Author: Jill Barnett
Review number: 15
Stand alone or series: Part of a three book series set on Medieval England: Wonderful, Wild and Wicked.
Summary: Shunned by superstitious villagers, Teleri of the Woods learned early that the world is a frightening place. For years she has lived hidden away in a dark forest, where her only friends are the creatures of the woods. But when she finds a gravely wounded knight, her sanctuary is safe no more.
With his legendary skills in war and diplomacy, Roger FitzAlan had been sent to establish a stronghold on the Welsh borderlands. Ambushed and left to die by an unknown enemy, Roger must now battle for more than his life — he must win the trust and love of the wild young woman who has every reason to fear him.
Roger knows he cannot live in Teleri’s world, and she is afraid of his. Once he recovers, Roger is determined to find the one who tried to kill him. And Teleri must choose whether to stay secluded with a broken heart — or to trust this powerful warrior who has threatened all she holds dear. Together they journey to a place where duty is everything, where a man’s honor — not his heart — must guide him. There, amid the dangerous secrets of the past, they will risk everything in search of a love that is forever.
Why did I read the book: I read book one of the series and thought it was wonderful.
After reading Wonderful I rushed to read Wild. Now I have to ask: what the hell just happened here? Why do I have the feeling that something went really wrong while Jill Barnett was writing this book? After reading three excellent, amazing books by her I found myself rather surprised at how things turned out on this one.
Roger FitzAlan, a favourite of King Edward is sent to Wales to build a castle in order to fortify the borders with England. What Roger doesn’t know is that Edward sent him this far away for his own protection. Turns out, Roger was having an affair with the love of his life, Elizabeth, under the misapprehension that she was a widow. But hey, her husband is alive and furious. She breaks up the affair leaving Roger with a broken heart.
Teleri of the Woods is a recluse, who lives, well, in the woods, aaaaaaaaall by herself except for her animal friends. She doesn’t like people and think that they are all mean and hurtful specially after seeing what they can do to the poor animals she rescues. She also has some sort of healing power that comes quite handy when she stumbles into Roger, who has been hanged and left for dead. She takes him to her cabin and nurtures him back to health. At first he cannot talk because of the bruises to his neck and throat and was quite shaken by the attack on his life. Until he is well enough to realise that she is hot and nice and pure and the true love of his life.
I liked Roger and Teleri well enough to care for them but I struggled with the way their story was told, all was so very confusing. I never truly understood why Teleri was living in the woods in the first place. She had a grandmother who was under the protection of Merrick (the hero from Wonderful and Roger’s best friend) and based on what we know of these characters, they would never let anything happen to her. I have no problem with heroines that are innocent or with the attempt at a paranormal element with her abilities to cure people or animals. That worked really well for Bewitching but somehow in Wild it was so random and I felt it was out of place. As for Roger, it was never clear to me, was he a carefree womaniser, as the previous book led us believe or was Elizabeth the love of his life. If she was the love of his life, how come within a few days of meeting Teleri, all of a sudden she was everything he dreamed of? Confusion, confusion.
But what made me really sad was the wasted potential. The feelings that Roger had after being attacked rang very true. He had a hard time accepting that he couldn’t talk for a while, no miraculous recovering here but mostly the fact that this mighty warrior felt real fear for the first time in his life, and was afraid of venturing out of the forest. It is not usual to see a Knight in a medieval romance feeling like this. So that was quite refreshing.
Other glimpses of what could have been Great came more than 2/3 into the story when Merrick comes to visit – there in one scene where Roger and him try to bake bread to feed a recovering Teleri which had me in stitches it was so funny and when they moved to his father’s castle the scenes there were pretty cool too – until the person who tried to kill Roger appears out of freaking NOWHERE and I was back to being confused.
The premise was as good as in the other books, the hero was a character I had interest in after reading about him in Wonderful. Basically, I had high hopes. Which were sort of, well, crushed. Is it very wrong of me to feel a bit betrayed by Jill Barnett? For I have come to expect great things from her, laughter and tears, hilarity and warmth and I had very little of this with this book. Oh well, I guess everyone is entitled to a day off.
For what I can gather, Wicked is a much better instalment. I will not give up on this series yet!
Notable quotes/ Parts: I loved to have a glimpse of Merrick and Clio and how she is still trying to create the Heather Ale behind his back. Great stuff.
Additional thoughts: The historical background was the English conquest of Wales by Edward I. A complicated matter that caused deaths and struggles which ended with the permanent defeat of the Welsh princes. In order to appease the people though, Edward made a smart move of starting a tradition where the heir of England is invested with the title of Prince of Wales.
Edward built several stone castles on the borders to help maintain control and this is what Roger and Merrick are sent to do as they are Knights of Edward. Wales is to this date part of the United Kingdom and it all began in the 13th Century.
Verdict: I would say buy it only if you really are interested in learning about Roger FitzAlan after reading Wonderful. But hey, it is all a matter of personal opinion right? Maybe you will like it and if so would you let me know?
Rating: 5 meh. Take it or leave it. Not the best example of a good romance novel. Her other books are much much better. Give Bewitching a go.
Reading next: No rest for the wicked by Kresley Cole. Woohoo!!!