Monday, April 13, 2015

New Review: Jennifer Wilde’s ONCE MORE MIRANDA – Superb storytelling with great historical detail and a Scot in 18th Century London

Set in England in the mid 18th century, just after Culloden when the Scots were brutally hunted down and killed by the Duke of Cumberland (“the most hated man in England, a bloodthirsty villain”), this is the story of Cameron (“Cam”) Gordon, a Scot who did not support the cause because he believed it doomed to failure. But once the battle was over, he gave the proceeds of his successful career as a writer of fiction to his surviving relatives and to those Scots seeking vengeance on Cumberland.

While Cam is watching one of his cousins about to be hung at Tyburn, a street urchin—a young woman in rags—picks his friend’s pocket and Cam is determined to see the miscreant brought to justice. But his friend urges restraint, reminding Cam he needs a maid. And that is how Miranda James became Cam’s bondservant—for seven years.

Miranda was born the daughter of a nobleman but a dire set of circumstances left her an orphan and living on the streets of St. Giles. Miranda speaks like the poor thief she is. But before her educated mother died, she taught Miranda to read and write and love Shakespeare. Cam, who has become a writer of thriller stories, treats Miranda harshly, demanding she work hard and keep his house. He never questions why it is she speaks like a guttersnipe but is intelligent and well read.

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Wilde paints a vivid picture of 18th century London, the politics, the condition of the poor and the life of the theater and the rich. Miranda will rise through it all and thrive. You can see his research woven through every page in this well-told story. I loved it. Of course, despite the face Cam and Miranda become lovers, there is no mention of love or marriage by him and (because this sis a Wilde story), no pregnancy when they become lovers.

A great adventure with incredible depth and attention to detail. A very worthy classic. If you miss the depth (and length) of the older romances, this one's for you. Highly recommended.

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