Cover Image: A Wild Hope (Wild Swan Trilogy Book 1)

A Wild Hope (Wild Swan Trilogy Book 1)

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Member Reviews

This book started off really well, I loved the heroines move to Clovelly, the initial struggles then the acceptance of  Rane's family and her love for them. The description of Clovelly and the smuggling were exciting and informative, the characters well described. The various misunderstandings and strong passions within the family were understandable and intriguing..
When out of family duty Alex moves back to Gravesend to help care for her dead sisters twins, the story to my mind gets a bit fanciful. Her saving of St.John and subsequent love were questionable followed by her meeting with Rane and the sexual encounters.
I got half way though and gave up as this is a very long book and the first of a trilogy.
Maybe better read on a beach holiday far away from Covid worries.
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This is book is number one of a trilogy and with 690 pages this really is an epic read! I turned my kindle on and it said reading time was over 20 hours. It took me longer than normal for me to read this book but it did hold my attention from the start to the end.

If you are looking for a well researched, sweeping saga spanning many years and two continents then look no further. This will appeal to lovers of historical fiction and would make a great netflix movie or mini series.

I wasn't over enamoured with the sex scenes or horsey content so I have marked it down one star, but that is just my opinion.  Having said that though, I am looking forward to reading the next two books in the series.
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I remember reading the original edition of this book, way back when. I believe it was my sister who introduced me to this author but I don't remember exactly. I enjoyed Wild Swan then and I enjoyed A Wild Hope now, though I do think the original title was better. If fits the story perfectly while the newer title is apt but less so. Hopefully the other books in the trilogy keep their original names or get better name changes. 

This first book in the Wild Swan trilogy was full of drama, angst, passion, action, politics, romantic drama, and gallons and gallons of family drama. Alexandria loves two men; no love triangle, she's a serial monogamist. I had forgotten how young she was when she married for the first time, maybe 14 or 14. It didn't bother me the first time I read it years ago, but did a bit this time around. Especially as there's an age gap between her and the first husband, roughly 10 years, maybe more. Most of the time I wasn't aware of their respective ages but then something would remind me and pull me out of the story. 

The story is long, almost 700 pages but so much happens that I was caught up. De Blasis wrote lovely descriptions and engaging characters who made me smile, laugh, curse, and tear up. I really liked Alexandria, Alex, the book's heroine. She is feisty, tender, independent, inquisitive, ferociously loyal, and both strong and vulnerable. She wants love and attention from her cold mother and negligent father and brothers but rarely receives any. Their actions, as well as one of Alex's, are what set events in motion and kick off the story. My heart broke for Alex and how her family treated her, and I loved her grandmother. She and Alex were quite similar, especially with their forceful personalities. Alex had a rough start in life, made some poor choices, but rarely pitied herself. Instead, she would dust herself off, and try again. She had the courage to dream, the discipline to make her dreams come true, and the flexibility to change dreams.

I liked both of Alex's loves and the challenges of each relationship were more than enough for a life time. A Wild Hope is romance, history lesson, soap opera, and family saga in one rich confection. I wasn't thrilled with the portrayal of a character who had some mental and emotional challenges. It lacked compassion and was heavy-handed, and of course that character was a bad person for having those challenges. They were villainous even. Many of the bad guys were over the top and not always fully fleshed out but even so, A Wild Hope was a wild ride that tugged at my heart and pulled me into its world. I am looking forward to more books by De Blasis being released in digital and hope that my favorite, The Tiger's Woman, will be re-released.
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A gloriously romantic epic from a legendary storyteller, Celeste de Blasis’s A Wild Hope is a lush, enthralling and immensely readable tale of forbidden passion, family strife and divided loyalties.

Alexandria Thane’s friendship with her older neighbour St John is causing much concern for her family. They simply cannot understand what could possibly draw young Alex to somebody who is so different from her. Determined to put some distance between the two of them, she is sent to the Falconer family in the West Country where she is completely and utterly unprepared for the warmth and affection being bestowed upon her which is far removed from the disdain and lack of care that had been so prevalent back home. When she learns about the family’s side line in smuggling, Alex throws herself fully into this dangerous enterprise – especially as it means spending more and more time with the family’s eldest son whom she is very drawn to: Rane.

As she falls deeper and deeper under Rane’s spell, Alex begins to imagine a future with the man she has grown to love, but it seems that all her hopes and dreams are destined to be crushed to smithereens when she is called back home after the death of her older sister which sees her becoming responsible for two motherless twins. Being back home means seeing St John again and although she has fallen in love with Rane, she still finds herself attracted to her older neighbour. Torn between duty and desire, Alex finds herself forced to make an impossible choice that takes her far from England’s shores and to the new world.

Alex imagined that she would find peace and fulfilment in Maryland, but with America on the brink of war, life becomes much harder and much more dangerous than she initially thought. With her new life in jeopardy and those she loves in peril, will happiness ever be within Alex’s reach? Or will all that she had hoped for end up another casualty of war?

Celeste de Blasis’ blockbuster tale A Wild Hope is beautifully evocative, wonderfully compelling and exquisitely rendered. A wonderful tale that brings the past to colourful life, A Wild Hope is a tale of courage, survival and love that will sweep readers off their feet with a beguiling blend of adventure, romance and history that has at it’s heart a heroine who is brave, intrepid, resilient and resourceful.

A fantastic read that makes for perfect fireside reading, Celeste de Blasis’ A Wild Hope is superb storytelling at its best.
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I always find it interesting to see audience recommendations for a book, as it reminds me of my contrary nature. Outlander? Never read it. Same with the Poldark series. Haven’t seen any of the television adaptions either. I HAVE read Daphne du Maurier, one book to be exact – Rebecca – and I’ve seen the classic 1940 Hitchcock-directed movie. So, what made me accept an assignment to read and review A Wild Hope? The answer is that I simply liked the sound of the plot. While I was reading it, I decided it had a touch of Thomas Hardy to it, and John Jakes too, perhaps. (I read and watched North and South as a teenager, thanks to Patrick Swayze.)

A Wild Heart is a massive story. It covers two continents and 18 years and has a long list of characters, both human and equine. I don’t know that I was prepared for how much of an epic it was, but that doesn’t mean it was difficult to read. Could it have been shorter? Possibly. I’ve read that de Blasis would do extensive research for her books and, at times, it feels like she didn’t want to leave anything out. Therefore, we get paragraphs of background information to help with the scene. But do readers need an explanation of the Missouri Compromise? Sure, Maryland has a complicated history when it comes to slavery and, yes, the issue is a feature of the second half of the book. But does that mean the Missouri Compromise had to be included? Having said all that, I loved the description of the Devon village where Alex lived with the Falconer family. I had to look up Clovelly online, and was enchanted by what I found.

Fair warning to regular readers of my reviews: this isn’t my usual reading material. It isn’t a clean or sweet historical romance. There are several graphic sex scenes. There’s also a scene about the, er, mechanics, of horse breeding. Did the book need these? Not necessarily, in my opinion. Does that make me prudish? You know how I said I read Jakes’ North and South when I was a teenager? I was thirteen. I could quote chunks of it to my school friends, and it wasn’t the battle scenes I was quoting!

If it sounds like I didn’t like this book, think again. A Wild Heart is a five-star read. I loved it. I bawled my eyes out at the end. De Blasis pulled me in and made me invest in the lives of the characters, from Alex and Rane, to St John (not a character I initially liked), to the people with whom they worked. This is an epic novel and holds up well despite first being published in the 1980s.
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Great story and can’t wait for the next two books in this series, Very emotional and well written. Thank you publisher and netgalley for this arc in exchange of an honest review.
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Thank you to Bookouture and Net Galley for the chance to read and review this book. I liked most of this book, but the romance was a little much for me. If she loved one man so much, how could she just marry another man-I guess she loved both of them in her own way. Outside of that, I thought the book was fantastic. I loved all the historical details and the length of the book. Long books give me a chance to really know the characters and feel like I am part of the story. This book contains everything-history, romance, a little mystery and family dynamics. I would like to read the next two in this series to see what happens to all the characters.
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I’d never heard of the author before but this sounded like a good read and something outside my comfort zone so I decided to take part in the blog tour. I’d like to read the original version published in 1984 to see if any big changes have been made. I did enjoy most of the book. The love story between Alexandra, Rane and St. John Carrington left me a little cold. Romance is not my thing. This isn’t the backbone of the novel though and there is plenty to enjoy. The book starts in 1813 and weaves through England and Maryland. The settings are well researched and written and brought to vivid life. The story is interwoven with many issues including horse racing and slavery. This defines the word epic. I loved the author’s use of description and detail which bring the era and people to life. I don’t know if I’d read the whole trilogy but I enjoyed this a lot.
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At the instigation of her beloved grandmother, thirteen year old Alexandria (Alex) Thaine, the youngest and unloved child of Margaret and Caton Thaine, is sent to Clovelly, Devon, to live with distant relatives, the Falconers, a family of freetraders. The Falconers welcome Alex into their lives and provide the love and understanding that is sadly lacking in her own home. An instant bond forms between Alex and Rane, her cousin, and the two become inseparable. Away from the spite and meanness of her mother and older sister, Alex grows into a confident and happy young woman.

When Alex receives news that her sister has died, she returns to her home in Gravesend to help look after her sister's twins and await the return of St. John Carrington, her sister's husband, from the Napoleonic Wars.

At that time, Rane doesn't declare his true feelings for Alex as he believes she is too young. However, when she turns sixteen, he makes the trip to Gravesend to propose, but is too late. Alex loves the twins as if they were her own children and has chosen St. John, although church law prohibits them to legally marry.

With St. John ostracised by his own family since he married Alex's sister and Alex's family, except her grandmother and her brother Boston, disapproving of their relationship, the added heartache of the loss of a child precipitates their move to Maryland, a place Alex learned of when her path crossed with that of an escaped American prisoner of war. It is the ideal place for St. John's dream of breeding race horses and Alex's hope for a better future away from the strictures of family and English society. Although she cannot totally forget Rane, she consigns the life they may have had together to the past and focuses on carving out a future for herself, St. John and their children.

I loved this book and all those wonderful characters that populated its pages, even the not so nice ones. My heart went out to Alex from the first moment she entered the story - a free spirit who only wishes her mother to love her. Deep down Alex knows that she never will. As for the two men Alex loves, the much older St. John didn't endear himself to me as Rane did. I felt that Alex had made a mistake by staying with St. John. However, the initial rocky start to their "marriage" draws them closer and my opinion of St. John did change, although I never stopped hoping that Alex and Rane would find their way back to each other somehow.

Apart from the romance, this novel is filled with lots of political and social history, which ranges from England in the grip of the Napoleonic Wars to America where resentment of the English is still rife following the War of 1812, slavery, presidential elections, the coming of the railroad and the lead up to the American Civil War. The breeding of thoroughbreds and the horse racing circuit, which form a major part of Alex and St. John's life in Maryland, add a unique and interesting backdrop to an already enthralling tale.

If not for the release of this ebook, I would have been unaware of this author and the trilogy that was so popular back in the 1980s. A Wild Hope is a wonderful story of love, resilience, sacrifice and heartache. It truly is an epic.
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A Wild Hope by Celeste De Blasis is a sweeping saga that spans the years. This is the first in the Wild Swan Trilogy. Read together the books follow the history of a family over three generations of women. This is my type of read! I love books that do this, for example Barbara Bradford Taylor books are the same and I have a soft spot for them too.
A Wild Hope begins with Alexandria or Alex, in the 1800s. She lives wih her family in England but, due to Alex being a forward thinking girl, dressing in her brothers clothes, refusing to ride side saddle, her mother cannot cope with her, to a point of almost hatred. Her grandmother arranges for Alex to live with family away from her direct family. Her grandmother realises the best place for her is there and she will flourish. As she matures into a teenager, aged 14, she metamorphasises into a stunning young lady. Her cousin Blane realises he is falling for her, but, he is 18, he holds back and they stay firm friends. They experience a multitude of adventures without Alex understanding Blane's love for her.
A tragedy strikes back with her family and Alex has to return to care for her daughters twin babies, who have been made motherless during their birth. Her brother-in- law returns from war badly injured, needless to say Alex stays to care for them and they fall in love, even though laws then would not allow a marriage between them. Blane arrives back to rescue Alex from her family, not realising Alex and her brother-in-law have declared their love. Blane throws himself into the mix, laid bare for all to see. This begins a love story that spans continents and years.
This book is one that holds you so tight you are helpless to put it down. The characters jump of the page and the places the author takes you are so vivid and real that you feel like you are there. I was almost crying for Alex with her terrible mother and the fact that Aex felt it her duty to stay in the terrible situation with no reprieve for herself.
As I stated I do love a sweeping saga that involves several generations and this, to say it is really an older book still translates well after the years gone by. I am glad I got to be on this blog tour and was honoured to read and write this review today. Thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for the copy of this beautiful story.
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I can not even begin to describe the emotional roller coaster I was on while reading this book. 

I read all of it in one day (yes, you read that right), it was too good to put down and very welcome after several weeks of studying for (and passing!) university exams. 

I've never read anything by Celeste De Blasis but I have read a couple of books from Bookouture recently and I loved all of them so I was certain I'd love this one too. Gut feeling - correct. 

The book blurb doesn't do the book justice, it's so much more amazing than words could ever describe. That's why You, the person reading this review, should pick this book up if you haven't already and see for yourself. 

A Wild Hope is gripping from the get go, and it's a gift that never stops giving. 

The descriptions were so vivid, I actually felt like I was there with our herioine Alexandria every step of the way. From her dull hometown  to the magical village and developing America, she didn't have it easy. 

In a way I wish she could've just stayed in the village, but it turned out alright in the end. 

It's a long book but I didn't feel like it. In fact, I wish it was even longer, I haven't had enough of this story. The pacing was fast and the scenes always changed so there were no dull moments. 

The characters were all so loving and warm (save a few exceptions, you know which), and in turn I felt that way towards them too. Still, I lean more towards Rane than St. John, he and Alexandria are more matched in spirit. 

My favourite motherly figures were Virginia, the grandma, and Gweneth, Rane's mother. Actually, I think the two of them are my favourite characters in the book, along with Morgan. 

I'm not sure how the author pulled it off, but there's a wealth of information about...well everything! She has a real talent to not make even the strangest subject dull. 

To say I'm excited about the next two books would be an understatement. I do hope Bookouture will re-publish them as well. In the meantime I think I'll go ahead and look for hard copies, this series is worth having. 

*Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for providing me with an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review*
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If ever you were looking for a book that was the definition of an epic story, you would be hard-pressed to find one that fits better than this sprawling novel from Celeste De Blasis. 

Fair warning: the book was originally released in 1985 as Wild Swan and is part one of a trilogy. To truly understand the scope of this book, one has to think back to novels like Roots, The Thorn Birds, and even Gone with the Wind and The Godfather. 

They were all written when television was still in its relative infancy (or, in the case of Gone with the Wind, didn’t exist at all). Novels were a major form of entertainment. They needed to be exciting, with memorable characters and unforgettable settings. They needed to be written with detailed descriptions so people could picture unknown places or understand subjects they otherwise would know little about. 

For example, in A Wild Hope, you will learn more than you every thought possible about breeding horses. That’s just one backdrop of this story, but you’ll receive so much information you might be ready to go out and try it yourself. 

I was swept away by the descriptions and writing style of the author. She truly was able to take me out of time and put me into when- and wherever Alexandria was. I appreciated her ability to do so, because that is something that is sometimes lacking in today’s novels. 

If you can get past the long passages that discuss horses, as well as several other topics, you’ll find a story about a woman torn between two men – one of the very simplest of conflicts. This one is especially well-done, because the two men also happen to represent the two separate lives that the heroine (Alexandria) has led. Which should or could she continue to true happiness?

You’ll have to read it to find out. Just because a book is almost 800 pages doesn’t mean that I am going to give you the Cliff’s Notes version. 

And honestly, don’t let the length scare you away. In today’s “immediate information age” it’s easy to forget what it used to be like: to stop, and breathe, taking the time to immerse yourself in a whole different world. When reading could be an absolute luxurious pleasure instead of something to do quickly to fill a few hours.

This book is worth investing your time because there is so much to take in. From the detailed descriptions of England’s West Country over to early-mid 1800s Maryland (and several places in between), I felt like I was there. The emotions of the characters are real, their troubles consistent with the times, and their reactions purely human. Everything just reads as genuine. 

With winter coming, it would be a good time to consider this book (or rather, 3 books, as I assume the trilogy will be completely re-released), especially if you are in a place where you might be stuck due to weather. You’ll be happy to give yourself the ability to follow Alexandria’s trials and tribulations.
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I'm happy to see the work of the late, beloved Celeste De Blasis finally available in digital format. I'm curious to know if this small publisher, Bookouture, will attract any new readers or if they'll rely on people like me, who still have our hard copies of this book from 1984, but are happy to pick up an e-version that we can read without our glasses (thank goodness for adjustable font size settings).

Frankly I doubt that anyone has the time or patience these days for a 700 page historical novel that, in addition to the main narrative, devotes pages and pages to describing horse breeding, the Missouri Compromise of 1819, and the election of John Quincy Adams over Andrew Jackson. But if you skim through all of that detail, you will get to the heart of the story, the indomitable Alexandria Thaine Carrington Falconer. De Blasis was ahead of her time in featuring strong-willed female characters who didn't take shit from their men, and who found a way to make their mark despite the restrictions of their era. She may still seem old-fashioned to today's readers; she's younger than both of the heroes in the book, and her sexual awakening comes about at the hands (and lips) of the more experienced men. But compared to many of the more traditionally passive or flighty female characters in 1980s historical fiction, she was a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to a young woman like me. De Blasis' singular heroines were the reason why I purchased all seven of her books in hardcover and why they are still on my keeper shelves more than 35 years later.

I'm not sure why the publisher had to change the name of the book from its original Wild Swan, or why they had to add the ridiculous qualifying description. Yes this book is epic, spanning 18 years and two continents. I guess it's heartbreaking - characters die and are separated from their true loves, but by the end of the book Alex is happily married to the man you know she belongs with. There are two more books in the "Swan" series, Swan's Chance and A Season of Swans that focus on Alex's children and grandchildren through the Civil War and several decades beyond. I hope Bookouture publishes them as well because I'd love to add them to the digital shelves. I doubt that there is much of a new audience out there for this author's books, but I could be wrong. In the coming pandemic winter of 2020-21, maybe a long, dense, sweeping historical that takes weeks to read will be just what the doctor ordered. Either way, I'm thankful for the blast from the past.

ARC received from Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
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I have history with this book. I first read "Wild Swan" (original title) back in 1989 shortly after the death of my grandmother. Even though I was very young, I enjoyed the book immensely and found it comforting. As an adult, I wondered if I would feel the same. I do. It's a story that is deeply sad in parts, but has so much life to it. The writing is beautiful, pulling you in and wrapping you up in the lives of the characters, and helping you to put your own problems into perspective. "A Wild Hope" is perfect historical fiction.

My thanks to the author (RIP), publisher, and NetGalley for an advance copy to review. This review is entirely my own, unbiased, opinion.
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This book should be made for a TV movie! It has the drama and romance and suspense with twists and turns! I could not put this book down! I read it straight thru as we traveled from Ohio to Texas! 
What a phenomenal life and choices Alexandria had to make not only for herself, but her family as well! She was truly an exceptional woman that had to endure the childhood she did and the emotional pain later in her life. 

The author is truly remarkable at her skill because she develops her characters so that they grow and you see that on the pages and you feel their pain as well. That’s when you know the author has made the characters jump off the pages to the readers! This is one of those books! Kudos to the author! 

If I could give 10 stars I would and if I knew someone in Hollywood or a script writer, I would definitely recommend this book for them to read! 

I received an advanced copy from NetGalley and these are my willingly given thoughts and opinions.
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As this is a trilogy, I definitely look forward to the next 2 books.  I am a big fan of stories set in the 1800's, those that begin in England and most definitely novels that are about the politics of the time in America and everything connected to the 1800's.  I knew going in that this would be a "large" event with enough pages to fill me for several days or more (that does not scare me away).  I have never read anything before that Celeste De Blasis  has written, however, I am looking forward to the next 2 books in this trilogy and anything else she has written.  The writing was excellent as was the research, I couldn't ask for more.  My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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I originally read this book thirty-six years ago when it was first published in 1984 as Wild Swan.  It is part of an epic three-episode saga beginning in early 1813 England’s West Country and moving to the new world of Maryland. It is the story of Alexandra Thaine and the two men she loves, her distant cousin Rane Falconer and St. John Carrington.  This book was one of my favorites, and I reread it several times until it was lost or destroyed.  In recent years I replaced it via eBay.  I saw this listed on NetGalley and jumped at the chance to reread and see if it still held the excitement in did back then.  I must say that it has withstood the test of time.

I so enjoyed rereading this and revisiting these people that I once loved and their lives.  I thoroughly recommend it to people who love historical romance.  As I mentioned, this saga begins in 1813 England and then moves to Maryland and swirls around the topics of horse racing, slavery, politics, and family ties.  Celeste De Blasis was an extraordinary author, and this saga was her crowning glory.  This first installment will always be a favorite of mine, and  I give it four and one-half stars rounded up to five.
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