Wild Heather

Written by Catherine Palmer
Review by Ann Chamberlin

Romance and Christian harmony heal an ancient feud between noble houses in the Yorkshire dales during the Regency (not Victorian Period, as the blurb indicates). Certain homage is given to Jane Austen in a number of direct quotes, but the focus on religion looses all the nuances of a sharp social commentary. The religion is of a decidedly American cast, the peerage at play here imported from other counties, the rising middle class aspects of the early Industrial Revolution conveniently ignored, and little of the flavor of Yorkshire captured. (I count one single attempt to recreate the dialect.)
For what this is, however, for the American reader who likes the comfort of the familiar in fancy dress, there are touching moments when Palmer presses the emotional buttons with skill. Who could not be lured by the fantasy that Olivia Hewes, strapped with an impossible mother, an alcoholic-syndrome brother, and a failing estate, can have all her problems solved by handing them over to God and handsome Lord Thorne?