Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Review: Lady Wild by Maire Claremont (e-novella)

Lady Wild: A Wicked Games Novella by Maire Claremont
Click here to buy the book on Amazon

I've always believed that, when someone you love dies, a piece of you dies with that person as well. That is the case of Maire Claremont's heroine, Ophelia, who is facing the inevitability of her mother's death. It is the latest tragedy in a series of tragedies that has defined Ophelia's life in the past three years:
1. Her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her and her mother at the mercy of her stepbrother
2. Who disowns them
3. Then her mother falls ill and is dying

With each blow, Ophelia watches her life crumble into pieces, as her former life fades into memory and their friends abandon them. Now her own mother is about to leave her, and Ophelia just wants to escape it.

It is unusual that Ophelia happens to be standing in freezing water, contemplating life and death, when she meets Andrew, the man that would bring her back to life again -- more unusual still, that Andrew is also just living a half-life, his heart long frozen by his parents' indifference, distance, and death in a faraway land.

And the person who would lead our hero and heroine out of the shadows, would be Ophelia's dying mother.

Ophelia is aptly named, considering all the misfortune that has fallen on her little family, and she's on the verge of breaking under the strain of it all -- the last straw being her mother's coming death. Claremont never specifies what Lady Darlington is suffering from, and, while the curious in me wanted to find out, I realised that it didn't matter -- because, when you meet Ophelia's mother, you realise that it is not her illness that defines her. She's such an amazing, amazing woman and such a great mother to Ophelia.

"Bugger appropriate." Lady Darlington shook her head, as if disappointed in him. "I can see that you are hardly an appropriate man, despite your title. And though my sight may be failing me, I do see the way you look at her."

"And seeing this, you would still have me take her?" he scoffed. "You are asking for your daughter's ruination."

"No," she corrected. "I am asking for her liberation from this poor prison. When I die, she will have nothing."
- Chapter 3

The situation is unusual, and one might say that no mother would offer up their daughter to a complete stranger -- but, desperate times call for desperate measures.

When Andrew walks into Ophelia and Lady Darlington's life right when it was crumbling apart -- it's something Andrew went through and something he wouldn't wish anyone else to suffer through. Andrew didn't make his decision on a whim, and he still had doubts about his plan even when it was underway -- I loved this about him. I loved his fallibility and I love how he struggled with the very human part of him.

I enjoyed the love story between Andrew and Ophelia, which has some strains of a Cinderella story, complete with a (fairy god)mother. While it seems that the hero is doing all the rescuing, that he has the upper hand in this relationship, he is also being saved by Ophelia and her mother. From their first meeting, you know that these two would have a great relationship. They have attraction and they have chemistry -- and they have honesty.

"Are you like Ophelia's Hamlet, then? A prince?"

"Come away from the river, and I shall make myself known."

"Ah, but he betrayed her in the end," she countered. "I am most likely safer in the river."

A distinctly sober look darkened his eyes. "Perhaps, but in betraying her he threw away any chance at happiness he ever had. For what? To avenge the death of his father? He should have chosen Ophelia."
- Chapter 1

Reading Claremont's Lady Wild made me realize the value of setting: we seem to have lumped books into Regency, or Victorian, etc -- but Claremont sets her novella against a very interesting time during the Victorian period: the rise of the Romantics/pre-Raphaelites, and it is something that manifests itself in the language and ideas of the characters in the story. It made me realise and appreciate how a particular time/month/season/event would affect characters in a story.

Setting is more than just setting in Lady Wild: Ophelia's entire story typifies the Romantic sensibility. She seemed a bit dramatic and her need to escape her life is very strong. It was a pervasive emotion during this particular time.

While the focus of the story is on death, the point of the story is to celebrate life and to live it to the fullest. This is a story with heart and soul, and tears. Lots of all three, and Maire Claremont expresses them so eloquently.

Lady Wild introduces Maire Claremont's new Wicked Games series. To find out more about Maire and her books, click below:


  1. Marvelous review, Tin! I loved this book...so heartbreaking and yet so uplifting.



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