Review: A Wild Hope, by Celeste de Blasis

book coverSynopsis

Banished from her uncaring family home for her growing friendship with older neighbor St. John, Alexandria Thaine is unprepared for the new life she encounters with her distant cousins in England’s West Country. She blossoms under the warmth of the Falconers, and as she throws herself into the thrilling danger of the family’s smuggling trade, Alex forms an unbreakable bond with the eldest son, Rane.

But just as Alex begins to imagine a future in Devon with Rane at her side, the death of her older sister forces her back home to care for her sister’s motherless twins. Still yearning for Rane, Alex grows to love the helpless babies, and as she rekindles her friendship with St. John, she finds herself caught between her heart and her home.

When the opportunity comes to start anew in Maryland’s lush horse country, Alex faces the agonizing choice between the life she dreamed of and the promise of the new world. But starting over in a golden land on the brink of war brings unforeseen dangers to her door, and when Alex’s new family is threatened, can she find the strength to risk her happiness today for the wild hope of a brighter tomorrow?

The sweeping, epic and emotional novel by beloved storyteller Celeste De Blasis, available in eBook for the first time. Perfect for readers who love Poldark, Outlander and Daphne du Maurier.

A Wild Hope was originally published as Wild Swan.

Review

Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher, the words and opinions below are my own.

I always find it interesting to see audience recommendations for a book, as it reminds me of my contrary nature. Outlander? Never read it. Same with the Poldark series. Haven’t seen any of the television adaptions either. I HAVE read Daphne du Maurier, one book to be exact – Rebecca – and I’ve seen the classic 1940 Hitchcock-directed movie. So, what made me accept an assignment to read and review A Wild Hope? The answer is that I simply liked the sound of the plot. While I was reading it, I decided it had a touch of Thomas Hardy to it, and John Jakes too, perhaps. (I read and watched North and South as a teenager, thanks to Patrick Swayze.)

A Wild Heart is a massive story. It covers two continents and 18 years and has a long list of characters, both human and equine. I don’t know that I was prepared for how much of an epic it was, but that doesn’t mean it was difficult to read. Could it have been shorter? Possibly. I’ve read that de Blasis would do extensive research for her books and, at times, it feels like she didn’t want to leave anything out. Therefore, we get paragraphs of background information to help with the scene. But do readers need an explanation of the Missouri Compromise? Sure, Maryland has a complicated history when it comes to slavery and, yes, the issue is a feature of the second half of the book. But does that mean the Missouri Compromise had to be included? Having said all that, I loved the description of the Devon village where Alex lived with the Falconer family. I had to look up Clovelly online, and was enchanted by what I found.

Fair warning to regular readers of my reviews: this isn’t my usual reading material. It isn’t a clean or sweet historical romance. There are several graphic sex scenes. There’s also a scene about the, er, mechanics, of horse breeding. Did the book need these? Not necessarily, in my opinion. Does that make me prudish? You know how I said I read Jakes’ North and South when I was a teenager? I was thirteen. I could quote chunks of it to my school friends, and it wasn’t the battle scenes I was quoting!

If it sounds like I didn’t like this book, think again. A Wild Heart is a five-star read. I loved it. I bawled my eyes out at the end. De Blasis pulled me in and made me invest in the lives of the characters, from Alex and Rane, to St John (not a character I initially liked), to the people with whom they worked. This is an epic novel and holds up well despite first being published in the 1980s.

Product Information

Publisher: Bookouture (an imprint of Storyfire)

Publication Date: 05 October 2020

Book Information    (Amazon link)

author headshotAuthor Information

Millions of readers have fallen under the spell of the lush, enthralling and bestselling novels by Celeste De Blasis. Tales of adventure and romance set against the sweep of history—all are storytelling at its finest. After graduating from Pomona College, Celeste devoted her life to impeccable research and spellbinding writing. A native Californian, Celeste grew up on the historic Kemper Campbell Ranch in the Mojave Desert, where she lived until her death in 2001.

 

 

About Sally M

I'm all about books, history, rail trails, craft beer and wine, and dogs! I'm a Partner with Trades of Hope: my paid job empowers women around the world out of poverty, helping them raise their families, and rebuild their lives after abuse and human trafficking. We can change the world. We can be each other's neighbor.
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