Saturday, December 3, 2011

Guest Review - - To Wed a Wild Lord

To Wed a Wild Lord
By Sabrina Jeffries
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: November 22, 2011

Hetty Plumtree is determined to see her five grandchildren married within a year. Knowing their reluctance to find a mate and settle down, she has threatened them all with disinheritance as a means of pushing them into matrimony. She has been successful with Oliver (The Truth About Lord Stoneville), Jarret (A Hellion in Her Bed), and Minerva (How To Woo a Reluctant Lady). Now it’s Gabriel’s turn.

Nearly seven years ago, Gabriel’s friend Roger Waverly died in a horse race with Gabriel. Since then, Gabriel has intensified the flirtation with death that dates back to his childhood. So daring is his dalliance with this reaper, a dalliance that always leaves Gabriel a breath away from mortality, that he has acquired the name the “Angel of Death.” But the combination of his guilt over his friend’s death, concern about his friend’s sister who will be left destitute when her grandfather dies, and worry over what will happen to his sharpshooter sister Celia if she persists in her determination never to wed prompt his decision to marry. And his chosen bride is Virginia Waverly.

Virginia Waverly has no interest in wedding this wild lord. She blames Lord Gabriel Sharpe for her brother’s death. She has already challenged him to a race on the same course where her brother perished. If she can win a race against Gabriel on that course, she believes it will humiliate Gabriel, end his reckless races, and allow her brother to rest in peace. But when they meet at a ball, Gabriel responds with a challenge of his own. He’ll race her on another course. If she wins that race, he’ll agree to race her on the infamous “thread the needle” course. If he wins their first race, she will agree to allow him to court her.

Sabrina Jeffries’s greatest gift as a writer is creating characters who come alive for the reader. She surpasses herself with Gabriel and Virginia. On the surface, Gabriel is a wild, young lord who loves risks and is arrogant enough to think himself invincible. But Gabriel is far more than this conventional pose. He is a man who has suffered great loss at a vulnerable age when he first discovered death was the enemy who always won and determined to fight him anyway. He’s also a man capable of great love for his family and for the woman who can capture his heart. Virginia too is unconventional—intelligent, competent, and capable of sacrifice.

I’m not a big fan of the I-hate-him/I-love-him trope. Too often authors use this theme and the book becomes a senseless seesaw of emotional swings with little attention devoted to character development. Jeffries avoids that trap. The chemistry between Gabriel and Virginia is strong. But more significantly, they develop individually and as a couple. They both grow, and by the end of the story, they know not only one another but themselves better that they did when the story began.

One of my favorite scenes occurs when Gabriel’s words reveal his understanding of who Virginia is and all she does:

“Who wouldn’t want to make you happy?” he choked out. “You… well, you make them all somehow… find the strength to be better than they are.” She did that to him as well, but he’d swallow gunpowder before he’d admit it. “You make do with the staff you have and you do it brilliantly. Devonmont doesn’t see that or care. He’s used to having everything work out as it should, so he doesn’t notice that what goes on in this house is your doing.”

The secondary characters are also strong. I’ve been interested in the relationships between Hetty and her grandchildren and among the Sharpe siblings since the series began. In To Wed a Wild Lord, I was also interested in Virginia’s relationship with her grandfather, her cousin, and her dead brother. And Hetty’s relationship with Virginia’s grandfather delighted me.

I’ve eagerly followed the Hellions of Halstead Hall since the first book, and while I think this fourth book can be read as a standalone, I think it is a much more rewarding read for those who know the siblings’ stories and have followed through successive books the unraveling of the mystery surrounding the deaths of their parents. A Lady Never Surrenders, the story of Celia Sharpe and the fascinating Bow Street runner Jackson Pinter—and the conclusion to the mystery, is scheduled for release January 24, 2012. I have it starred on my book calendar, my shorthand for reminding myself that this is another must-not-miss Sabrina Jeffries book.



  1. for sabrina's book, i prefer wait the translation book and hope this book will be publish in my country soon ;)

  2. The title alone tells me I will love TO WED A WILD LORD.

  3. Thanks, Janga! You eloquently captured exactly how I felt after reading this book. Like you, I'm counting down the days until the release of Celia's story, A Lady Never Surrenders (the final book in the series) on January 24th!

  4. What a terrific review of this great novel. I've heard quite a lot about it and I really look forward to reading it. One thing that caught my eye here is that the characters do not get into that "tit for tat" seesaw of emotions. That can be almost exhausting to keep up with in a book. Sabrina Jeffries is an amazing author who has earned her accolades. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I have really been loving this series and I will be so sad when it ends. That is my one and only issue with series, the author eventually has to move on and by that time the characters have become old friends......LOL

  6. Janga, thanks so much for the lovely review--I'm delighted to hear that Gabe and Virginia touched your heart! It's readers like y'all who enrich my life.

  7. Thanks for the great review, Janga! Sabrina's books are on my keeper shelves.

  8. I have read Ms. Jeffries' books and the Hellion series are by far the best. Each book is great for the individual story. However, as Janga wrote, there is the issue of the hellions' parents' murder spread along the whole series which makes you squirm until you get to the end of it. I definitely agree with Janga & PJ. From his siblings' points-of-view and his representation in the previous books, Gabriel is show as a carefree man taking to recklessness. However, Ms. Jeffries brings a soft, human side of him which makes him by far my favourite Sharpe.

  9. I just finished reading this and absolutely loved it. I can't wait for Celia's story to see who she ends up with.

    Sabrina's books rock!!!

  10. Love Sabrina's books! They are great reads and re-reads! If you have never read the School for Heiresses series or Swanlea Spinsters series you are missing out on some amazing stories. No one can write dialogue like Sabrina and the things those sexy rakes say make my toes curl :)

  11. Great review, Janga! I've read this book and loved it. You really did it justice. I agree with you on the push/pull. If it isn't handled well it comes across as inconsistency rather than conflict, but it works well here.

  12. I absolutely love Sabrina Jeffries' books. I have not read this one yet but must get it.

  13. This book is next up on my TBR pile. I have all the books in this series so far. I'm just waiting for the last one, Celia's book.
    Sabrina Jeffries is one author I try and keep up with.
    Thank you for another great review Janga!

  14. Thanks for all the kind words about the review. I love reviewing books that leave me eager to recommend them to everyone, and TWAWL certainly falls into that category. It's a wonderful read.

  15. Another terrific review, Janga, you never dissapoint, and I completely agree on disliking the I-hate-him/I-love-him trope. They make me want to smack some sense into those characters and tell them to get with the program!

    I have been reading Sabrina's Hellions series and have enjoyed it so "To Wed a Wild Lord" is next up on my list right after I finish my Book Club book.

    I like the way she brought back a secondary character from The last Heiresses book "Wed Him Before Kou Bed Him." Giles, Viscount Kirkwood's brother, was a real rat in that book, but he redeems himself in "To Woo a Reluctant Lady."

  16. Thanks for the review, Janga! I'm looking forward to reading this one.