After building a fortune in the exotic East, American adventurer and merchant prince Gavin Elliott sets his sails for London to begin a new life. Then fate intervenes on an infamous island in the East Indies where a European woman faces degradation and peril. Though saving her may cost Gavin his life, he cannot refuse to help the fierce beauty who touches his heart and soul with her indomitable spirit. Alexandra Warren is returning home from Australia as a widow and mother when a pirate attack condemns her to a life of servitude. A miracle arrives in the form of a steely-eyed Yankee captain, whose reckless courage wins them freedom and a safe passage home to London. Intimate strangers joined by too many secrets, they slowly begin to heal the past with attraction and tenderness-until an old enemy reaches out to threaten the passionate love Gavin has found with his irresistible bartered bride. From the Paperback edition.
This final volume in a popular trilogy (The Wild Child; The China Bride) is a rich and realistic 19th-century historical romance. Gavin Elliott, captain of his trading company's flagship, has been traveling the East Indies since the death of his young wife and infant daughter. Alexandra Warren, too, is widowed; soon after she and her daughter leave Australia for England, their ship is taken by Malaysian pirates and she is abducted. When Gavin visits Malaysia as the guest of a local sultan, he sees Alexandra on the block at a slave auction. As soon as he sets eyes on the indomitable Englishwoman, their fates are united. After a series of trials (including wrestling a giant lizard), Gavin is allowed to bring Alexandra back to England, but their worst problems are not yet behind them. Putney knows how to create characters attractive enough to enchant readers without being too good to be true. Gavin is gallant and romantic"he risks his life for a woman he doesn't know, marries her to protect her reputation and understands her physical reticence after her traumatic experience"but he is not without doubts and desires. Alexandra, for her part, believes that Gavin helps her out of chivalry, but she is too gracious and too aware of her position to reject his aid. Both characters have vivid inner lives and thoroughly imagined personalities. Their union is inevitable"this is a romance novel"but their journey from strangers to spouses to true lovers is utterly authentic. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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1 . Great read; can't wait to read more of her books.
Posted June 05, 2010 by Karen , VeniceThis author has an enviable way of developing characters and keeping the readers rivited throughout a well constructed story.
June 28, 2004
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Excerpt from The Bartered Bride by Mary Jo Putney
The Tower of London, Autumn 1835
The stones of the Tower radiated anguish and despair. How many prisoners had paced these rooms, praying for escape? As a nearby church bell tolled seven times, Gavin Elliott lay on his narrow bed, eyes closed. Soon he must rise and prepare for the trial that would begin today, but he preferred to hang on to the rags of a pleasant dream as long as possible. Transparent aquamarine water, white sand, Alexandra laughing with the vitality that made all other women pale by comparison.
Alex. The dream splintered and fell away. Wearily he sat up and swung his legs from the bed. The stone floor had the chill of death. Two warders were always posted in the room with him, ubiquitous as the stony chamber's cold drafts. He'd lived shoulder to shoulder with other men when he first went to sea as a common sailor, but he'd spent too many years as the captain, the owner, the taipan, to enjoy this return to constant scrutiny.
The door opened, closed again. Your breakfast has arrived, sir. The warders were scrupulously polite. Not their fault the tea was prepared so far away that it was tepid by the time it reached the prisoner in the Bloody Tower.
Moving to the washstand, Gavin splashed cold water on his face to clear his mind, then shaved with extra care. It wouldn't do to look like a murderous villain today. The face in the mirror didn't inspire him with confidence, though. Grief, strain, and weeks of imprisonment shadowed his eyes, and years of sun and sea had left him with a weathered, tan complexion that Britons considered ungentlemanly.
The coat and trousers he donned were black for mourning. He wondered if his judges would consider that hypocritical.
The door opened again. The taller of the warders, Ridley, mumbled a protest. The reply was much clearer. I have permission.