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The Hostage (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy #1)

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  1,262 ratings  ·  95 reviews
A sweeping tale of love born from the ashes of revenge. . .

October 8, 1871 -- One small spark ignites the entire city of Chicago, sending its residents into panic. But amid the chaos, a chance encounter leads to an unexpected new love.

Unaware of the fire sweeping toward them, Deborah Sinclair confronts her wealthy, powerful father, determined to refuse the society marria

Kindle Edition
Published (first published April 1st 2000)
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So beware romance fans...this book reads more like fiction than romance until the last 100 pages or so...but when it FINALLY morphs into a romance novel it is really really good romance.

I'm a sucker for the movie Overboard with Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. Spoiled rich girl is exposed to hard work, family, and true love for the first time and never looks back. The Hostage is like that. Deborah is a wealthy heiress who is supposed to marry a member of the peer in order to give her wealthy dad t
Not many books leave me speechless, especially not books by authors I've never read before, but Susan Wiggs succeeded with this first book in her Chicago Fire Trilogy.

It started so slow I was convinced I'd be bored to tears only a few chapters in, but that's when things picked up pace and I was riveted until the very end. As a fellow reader mentioned in her review, this is a story you cannot help but call sweeping and majestic. Sure, it spanned only a few months, but it read more like a saga, du
It's 1871 and with the Great Fire of Chicago raging in the background, Tom Silver of Isle Royale takes advantage of the chaos and slips into Arthur Sinclair's home, intent on killing him. Arthur Sinclair's business interests have destroyed many lives on Isle Royale, including Tom Silver's foster son and he's come for his reckoning. Instead, Arthur escapes, leaving behind his only child to face Tom alone.

Deborah Sinclair knows her father's wishes and has always tried to obey. He wants her to mar
Marion Marchetto
Action. Adventure. Suspense. Murder. Mayhem. Kidnapping. Isolation. Desolation. Near Death. Introspection. Rape. Romance. Compassion. Empathy. Self-Reinvention. All of this and more set against the backdrop of The Great Chicago Fire.

When Deborah Sinclair experiences one life-changing event, she is unprepared for a chain-of-events that is set in motion on the night of the Chicago Fire. Returning to her father's mansion to confront him with a decision she has made about her engagement, she thwarts
* Must love big strong half Indian mountain men, who will walk through miles and miles of life threatening blizzards to save his woman*
Deborah Sinclair is an heiress who is engaged to be married to a man from an aristocratic family mainly because her father wants this marriage. Something happened with this fiance' and she goes to her father to tell him she will not marry this man. Her father ignores this and next thing you know all of Chicago is on fire and they are getting ready to flee. In c
Connie N.
Starts out as a typical regency romance but becomes a bit more interesting as the story evolved and adventure followed adventure. I liked the development of the heroine Deborah but Philip and Tom were not as well-rounded so I found I had a much harder time relating to them, Tom especially. Interesting twist at the end but a bit abrupt. I guess that was the intention, but it left me unfulfilled. This is my first Susan Wiggs book, and I've liked it enough to read some more.
October 8, 1871 was a day to be remembered by the world. Deborah and her father had a bit of a falling out. As the Chicago fire got too close to home they set out to run, but were intercepted by a madman whose intent was to kill her father. Unable to kill Arthur Sinclaire, Tom Silvers snatched Deborah and took her as hostage to remote Isle Royale in the north of Lake Superior. As the big freeze came upon them, all in the small community embarked on boats to return to the mainland for the winter. ...more
For a week or two now, I’ve been feeling very drawn to dive back into historical romance reads. Sometimes it’s just that fun and light escapism that you are able to cope with or that you yearn for. So I browsed around online bargain bookstores for some paperbacks in that genre and I ordered quite a few of the “not-so-recent” Susan Wiggs books for affordable prices and I’m quite thrilled with my selection! I think Susan Wiggs often delivers great story-telling. It’s not because I enjoy light read ...more
When I first read this book I thought perhaps some of the things in it were a bit farfetched… I mean it is back in the day but not that far back… but the more I learn about this period of time the more realistic this book actually seems… although the love angle is a whole other thing… but who doesn’t love a good love story about forbidden romance… I love how both Tom and Deborah have secrets that the reader has to slowly pull apart to discover what is truly motivating both of them and what has d ...more
Beth Pearson
I thought this was my first Susan Wiggs novel, but later discovered I had read another one. Anyways, things I liked about this romance novel--The hero and heroine were very imperfect people. He is so consumed with revenge that he sets out to commit murder. She is such window dressing that she doesn't really even have her own personality. Unlike most books I read, she isn't already fiesty and brave. I like that there is a lot of growth and changes in each character. I also liked that while the ma ...more
Interesting story. On the night of the Great Chicago Fire, an heiress confronts her father, refusing the society marriage that he has arranged for her. Suddenly a stranger appears, intent on killing her father. The heiress stops the murder, but ends up getting kidnapped herself.

This is the first story in Wiggs' Chicago Fire Trilogy. It just makes me want to read more.
Manang Jean
I really loved this book. Read it a month ago, and have since read 8 other books and still remember it. Memorable. I haven't read romances for over 2 decades now, and wasn't really expecting much but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Tom Silver is definitely a strong (sigh), unforgettable character. Lovely couple - Tom and Deborah are perfect for each other.
I read this series long time ago and it started me following Wiggs. I must have loved it then, but compared with the emotional depth of the contemporaries she is now putting out this pales.
Wealthy socialite is in Chicago to marry the man who will bring her dad, who amassed his fortune by working for it, the respect the bluebloods don't give him.
Even as they enter town, it is burning in the Great Fire.
Also visiting is Tom Silver, set on revenge for deadly mining accident caused by negligence o
I Love, Love, Love, the Susan Wiggs' books that I have read so far. I have focused on the Historical and love how it is woven into the stories. Her characters are so complex you really feel you know them by the end. But it takes most of the novel to really learn about them.

This has action and even though it takes place during the Chicago fire, it has only a small portion that is about that event.

It has the unlikely characters coming together in a very unlikely way that she likes to write about.
I am a sucker for historical romance. This however earns it rating purely on the last 20% of the book. when Tom Silver becomes a man you don't want to strangle and Deborah comes to terms with herself. I'm willing to forgive a lot of a book as long as the ending satisfies.
I have read lots of romance novels this year but this one..... This is one I will never ever forget. Deborah is a pampered and sheltered heiress who, the night of the Chicago great fire, finds herself thrown into an inferno in more way than once. During the course of the book she is abandoned by all the men who should have protected her, but during this she finds something more, something she never thought she had:strenght, passion for life, courage, a capacity to love without hesitation, and ev ...more
This was a romance with the usual hero and the beautiful heiress, but the setting of the Chicago fire in 1871 that begins the novel makes it a little different. There is also a lot about the fishing families on the islands in Lake Superior. So, the time period and the places make the novel more than a typical romance. This is an easy, fast read, perfect for the beach. Because the author does a good job with historical aspect, the romance part only enters late in the novel. The author has two oth ...more
Had I rated this toward the middle of the book I would have given it only two stars. I felt that the wording was a bit awkward at times, and that occasionally the author seemed to have tried to describe a scene but come up short. However, she redeemed herself with spurts of good adventure and the story of Deborah Sinclair's inward growth. As I neared the end of the story I couldn't pull myself away. That said, the writing could have been better, and I'm undecided as to whether I'm interested in ...more
Kazia Gemmill
Great page-turner. Solid writing. Descriptions of the fire made it really leap from the page. Believable love story. Slightly rushed ending.
Gen Boleyn
light evocative read. interesting and based on fact. I particularly liked the way she wove details of how the fire started into her story. imaginative
“Deborah Sinclair finds herself kidnapped by a brute of a man who tried to kill her father. Tom Silver set's off to take revenge on Arthur Sinclair for the deaths of miners in the community of Isle Royale. When he gets to Chicago and confronts Arthur Sinclair there is a raging fire that is engulfing the city. His beautiful daughter Deborah gets in the way of his plans so he just takes her with him back to Isle Royale as a Hostage. But Arthur Sinclair has no heart or so it seems. This book is the ...more
Laura Nordgren
I randomly picked this book and it is a well written story of adventure, self-discovery, and love.
A wonderful story set in the Midwest. Starting in Chicago at the time of the great fire and ending on the northern Lake Superior coast of Michigan, the story begins as a revenge kidnapping and ends as a marvelous love story.
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I hadn't read much by this author, but decided to mooch a few more anyway.
I started reading this one out loud to my husband while driving back from France to Switzerland. Reading it out loud, the beginning was a bit irritating in the way Wiggs skirts around what becomes increasingly obvious but is only confirmed towards the end of the book. I found the themes unusual and interesting, and enjoyed it a lot more after the first hundred pages once we'd arrived and I was reading it to myself! The end
No me encantó, la verdad. Tiene pasajes interesantes, parte del final algo far fetched. Interesante tomar hechos reales y entretejer estas historias ficticias.
The character development was much more advanced than what I was expecting from a romance novel. I liked the story and can not wait to read the rest of the series. Seeing so many lives torn apart by a disaster brings the more recent disasters to my mind.

I love that Deborah is not the simpering, pampered rich girl that you expect but has a huge heart that she has always hidden. I enjoy strong women and that Deborah learns to stand up for herself and survives when no one expects her to really end
Julia Muldoon
I really like Susan Wiggs Calhourne series so I thought I would love this. But the writing was kind of meh. It felt really overwritten and clunky. Funny that I now think of YA as beeing more sofisticated a read. The authors in YA know how to write big stories in small spaces and this just felt like a small story in a big space. I have the rest of the books in the series, and because I picked them up second hand, I'll keep them for those days where I need to read something but can't commit to som ...more
I did not like the writing.
#1 about the Chicago fire
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Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Mar 05, 2015 10:13AM  
  • The Passions of Emma
  • The Dangerous Gentleman (Rogues of Regent Street, #1)
  • Nobody's Darling
  • Just Wicked Enough (Rogues and Roses, #2)
  • The Duke's Captive (Winter Garden #4)
  • Pieces of Sky (Blood Rose, #1)
  • Lions And Lace (Van Alen Sisters #1)
  • If You Love Me (Mackinnon, #7)
  • A Candle in the Dark
  • A Fire in the Heart
  • Desired (The Scandalous Women of the Ton, #5)
  • Gabriel's Bride
  • A Hearing Heart
  • Merely Married
  • Three Nights...
  • Midsummer Moon
  • Hummingbird
  • Lord of Sin (Seducers spin-off, #1)
Susan Wiggs's life is all about family, friends...and fiction. She lives at the water's edge on an island in Puget Sound, and she commutes to her writers' group in a 17-foot motorboat. She serves as author liaison for Field's End, a literary community on Bainbridge Island, Washington, bringing inspiration and instruction from the world's top authors to her seaside community. (See ...more
More about Susan Wiggs...

Other Books in the Series

Great Chicago Fire Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Mistress (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy, #2)
  • The Firebrand (Great Chicago Fire Trilogy #3)
Just Breathe Summer at Willow Lake (Lakeshore Chronicles, #1) The Apple Orchard (Bella Vista Chronicles, #1) Dockside (Lakeshore Chronicles, #3) The Winter Lodge (Lakeshore Chronicles #2)

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