Margo Maguire
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Buy *Wild* by Margo Maguire online

Margo Maguire
384 pages
December 2008
rated 3 of 5 possible stars

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When the long-lost grandson of the Countess of Sutton is apparently discovered in Africa, he is brought back to England to take up his birthright as the Earl. However, when Anthony Maddox arrives in London, it becomes clear that he just wants to return to his home in the Congo and not have any part of life in 'civilization'.

Anthony is laboring under a misapprehension that his father didn't look for him when he was lost overboard a river vessel in Africa as a boy. As Anthony is taken to his grandmother's house and trained in polite behavior by his grandmother's companion, Grace Hawthorne, he works on his plan for revenge against the uncle who tipped him overboard all those years ago.

What Anthony wants - revenge and return to the Congo - isn't what his grandmother wants. And what does Grace want? Apparently a normal life in English society with a husband and children, not some wild half-savage from another continent. But as Anthony and Grace get to know each other, and Anthony settles back into life as an English nobleman, his plans might not quite go as he hopes.

Wild is a reasonable read, if one overlooks some plot improbabilities and historical lapses. I was entirely unconvinced that a man who had lived, since the age of 11, as a nomad in Africa could be 'brought up to scratch' for society in a month, let alone that he would have retained his English language skills. Grace isn't always easy to like, being part tease and part laced-up woman, and someone like her with minimal prospects attracting so many suitors seems unlikely. The author could have made more of the contrast between the supposed savagery of the Africans and the real savagery of English society toward people who don't quite fit in or who fail in some way to meet an arbitrary measure of behavior. This is a nonetheless pleasant enough read for those who enjoy a male version of My Fair Lady.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. Helen Hancox, 2009

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