Medieval romance specialist Maguire (The Bride Hunt) detours to the 19th-century English countryside with a derivative but passionate tale. The mysterious Kuabwa Mgeni is supposedly the long-lost Anthony Maddox, heir to the earl of Sutton but raised in the jungles of Africa. His aristocratic grandmother, Lady Sophia Sutton, asks prim spinster Grace Hawthorne to teach Anthony the manners appropriate to an English lord. As the forces of upper-class England gather to challenge Anthony's right to the earldom, he tempts Grace into compromising situations, forcing her to choose between the devastatingly attractive earl and a sudden wealth of more respectable suitors. Anthony's evolution from semisavage to English lord is not overly compelling and Maguire's setting is thin in period detail, but the sensual sparks between Grace and Anthony make for a satisfying if not superlative read. (Jan.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Wildby Margo Maguire
No woman could tame him . . .
He moves with the grace of a predator—savage, dangerous, wild. For Grace Hawthorne, the newly arrived stranger is unlike any man she has ever known. Proud, defiant, mesmerizingly masculine, he flouts convention and refuses to enter into proper society. Is he the real Anthony Maddox, heir to a glittering earldom? Or an arrogant… See more details below
No woman could tame him . . .
He moves with the grace of a predator—savage, dangerous, wild. For Grace Hawthorne, the newly arrived stranger is unlike any man she has ever known. Proud, defiant, mesmerizingly masculine, he flouts convention and refuses to enter into proper society. Is he the real Anthony Maddox, heir to a glittering earldom? Or an arrogant imposter, sworn to claim what doesn't belong to him?
Including Grace. Practically engaged to another, the well-bred lady's companion is now entrusted with the task of civilizing the primitive nobleman. Determined to fulfill her duty and nothing more, she tries to ignore her growing desire for Anthony, but it is a futile endeavor. As they come together in a scandalous secret liaison, Grace must choose between the conventional life she was born to lead . . . and a future with a man as unpredictable as he is irresistible.
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Late spring, 1829
It was not like Grace Hawthorne to waste time woolgathering when she had work to do, yet she found herself doing just that as she sat at Lady Sophia Sutton's desk in the library of Fairford Park, gazing out at the back gardens. The estate was just west of London, and vast by the standards of the city, with acres of trees and gardens, yet close enough to enjoy London's attractions.
Grace took pleasure in the peace and security she'd found at Fairford, living with Lady Sutton, easing the loneliness of the elderly countess's life. Heaven knew that Lady Sutton had done the same for Grace, not to mention having given Grace a home and employment when she had nowhere else to go.
Her Ladyship was occupied at the moment, visiting with several of her dowager friends, so Grace decided to take a walk in the bright sunshine of the late May day. Her stroll would take her past Fairford's massive, ancient trees and beds of deep purple phlox, colorful nasturtiums, sweet william, and dahlias. Being out of doors among the flowers reminded Grace of her mother, whom she'd lost a year ago.
Heavens, had it been only a year? Grace mused. It seemed she had missed her mother for ages, yet at the same time, it was almost as though Grace had just bathed that dear lady's brow and tucked her blanket round her frail shoulders for the last time.
Grace turned away from the window just as the library door squeaked open, and Faraday, the butler, entered and handed a letter to her. It was soiled and discolored, as though it had been thrown into a busy street and left for days beforebeing delivered. "This just arrived, miss."
Grace took the missive and saw that it was addressed to the Dowager Countess Sutton, her employer.
"It's come a long distance," said Faraday. "She'll want it straight away."
The butler cleared his throat as Grace turned the letter over and saw that it had come from Africa.
Africa. Oh dear. By the look of it, the letter had taken many detours before making its way to Richmond.
Wasting no more time, Grace turned to the desk and quickly slit open the seal with Her Ladyship's penknife. As was entirely proper, Grace did not unfold the letter, but left the library and went directly to Lady Sutton's parlor.
She placed her hand on the door latch, only to pause when she heard the sounds of quiet laughter within. Many of Lady Sutton's friends gathered there each Wednesday, to visit and to gossip. She glanced at the watch pinned to her bodice. Soon the ladies would take a short walk through the garden, for the weather was fine, and then they would leave.
Grace looked down at the letter in her hand. It could be good news, or the very worst. Lady Sutton's grandson, who'd been lost in Africa more than twenty years before, might have been found.
Or the more likely case, someone had discovered the boy's remains.
Pressing the letter to her breast, Grace decided to wait. Whatever the news, it would not be something the countess would wish to share with the ladies, at least not yet. Far better for Grace to wait and give Her Ladyship the privacy she would need to digest the contents of the missive.
Grace returned to the library and tried to concentrate on the correspondence she should be handling for Lady Sutton. But that battered letter drew her eyes more times than she cared to admit.
Poor Lady Sutton. It was well-known that she harbored a most unrealistic belief that her grandson had survived being swept away from his father's hunting party somewhere in deepest Africa. The earl had returned grief-stricken after spending many months searching for his son . . . or the boy's body. Yet Anthony had never been found. No one believed the earl's son could have survived being swept into a deep, rushing river in the midst of a torrential rainstorm, yet his grandmother had never given up hope.
Grace eyed the dreaded letter, certain it could not possibly contain good news. She considered tossing it into the fireplace and eliminating all traces of it in order to protect Lady Sutton from renewing her terrible grief. But that would be entirely irregular. It was not up to Grace to decide which correspondence the countess ought to see. Besides, it might be well for Lady Sutton to be able to close the book on Anthony here and now. To finally accept that her grandson was truly gone.
The carriages belonging to Lady Sutton's guests soon came up the drive, and when the last of the ladies had taken their leave, Grace smoothed her skirts and straightened her prim collar, picked up the tattered letter, and carried it to Her Ladyship's parlor. She could no longer delay turning over the most horrible news to the woman who had taken her in as her companion a year ago, when Grace's world had shattered.
The London sky did not seem so very different from the African heavens, but Kuabwa Mgeni could not abide the smells. Disgusting. He could not leave this place soon enough.
He'd been ill when the white men had found him, else they'd never have taken him. He had made the mistake of speaking English to them, giving them his eupe name. He was not sure how long he'd been gone from England, how long since his white father had abandoned him, leaving him to fare on his own in the wild jungles of the Congo. But he had become part of Africa, and it was surely part of him in a way that England could never be. He belonged in his tropical valley, with its tribal people and fresh game, with its flowing waters and open sky.
And there were no disgusting odors there.Wild. Copyright © by Margo Maguire. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Two decades ago Anthony Maddox went on an African safari with his father and never returned to London. While his family and friends assume he died, his grandmother Lady Sutton prayed for a miracle that she would see him one last time before she died.
Shocking everyone in 1829, an adult Anthony comes home. However, he is no longer the polite behaved child; instead he is a savage who flaunts the inane rules of High Society. Unaccepted by all except his grandma and yet desired by the ladies due to that same lord of the jungle unacceptability, the WILD Lord Sutton shocks the aristocracy with his behavior. A whisper campaign insists he is in an imposter taking advantage of a foolish lonely old woman. However Lady Sutton believes he is genuine and asks her companion Grace Hawthorne to tame the beast by teaching him proper etiquette. As they see each other daily, they fall in love, but he needs to go home to Africa to enact revenge on the individual who left him ostracized; that compulsion changes when he realizes someone wants his beloved spinster dead he believes because of him.
This intriguing early nineteenth century Tarzan meets the Ton and Jane in England is an engaging historical romance. The story line is at its best when the student purposely misbehaves to impishly get a rise out of his tutor. The avenging subplot feels overdone and though understandable never quite holds up to the Tarzan-Jane prime theme that sub-genre fans will relish.