Saturday, October 29, 2016

Susan Wiggs - The Hostage

Deborah Sinclair is a beautiful, accomplished young heiress with a staggering dowry. But her fortune does her no good when, one horrible night, Chicago is engulfed in flames.
Tom Silver will walk through fire to avenge a terrible injustice and he may have to. But when he makes Deborah a pawn in his revenge, the heat of the inferno fades next to the attraction he feels for his captive. And the further he takes her from everything she's known, the stronger their passion grows, until it threatens to consume them both. 

Comment: This is the first installment of the Great Chicago Fire trilogy by the author. I've read other books by the author before and enjoyed them, so I got the trilogy and, in my usual style, I'm reading it one book a month.

In this book we meet Deborah Sinclair, a young heiress who already has an engagement with Phillip Ascot, a man from one of the most important families in America. But when we meet Deborah, she isn't feeling well, she has doubts about her future marriage and she wants to discuss it with her father. Sadly, that was the day where the great fire started and everyone knows how deeply affected countless people were because of that.
In the confusion of escaping the fire, Deborah is separated from her father, a man tries to kill him but ends up kidnapping Deborah instead. What happens next is an adventure, something that Deborah cherishes even when things are complicated. But can Deborah find justice and happiness?

While reading this novel, I was impressed by its interesting descriptions which tells me the author did a good research job in finding details to show us how dire things were but it wasn't to the point where this would look like an history book.
Then, the plot moves to another location and the interesting descriptions of the fishing village were quite impressive as well. I think that, overall, in terms of location and description, the work was well done. I don't think it was perfect because certain passages seem to have been developed a little too much.

Of course the main interest in the story are the main characters, Deborah and Tom.
Deborah is a rich heiress but we learn when the book starts that she isn't feeling well and it's more a emotional things rather than physical. I kind of guessed what happened to her at some point, I mean, the clues are all there but I have to say I expected more in terms of reaction. Yes, times were others and women had a different take on what their behavior should be like, but still...
My favorite scenes with Deborah were when they action was set on the island and she acted like any other women...the sense of freedom was quite interesting to see on her.

Tom is a mysterious character, even after we learn all his secrets or things about his past. His behavior throughout the novel is well explained and his sense of honor doesn't shake even when he is committed to o something so wrong. Thankfully, he never goes ahead with it. His actions towards Deborah aren't as bad as one might think because he never hurt her physically or caused her any kind of harm. I liked how his emotional state evolved and it was quite sweet to see him fall in love.

The romance was sweet too and when they finally acted on their feelings, not before they talked and communicated, it was great to see them together. Too bad that until a certain point, things didn't seem all that good and they didn't think about the other, romantically I mean, that long and then, they were being intimate. I think a smoother transition would have made the book better.

The plot that makes them meet, be together, that makes Tom consider Deborah a hostage in the first place isn't something memorable in my opinion. Sure, it has merit and so on but...not that vital to me and then with the lengthy descriptions that didn't always add much to the plot moves... This was a good book, slightly above average but still not the best romance ever.

I liked the HEA, of course and I liked the little hints about other characters, not that we see much of them, but I'm curious to see them have their own story as well. I liked how things worked out at the end, but the lack of  fluid transitions, too many descriptions at time and a plot that didn't always convince me, makes me have enjoyed the book, especially the romance, but I don't think I'll remember this forever.
Still, a great effort by the author.
Grade: 7/10


  1. I read this a million years ago (back when it was first published!) and loved it. It was my first book by Susan Wiggs and I was hooked. I also really, really loved the third book in this series - but in true Wendy fashion waited YEARS before I read the 2nd book (which didn't work as well for me - maybe because too much time had passed?).

    Anyway, I have this interesting problem with Wiggs' series. There's always one or two books that I LOVE (!!), and one or two books that I basically DNF. The most recent example for me was her Calhoun series. 5 books. Strongly liked or loved 3 of the them, DNF'ed the other two.

    1. I liked the Calhouns but I agree...some just weren't as powerful...and none matched the first in terms of plot/character's development.

      As for this one, it was good but I always imagined what I'd change. I will read the next later on this month and the third in december. I hope I'll like them all :)