Reviewed by: Rachel
On 8 October 1871 the city of Chicago is burned almost to the ground as a stray spark is fanned into an inferno by the wind. Suddenly in the confusion rich and poor are thrown together as they flee the flames and fortunes are lost and gained in a single night. Deborah Sinclair has just turned up at her father’s mansion to tell him that she doesn’t want to marry her fiancé when they are confronted by a man neither of them have ever seen before who tries to kill her father and when he fails kidnaps her instead. On Isle Royale, Tom Silver’s adopted son Asa and many other inhabitants of the close-knit community have been killed when an unsafe mine belonging to Arthur Sinclair blew up. Since then he has lived only for vengeance but instead of killing his enemy he has his daughter instead, a rich, pampered heiress who knows nothing of life in the real world.
This is the first in a trilogy about Deborah, her maid (whose family are thought to have started the fire unwittingly) and her finishing school friends. Wiggs is a practised storyteller at the peak of her powers and the tale roams from the confusion in Chicago to the long river journey and the misty, self-sufficient wilds of Isle Royale. Deborah gets to know the folk of the island and discover her own true self during her captivity and I for one enjoyed reading about her blossoming relationship with the moody Silver. A most enjoyable romance which is no groundbreaker or model of originality but since when has that stood in the way of an entertaining story well told? I will certainly be looking out for the next part of the trilogy.