Wild Heart is an historical romance novel by debut author Lori Brighton. There is a subtle vein of supernatural to the story in that the heroine, Ella Fitch, has the gift of being able to "communicate" with animals by picking up on their emotions and soothing them with calming thoughts. The characterizations are loosely based on the tale of Tarzan as the male protagonist in Wild Heart, Leo Roberts, was the sole survivor of a deadly attack on a camp in the jungles of India when we has a child accompanying his parents on an exploration. Not only was the experience traumatic because of the act itself, but the understanding that the attack was an act of betrayal by someone his father trusted and the fact that Leo was not searched for or rescued for a very long time, has made Leo the wild, uncouth, outsider he is now.
Leo is now next in line for Earldom of his Grandfather's estate and Ella Fitch is hired as Leo's governess in order to educate and refine him in the manners and habits of a cultured member of society. It turns out, however, that Leo is not the only one with a mysterious and dark past as both of their pasts catch up to them and they are one or the other the object of a series of attacks. As they try to figure out exactly what is going on without revealing their secrets to each other, they end up learning about love, trust, and understanding like neither have ever known or dared hope for.
Wild Heart is a wonderfully suspenseful and mysterious adventure and a romantic tale of two lost and lonely souls who are brought together under some unusual, albeit possibly fateful circumstances. The mystery surrounding the attacks on them and the estate is intricate and multilayered, and kept me guessing at the possibilities until the very end. The love between Leo and Ella is built not only with passion, but also with compassion, trust and the kind of emotional connection you share with someone who simply believes in you.
I enjoyed witnessing the mystery of these characters and their love for each other unfold on the pages of Wild Heart, and I celebrated in their much deserved happily ever after.