romance and adventure here it is

    this book is amazing if you want to read a book on love and adventure. this book not only has adventure and romance it shows the romance of a prestigous female who doesn't even know who she is until she finds friends with this savage man.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2010

    An Excellent and Beautiful book in a wonderful series! Read this one first!

    The genre of the book is not one that is in my "normal" reading preferences, I am more of an England or Scotland kind of romance reader, but I am SO VERY GLAD that I picked this book up. I actually was so into the book that I cried and laughed out loud. The characters are very easy to relate to and the hero and heroine will own your heart. I love this book! Just make sure you read this one first. This was really a beautiful and well written book. The best of the trilogy. The book takes you on such an emotional journey, it is the stuff that dreams are made of. I also learned so much about the Chicago fire and about the rich and the poor in Chicago during that time period. You can tell that Ms. Wiggs really put a lot of time and research into the story. BRAVO! I lend this book out a lot!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 13, 2010

    Great!

    I really enjoyed this book! It was deeply emotional and had a wonderful chemistry between the main characters. I would recommend this book to any romance fan and it has made me want to read other books by this author.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2010

    Not a fan of historical romance.....

    But this book got me hook. It was given to me. At first I thought it will be like dummy romance. As soon I started to reading, I couldn't put it down. It was like, "Be quiet, I am reading..." Finished in two days. I like Susan Wiggs' writing. It's not too fruity.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This book made me want to read all the time!

    This book was glued to my eyes for a week. I have always been the kind of person who preferred movies over books, but not any more. I actually found it more thrilling to read this story than if I were to watch it on TV. After finishing the book, I had grown so emotionally connected witht he characters, that I was actually sad the book was over because I loved to read it so much. I couldn't wait to go back to the book store and get the second book to the Great Chicago Fire Trilogy! I highly recommend this book because Wiggs has a great Writing Style that is easy to follow and flows. I could write a whole essay about how much I love this book, but it is getting late and I need to go read The Mistress by Susan Wiggs!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2001

    Descriptive, fast paced and amazingly good

    From the very beginning, her wording draws you into the story with the way she makes you wonder... and with the texturized writing style that makes the reader feel as if s/he is there while keeping such a fast pace in the story... this book is written as any romance, but is ever so special and unique, like an epic..

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2000

    Susan Wiggs Does it Again!

    I really enjoyed this book. Susan Wiggs' stories are unique in that they don't seem to be the same plot with different details each time. She doesn't crank them out as fast as other authors and I can really tell a difference in terms of quality. Tom and Deborah each had many layers to their respective personalities that were gradually revealed and the development of their relationship was quite believable. The end of the book was disappointing only in that I was finished reading my new friends' story and there wasn't anything more. Can't wait for the next one!

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Endearing Americana romance

    In 1871, an angry and desperate Deborah Sinclair visits her wealthy father Arthur to demand he stop the marriage he wants for his daughter. Arthur, a self-made millionaire from his commerce dealings, wants the acceptance of high society. He sees Deborah through marriage to Philip Ascot as his ticket. Deborah knows no one ever refuses to do something that Arthur demands. Still, she tells him she will not marry the odious Philip. Their squabble remains undecided when the duo flees due to the spread of fire. <P>Tom Silver plans to enact vengeance on Arthur for the devastation on his village caused by the industrial mogul¿s copper mines. Tom kidnaps Deborah, taking her to his remote island home. Though none of the islanders will help Deborah, she soon gains their respect by helping them with their chores. Soon Tom finds himself in love with the daughter of his enemy who returns his deepest feelings. Though she has broken through his heart that had been as icy as the blizzards that isolate the village, he still owes his villagers, but he no longer knows what to do. <P>THE HOSTAGE is a beautiful relationship drama that brings life in a remote late nineteenth century American village to life. The story line is character driven and thus not for those who enjoy action-packed tales. The lead characters are a wonderful duo and the villagers add depth to the look at the era. Susan Wiggs is so good at the descriptions, the audience will winter garb just to feel warm while reading this endearing illuminating Americana romance. <P>Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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