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The China Bride
     

The China Bride

3.9 30
by Mary Jo Putney
 

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Born to a Scottish father and a Chinese mother, Troth Montgomery dreamed of someday traveling to Scotland, until the death of her father condemned her to a shadowy life as an interpreter in Canton. Then Kyle Renbourne, viscount and adventurer, discovers Troth's true identity and persuades her to be his guide on a dangerous journey into the heart of the Celestial

Overview

Born to a Scottish father and a Chinese mother, Troth Montgomery dreamed of someday traveling to Scotland, until the death of her father condemned her to a shadowy life as an interpreter in Canton. Then Kyle Renbourne, viscount and adventurer, discovers Troth's true identity and persuades her to be his guide on a dangerous journey into the heart of the Celestial Kingdom.

A meeting of the minds flares into searing passion, an idyll that ends when Kyle is captured and condemned to death. A reckless prison cell marriage the night before his execution sends Troth to England, where she arrives at the estate of Kyle's brother. Though accepted as bride and widow, she is haunted by the memory of her dashing husband. Then the past reaches out to Troth, bringing passion, despair, and danger. Now she must draw on her unique heritage to save all she holds dear—and become the woman she is destined to be. . . .

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"MARY JO PUTNEY IS NOT TO BE MISSED!"
—JO BEVERLEY

"PUTNEY [IS] ADEPT AT ATMOSPHERE, PACE, AND EROS."
—The Baltimore Sun

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Nineteenth-century China, England and Scotland are the settings for Putney's continuing saga of the Renbourne twins, Dominic and Kyle, begun in The Wild Child. There, Kyle handed over his unwanted betrothed, Meriel (a match arranged at birth), to his twin brother, Dominic, and escaped to Spain with his terminally ill mistress, Constancia. Ever since his true love's death, Kyle has been exploring the world. In 1832, he is in Macao. His father's health is failing, however, and Kyle plans to fulfill his lifelong dream of seeing the Temple of Hoshan, "an image of peace and unearthly beauty," then return to England to resume his duties as Lord Maxwell. Unfortunately, China is closed to all Fan-qui (foreigners) and Kyle must stay within the confines of the Canton Settlement, a narrow strip of warehouses serving as shipping point for all European and American trade companies. In order to sneak into the Chinese countryside, Kyle enlists the aid of Jin Kang, who he thinks is a young male Chinese interpreter. Jin is actually Troth Mei-Lian Montgomery, feisty daughter of a Scottish trader and Chinese concubine, who is forced to make her living by spying on "foreign devils." Kyle's rash escapade is predictably unsuccessful, as he is discovered and sentenced to death. He marries Troth (symbolically) and dispatches her to England to tell his family of his fate--which, of course, turns out to be different from what she imagines. In chapters alternating between Troth's experiences in England and flashbacks to her adventures with Kyle in China, Putney contrives an awkward tale, dependant for its drama on Kyle's belief that he can never love again, and on Troth's fear of rejection by Kyle's family. Though the conflict rarely grips, the sex scenes are adequately steamy, and Putney provides plenty of atmospheric details. (Aug.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Picking up the story of the "irresponsible twin" from The Wild Child (LJ 8/99), Putney's latest historical sweeps its adventure-seeking hero to the other side of the globe and into the narrow, conflicted life of Troth Mei-Lian Montgomery, an orphaned Eurasian daughter of a Scottish trader, with dangerous, passionate, and life-changing results. A master at creating unusual, sympathetic characters in compelling relational situations, Putney takes a woman caught between two worlds and a British peer who has vowed never to marry again and sends them on a forbidden journey that not only challenges their preconceptions about life and each other but eventually brings them love as well. Smoothly integrated references to the ancient practices of tai chi, feng shui, and wing chun add interest and authenticity to this highly sensual, emotionally involving romance, which also addresses a number of women's and ethnic issues still relevant today. This elegantly written work is sure to join Putney's earlier novels in most library romance collections. Putney is a best-selling RITA Award winner and lives in Baltimore. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780449005897
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
07/28/2001
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
448
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.85(d)

Read an Excerpt

Shropshire, England December 1832

She hadn’t expected it to be so cold. Troth Montgomery shivered as she stepped from the shabby hired carriage, pulling her cloak more closely against the bitter December wind. She’d known that Britain lay far to the north, but a life spent in the tropics had left her ill-prepared for this bone-chilling climate.

Though she had yearned to reach the end of her long journey, now she was frightened at the prospect of meeting these strangers. Delaying, she asked the driver, “This is really Warfield Park? It is not what I expected.”

He hacked a cough into his gloved hand. “Aye, it’s Warfield, right enough.” He hauled out her single carpetbag, dropped it onto the driveway beside her, then wheeled his horses to make a fast return to his home in Shrewsbury.

As the carriage rumbled past her, she caught a glimpse of herself in the window. Though she wore a sober navy blue gown, the most respectable and English-looking garment she owned, the reflection she saw was still hopelessly ugly, her dark hair and Oriental eyes blatantly foreign.

But she could not turn back. Lifting her carpetbag, she trudged up the steps of the sprawling, gabled structure. In summer the gray stones might appear mellow and warm, but in winter twilight, Warfield looked stark and unwelcoming. She didn’t belong here—she didn’t belong anywhere.

She shivered again, this time not from the wind. The owners of this house would not welcome her news, but surely, for Kyle’s sake, she would be granted a bed for the night, if nothing else.

Reaching the door, she banged the massive knocker, which was shaped like a falcon’s head. After a long wait, the door was opened by a uniformed footman. His brows arched at what had turned up on his doorstep. “The servants’ entrance is on the other side of the house.”

His scorn made her raise her head in a show of defiance. “I am here to see Lord Grahame, on behalf of his brother,” she said icily, her accent at its most Scottish.

Grudgingly he admitted her to the hall. “Your card?”

“I haven’t got one. I have been . . . traveling.”

Plainly the footman wanted to throw her out, but didn’t quite dare. “Lord Grahame and his wife are dining. You shall have to wait here until they are done. When his lordship is free, whom shall I say is calling?”

Her numb lips could barely form the name that did not seem as if it really belonged to her. “Lady Maxwell has arrived. His brother’s wife.”

The footman’s eyes widened. “I shall inform him immediately.”

As the servant hastened away, Troth pulled her cloak about her and paced the unheated hall, almost ill with nerves. Would the brother have her whipped when he heard? Great lords had been known to pun-ish the carriers of bad news.

She would have bolted from the house and taken her chances with the evil northern winter, but in her head she could still hear his rasping voice: Tell my family, Mei-Lian. They must know of my death. Though Kyle Renbourne, tenth Viscount Maxwell, had some fondness for her, she didn’t doubt that his ghost would haunt her if she failed to perform his last request.

Bracing herself, she pulled off her gloves to expose the Celtic knotwork ring that Kyle had given her, since it was the only evidence of her claims.

Steps sounded behind her. Then an eerily familiar voice asked, “Lady Maxwell?”

She turned and saw that a man and woman had entered the hall. The woman was as petite as a Cantonese, but with a glorious sweep of silvery blond hair that was striking even in this land of foreign devils. The woman returned Troth’s stare, her expression curious as a cat’s, but not hostile.

The man spoke again. “Lady Maxwell?”

Troth tore her gaze from the woman to look at him. Her blood drained away, leaving her chilled to the marrow. It wasn’t possible. The man was lean and well built, with chiseled features and striking blue eyes. Waving brown hair, a hint of cleft in his chin, an air of natural authority. The face of a dead man. It wasn’t possible.

That was her last, dizzy thought before she fainted dead away.

Chapter 1

Macao, China February 1832

Kyle Renbourne, tenth Viscount Maxwell, concealed his impatience as he politely greeted dozens of members of Macao’s European community who had gathered to meet an honest-to-God lord. Then, his social duty done, he slipped outside to the veranda so he could contemplate the last, best adventure that would begin the next morning.

The sprawling house stood high on one of South China’s steep hills. Below, a scattering of lights defined the sweep of Macao around the eastern harbor. An exotic little city at the southeastern corner of the Pearl River estuary, Macao had been founded by the Portuguese, the only European power to find favor with the Chinese.

For almost three centuries the enclave had been home to merchants and missionaries and a rare mixing of races. Kyle had enjoyed his visit. But Macao wasn’t really China, and he was eager to be on his way to Canton.

He leaned against the railing, enjoying the cool breeze on his face. Perhaps it was his imagination, but the wind seemed scented with unknown spices and ancient mysteries, beckoning him to the land he’d dreamed of since he was a boy.

His host, friend, and partner, Gavin Elliott, came through the shuttered doors. “You look like a child on Christmas Eve, ready to burst with anticipation.”

“You can afford to be casual about sailing to Canton tomorrow. You’ve been doing it for fifteen years. This is my first visit.” Kyle hesitated before adding, “And probably my last.”

“So you’re going back to England. You’ll be missed.”

“It’s time.” Kyle thought of the years he’d spent in travel, moving ever eastward. He’d seen the Great Mosque of Damascus and walked the hills where Jesus had preached. He’d explored India from the brilliantly colored south to the wild, lonely mountains of the northwest. Along the way, he’d had his share of adventures, and survived disasters that might have left his younger brother heir to the family earldom—and wouldn’t Dominic have hated that! He’d also lost the angry edge that had marked him when he was younger, and about time, since he’d be thirty-five at his next birthday. “My father’s health has been failing. I don’t want to risk returning too late.”

“Ah. Sorry to hear that.” Gavin pulled out a cigar and struck a light. “When Wrexham is gone, you’ll be too busy as an earl to roam the far corners of the globe.”

Meet the Author

A New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly bestselling author, Mary Jo Putney is a graduate of Syracuse University with degrees in eighteenth-century literature and industrial design. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including two Romance Writers of America RITA Awards, four consecutive Golden Leaf awards for Best Historical Romance, and the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Historical Romance. Her books have also received frequent awards from online reader sites such as The Romance Reader, All About Romance, Romance Readers Anonymous, and Under the Covers Awards. The author of twenty-four novels, Ms. Putney lives in Baltimore, Maryland.

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The China Bride 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 30 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
East meets west in the love story of Troth Mei Lian Montgomery and Kyle Renbourne (Lord Maxwell). After thoroughly enjoying The Wild Child, by Mary Jo Putney, I could not wait to read the second installment in this trilogy. This is a romantic, action-packed tale entwined with Chinese ways of thinking and learning. Kyle is heir to his family¿s earldom and wealth but he is a restless, passionate man (yes, handsome, too) who longs to see the world. Troth is half Chinese and half Scottish. Up until she agrees to lead Kyle to a temple forbidden to Westerners, she has lived most of her life disguised as a man. She yearns to live life as a woman and visit her father¿s native country, Scotland. Skilled in a from of martial arts, Troth becomes historical romance¿s first female action heroine as she defeats many men while they attempt to attack and kill Kyle. She also uses these skills to entice Kyle. Both characters have a goal in mind and as the saying goes; it is not the destination, but the journey. Their journey is beautiful. So is Mary Jo Putney¿s writing! Her journey of researching and the result, the story, are magical. An added bonus is that the reader is allowed to catch up on Kyle¿s twin brother, Dominic, and his bride, Lady Meriel from The Wild Child about five years after their tale. The hero of The Bartered Bride, Gavin Eliot is also introduced. Thank you, Mary Jo! This trilogy is a cherished part of my collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's a shame that the writing isn't better. The prose was predictable, simplistic, with phrases often repeated. If I hadn't read Bronte, Austin, or Arthur Golden among many others: I might think the quality of writing is acceptable......but I have...so I don't. Save your time and read a classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have a love hate relationship with this book. You know from the beginning that the lead male character dies however this in no way diminishes the grief the reader feels upon his death. Up to this point the book shows the potential for greatness unfortunately the remainder of the book becomes a typical romance novel. It felt as if at this point someone told the author to change direction to make this a more commercial book. I still highly recommend this book if for nothing more than to understand the China/English trade relationship. I hope one day Putney will decide to rewrite this book allowing the voice of the initial pages to carry throughout the entire book.
Verylate More than 1 year ago
A great story! I love MJP!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. The characters were so endearing, and the adventure made me want to keep reading. This author is good at making a historical romance a little more than expected. Can't wait to read the next one.
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period-reader More than 1 year ago
After reading some other reviews I wasn't sure if I should bother. I'm glad I did. It was an enjoyable tour through China and I especially found the explanations of the various religions to be simplistic enough to understand and appreciate.
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