Sunday, April 22, 2012
When I was in high school, my mom introduced my sisters and I to such gems as Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, M. M. Kaye, and Madeleine Brent. These renowned authors opened the door for us to the historical romantic suspense genre. Written throughout the 1950s-1980s, their fast-moving novels set in exotic locations led to many late nights of reading. My very favorites are M. M. Kaye’s The Far Pavilions and Shadow of the Moon – fat paperback epics set in India – gorgeous books!! I also love Mary Stewart’s Arthurian saga about the legend of Merlin and King Arthur. (That series is more fantasy, but if you like King Arthur stories those books are marvelous.) ANYWAY . . .
Another of my favorites from the romantic suspense genre is Golden Urchin by Madeleine Brent. I think I’ve read it 3 or 4 times, and I still love love love it. Meg is a young white woman who has been raised by an aborigine tribe in the Australian outback. Shunned for her fiery red hair and pale skin, she does her best to fit in, but grows up ashamed that she is not a “true person.” One day while out hunting, she stumbles across a man dying of thirst in the desert. He is Luke, an English aristocrat from Victorian England, and Meg (or Mitji as she is called by her tribe) saves his life. Of course, he is handsome and she is beautiful, and he is married to a sweet, sickly wife who helps care for Meg and teach her English and how to behave and dress like a young lady.
Meg’s primitive upbringing clashes with her proper new surroundings – she is superstitious, puzzled by clothing, and confused by Luke’s coolness towards her. The mystery of her true identity is revealed as the story unfolds, and her acclimation into her new life makes for an interesting read.
I hated my light skin and freckles as a teenager, so I tried to copy Mitji and tan my skin to cover the freckles. Ha, it didn’t exactly work and if/when I come down with skin cancer I can blame Madeleine Brent.
I love the intriguing plot and characters in Golden Urchin!