by Catherine Palmer

March 2004
ISBN: 0-8423-1928-X
Reviewer Graphic Button Heart Quest
Trade Paperback

The Chatham and Thorne families, once the best of friends, have now been feuding for centuries over a simple land dispute. Anything that goes wrong in either family, even the most innocent of events, is blamed on the other family, setting off a string of retributions. Olivia Hewes, a Chatham, has been struggling to make ends meet in their wool-producing venture. Her father is dead, her mother constantly drunk, and her brother, a simpleton. Not certain God even hears her prayers, she still makes her mandatory appearances in church every Sunday. But one Sunday a terrible thing happens—a Thorne treads on the hem of her dress, ripping it completely away from the bodice!

Lord Randolph Sherbourne, heir to the Thorne domain, is horrified that a lady should suffer so at his mistake. Even though his family urges him to let it go, to consider it punishment for his father’s recent death, Randolph feels he should apologize. The feud has gone on long enough in his opinion, and, fascinated by the lovely Miss Hewes, he’d like to see peace made between the families. But all attempts at friendship are rebuffed, thrown back in his face along with horrible insults against his family.

When Randolph discovers Olivia helping her brother fish, he discovers that the lye her family requires to wash the wool has been delayed. He is torn. To give her the lye she needs would be to go against everything his family believes —-yet it may be his one chance to achieve peace. Is there any hope at all that the Chatham and Thorne families will ever bridge the wild heather hedgerow barriers that separate much more than their land?

Wild Heather is an engaging book. Olivia struggles with God, wondering if He even cares or listens, something that at times I can relate to. I cried when she wondered why she even bothers to pray to a God who doesn’t seem to care. Randolph, on the other hand, wonders why the Chatham’s are said to be spawn of the devil, yet they profess to be Christian. His belief in God is strong and he feels God wants him to live peacefully with all men — including his neighbors. He is a strong, loveable hero that any romance reader will instantly fall in love with.

Even though Wild Heather is second in the series, it easily stands alone. Readers will probably want to read the first book, English Ivy, as well. The story is well-written and thoroughly engaging on every level. I laughed and cried as I read the pages of Wild Heather and found myself rooting for the characters to achieve their dreams despite the seemingly insurmountable odds.

Reviewed in February 2004 by Laura.

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