THE WILD CHILD by Mary Jo Putney


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Twins seem to be the newest romance fashion. Here, in bestselling Putney’s hardcover debut, they—re Dominic and Kyle Renbourne, sons of the Earl of Wrexham. In need of a favor from his estranged twin, Kyle (the heir) offers Dominic (the spare) the deed to an estate if he will woo an heiress in his place. Kyle is taking his dying mistress back to her homeland, Spain, and the courtship must be a fait accompli before he returns. Dominic agrees simply because, as the second son, he isn—t entitled to inherit a home of his own. The proposed bride, daughter of another earl, is Lady Meriel Grahame, who lives cloistered on a beautiful estate she never leaves. Watched over by her friend, mentor, and protector Kamal (wrongly believed to be a eunuch), Lady Meriel appears to be not quite all there—presumably as a result of having survived the murder of her parents and her own capture by bandits in India. She speaks to anyone. She discerns the people around her by seeing the colors of their auras. She spends her days drawing henna-colored mehndi on her friends, watching over an assortment of sweet animals, and maintaining a large, complicated set of gardens. Dominic, who’s good (naturally) with children, animals, and strange, frightened women, slowly develops a relationship with Meriel, serving as a cross between suitor and therapist. But when he realizes he’s fallen in love with her, he’s in a pickle: he has no fortune, he’s supposed to be a surrogate for his brother, and she’s threatened with incarceration in an asylum. Putney provides a lot of detail about psychiatric hospitals of the Regency period as she manipulates the plot toward its inevitable happy ending. The working-out of family and emotional problems doesn—t seem enough to give this story needed spice, and the sudden, melodramatic addition of a villain is a bit slapdash.

Pub Date: Aug. 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-345-43315-7
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 1999


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