The executioner wondered why so many women had come to watch the priest die.
With those words, Susan Wiggs sweeps us back to 1658, and the infamous gallows at Tyburn and into the life of John Wesley Hawkins, failed priest, reluctant Roundhead supporter and devoted father to a young daughter whom Oliver Cromwell holds prisoner. In short, a book boyfriend if ever there was one, a man of faith and reason, with a strong moral compass, a belief in love, and a willingness to do whatever it takes to protect those he considers his own.
She had cast a spell for her lover and had conjured a renegade Englishman. Caitlin McBride, de facto (and later official) leader of her sept, proud Irishwoman and protector of all that is hers, cannot deny that her clever brain and iron will exist alongside a heart that yearns for love. With a touch of Irish magic, Caitlin plucks a rose and makes a wish, pining for the dashing Spaniard who claimed her heart for years ago. It’s not her beloved Alonso who appears, but the infuriating, enigmatic Wesley.
First published as The Mist and The Magic in 1992, The Maiden of Ireland, revised for its current release, takes readers on a journey to a time and place perfectly suited for a tumultuous romance worthy of legend. Caitlin is fierce, proud, strong and intelligent, a natural leader of her people…and of the Fianna, the band of Irish rebels Oliver Cromwell h as ordered Wesley to stop at any cost.
The chemistry between Wesley and Caitlin crackles and leaps off the page. The two are drawn to each other, even though it’s clear they have no place in each other’s worlds. Even so, the attraction and growing bond between the two is undeniable, and with a hero like Wesley, who can blame Caitlin?
The rich colors of the rising sun mantled him, picking out pure gold highlights in his hair and softening the lines of his smile. She would always remember him this way, with his back to the sun and its rays fanning out around him.
That’s quite an impression Wesley makes, and it’s true, he’s a beautiful man, but what surpasses his physical appeal—and lovers of ginger heroes, Wesley is definitely your guy—is his passionate heart and the soul of a true poet, because this man can talk, leaving no doubt at all that he could have made a magnificent priest if certain circumstances had gone differently.
“I would forfeit the very surety of my soul to be the man who brings that look upon your face.”
Once Wesley admits he’s fallen for Caitlin—and he really, really doesn’t want to fall in love with her—this man goes all in, loving Caitlin for exactly who and what she is. Wesley is a man willing to go the extra mile to do what’s best for those he loves, and when it comes down to choosing between two mutually exclusive actions that would benefit one of his loved ones, but not the other, what’s a true hero to do? Pick a third option, of course, and Wesley doesn’t disappoint. His dark moment is dark indeed, but even that can’t keep this hero down, and his reunion with his beloved Caitlin will long remain in readers’ memories.
This is a historical romance with strong elements of both, bound together by slender thread of Irish magic that could be legend or perhaps something else. For those who have never tried Wiggs’ shistorical romances, this standalone reissue is a great place to start. For those who’ve been missing the rich tapestry that Wiggs can weave in times gone by, The Maiden of Ireland is exactly what the doctor ordered. Rich, romantic, and magical, this is a book—and a book boyfriend—to make readers think, feel and step into another age.
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Anna C. Bowling considers writing historical romance the best way to travel through time and make the voices in her head pay rent. She welcomes visitors to her blog, Typing with Wet Nails and to follow her at Twitter.