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The Firebrand by Susan Wiggs
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Nov 03, 2010

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Read in November, 2010

Here is a story whose idea you love, but yet in which the story itself you did not as much as you wanted to. The Firebrand was one of those. By all account there is much to love: instant attraction, a disaster that brings people together, a rescued baby, and second chances. The story had all these and more. Plenty to tug on the heartstrings and perhaps shed a few tears along the way.

Lucy Hathaway, self-appointed social reformer and Randolf Higgins, powerful businessmen are two imperfect characters who are perfect for one another. It takes a disaster, the Chicago Fire of 1871, a rescued baby to build the circumstances for their life-changing reunion five years later. Pain can transform lives in many ways, something Rand is very aware of. A bitter, scarred man, he has lost everything; the family he once had, the child her loved and the confidence only a man who has it made can have. He is still powerful, a successful banker, but his loneliness is measured in the hours spent at work.

Lucy, the once independent, outspoken carefree woman, is now a mother. Her pampered life died in the Chicago Fire. Starting from nothing, she operates The Firebrand, a radical bookstore. Her voice is heard among protests, marches and in the literature of her bookstore. There is only one thing, a bitter man and a self-proclaimed social reformer have in common. Maggie. The baby Lucy rescued is Rand's natural child. Their discovery leads to the greatest joys they will experience. They have a chance at love and a happy family.

Their conflicts stems from their differing views, something that is never resolved nor is a middle ground reached. The end was a little disappointment, especially when Lucy's distrust of Rand still existed and was voiced. Trust and communication are two things that can make a relationship and break it Considering much of these were lacking, it made Lucy and Rand's happily-ever-after not quite believable. Although, I readily accepted that ending and liked the potential for their future.

The story had a lot of heart from beginning to end.

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