Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Wild Bells to the Wild Sky” as Want to Read:
Wild Bells to the Wild Sky
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Wild Bells to the Wild Sky

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  715 ratings  ·  44 reviews
Lily Christian was just an enchantingly innocent child of paradise when she fell in love with the sun-bronzed captain who came to take her home to England. But shamed by the resplendent ladies of the court, she bitterly despaired of ever being loved in return.

As the years passed, and fortune's cruelty forced her into a life of adventure, the girl once forgotten became a ra
Paperback, 592 pages
Published September 1st 1984 by Avon Books (first published January 1983)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Wild Bells to the Wild Sky, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Wild Bells to the Wild Sky

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.04  · 
Rating details
 ·  715 ratings  ·  44 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Wild Bells to the Wild Sky
UniquelyMoi ~ BlithelyBookish

Wild Bells to the Wild Sky took me by surprise. I hadn’t read anything by Laurie McBain prior to Wild Bells but, from reviews I had seen, I knew this wouldn’t be a run-of-the-mill historical romance. Even so, I wasn’t expecting the epic adventure spanning decades and continents which took me on a journey that had me holding my breath, afraid to read on but unable to put it down.

West Indies, 1571. Shipwrecked on an island for most of her young life, Lily Christian is rescued by the dashi
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

This is one of those books that is too hard to recap the plot without giving it all away, but I will try to do my best...

Lily is the daughter of English privateer Geoffrey Christian and Spanish noblewoman Magdalena Montevares (he'd taken one look, fell in love and snatched her whilst raiding her father's ship). Years later, Magdalena returns to the West Indies with her husband and seven-year old daughter to see her mother before she dies. Also on board ship is Sir Basil, who is a spy of
I really couldn't put this book down, it was great!! Not quite a typical trashy "romance novel" that I was expecting.... leans much more to historical fiction with a little bit of romance thrown in, but SUCH a good book. ...more
Regan Walker
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Enthralling Tale of Queen Elizabeth’s Sea Dogs–a Great Love Story--a Keeper!

Few authors can come close to the masterful storytelling of Laurie McBain which is why I am one of her fans. With an amazingly complex plot, this one features prejudice, treachery, threats to the queen, spies, gypsies and high seas adventure making it one of her best. I highly recommend it.

Lily Christian was the product of a marriage between her English father, a privateer for Queen Elizabeth I, and her aristocratic Span
Molly Fannin
Aug 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A glorious romp through England and the Caribbean. This is an all inclusive novel with pirates, royal, adventure, romance, treason, and damsel in distress elements. I stumbled across this book because of the cheesy cover of a woman embracing a man with a panther lurking in the bushes.

There is a lot of detail, but overall, this is one of the best romance escape novels that I have ever read. It is only mildly trashy. Very solidly described scenes with beautiful, well-written chapters. Also, the p
Oct 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by the Publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Laurie McBain is the best when it comes to writing sweeping, epic historical-romance. I first read this book when it was first published in 1983. After 30 years, I didn't remember much of the story, but it was very much like falling in love all over again.

Upon sailing from the bustling port of Santo Domingo, the ship Arion is set upon by Spanish galleons bent on revenge. Lily is torn from the arms of her father, Geoffr

Wild Bells to the Wild Sky is one of my 'romance tester' picks. Meaning, I grabbed a whole bunch of different books categorized as romances in order to see what all of the hype is around the genre and if it can, in fact, appeal to me.

Well, let me tell you: I was very, very surprised and pleased with Laurie McBain's privateer 'romance'. I think mainly because, in comparison with the awful Viking Warrior Rising --which was essentially just soft core porn in novel format-- Wild Bells ha
Nov 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
I moved into my house five years ago. Before then, my husband and I lived in a cute condo. We had so many books that we couldn't fit them (and our two kids) all into our old place, so we boxed most of them up and stored them in his family's barn. Archival boxes filled with books then stored in big rubbermaind bins. About 22 big rubbermaid bins. The 'must have at hand' books we kept on shelves.

Fast forward to 2010 we bought a big ass house with a LOT of space. So we could finally get our books ba
Feb 03, 2016 rated it liked it
I read this many years ago and my reading taste have changed I've learned.

The writing was good. I just found the story lacking in some areas and found it difficult to finish.
Piper Pringle
Jun 12, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a good romance, however I found it to drag in places.

I wish it was a quicker-paced in the beginning.
Oct 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historicals
Lily and her family were attacked on the high seas, shipwrecked, and left for dead. Years past and they are finally rescued by a family friend, Valentine, who had been searching all this time. But only the children are alive as all the adults perished in the attacked or by illness. The children having grown a little wild now have some exotic pets (a bird and a monkey that they take, and a panther that they have to leave behind) to take back to England. Their wildness and pets cause mayham in str ...more
Barb in Maryland
Re-read this one last year and I'm happy to find that it held up. Alas, so many of my romance favorites from the 70' and 80's have NOT stood the test of time.
Warning to all--sometimes it is better to remember fondly a book than to re-read and destroy that memory.
Bambi Unbridled
Full review posted at Bambi Unbridled

I recommend that you read this story when you have time to sit back and savor it. Don't read it in a rush. It's elaborately detailed and meanders through the life our our heroine, starting before she was even a twinkle in her parents' eye. Indeed, by the time I got to 12%, I felt like I had already read an entire book. Those who only read the latest releases may complain that the story is long-winded... but that is why I love it! I don't know of any authors t
From England to the Caribbean, set in the times of Elizabeth I. I read this way back in the early 90s and I remember really liking it a lot. Not sure how it would stand today. Maybe I'll see about rereading it sometime. ...more
Originally Reviewed For: Bodice Rippers, Femme Fatales and Fantasy

As we age our taste in books change, of course as the Romance Genre has aged, so too has it's styles, requirements and quality. Some of the books from the 70's and 80's that we may have loved at the time are not what we expect. Fortunately for all of us, Laurie McBain was way ahead of her time. Sure she wrote those epic novels, sagas, that took place over time never a short romance. No these were tales of life and romance. An enti
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a partial review! For a full review, visit All About Romance -

It’s been a long time since I’ve read any romances published in the 1980s. The purple prose that seems to have been so abundant in 80s historicals gets on my ever-loving last nerve. Luckily for me, Wild Bells to the Wild Sky is definitely not a bodice-ripper, nor is it like your typical 80s romance. Instead, I just finished a richly described historical with realistic characters, a stor
Jul 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Ugh finally finished 3.5 stars I feel like I've just run a marathon! There were so many characters and so many different pov's all taking about 10-20 page or so it seemed to set the scene before getting to point and following the characters. Don't get me I appreciate a good detailed description to help me get into the book but there was just too much detail about mind-numbingly boring things I found it quite difficult to keep trudging along to the next interesting part of the story buried beneat ...more
Debbie Brown
Mar 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wild Bells to the Wild Sky by Laurie McBain, is a fabulous read. Ms. McBain builds the story slowly with layer upon layer to give us an in-depth story line. Lily Christian as a young girl of seven is stranded on an island with her Mother and her father’s best friend, Sir Basil Whitelaw, as her father goes to fight his Spanish enemy. They end up stranded on the island in the West Indies for seven years, where Lily’s brother and her half-sister are born. They rescued seven years later by Valentine ...more
Aug 05, 2015 rated it did not like it
There's a lot of useless information in the first 250 pages. It serves no other import than to discuss how important and perfect the heroine, the first daughter of an adventurous, landed-gent with a penchant for exotic European women, is. Did I forget to mention how this important man, father of our Heroine, also happens to be well connected and in the confidence of the Queen of England?

And how she traveled with a caravan of Gypsies, immersing herself in their culture and lifestyle, despite her
Captivating! I think only a phenomenal writer like Laurie McBain could write novels like these. Even though this is my first time reading her work, she is an exceptional writer! I wish I had come across this book years ago! The story was absolutely wonderful, the plots, the characters, the turn of events, I wouldn't change anything. I fell in love with the story from page 1. I have to admit the 1st part of the story was very depressing, I felt a lot of sympathy for Lily when her father, Geoffrey ...more
Feb 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: historical
I remember finding this in some out of the way second hand book shop, in my early 20s. Love those old covers and epic 80s style romances. Remember enjoying this quite a bit and I still have it in pb.
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing
i love this book i can read it over and over
Robin Dilks
Feb 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fabulous, well written an great read for the historical romance fan.
Avid Bookivore
Jan 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book brought some mixed feelings. I typically don’t read Elizabethian era romances but decided to give this one a chance because the synopsis intrigued me. While the synopsis isn’t entirely correct, it reveals the main point of the story rather well.
This novel follows Lily Francisca Christian, through a rough and awe-inspiring childhood. Lily becomes an orphaned and somewhat untamed castaway, because of a certain Spaniard who had a penchant for getting even. She spends seven years on the is
A long book! Longer than I expected and not enough romance to fill it all. Not much development in it or the characters unfortunately, even though it spanned some time. Lily and Valentine were a bit boring tbh, I felt like they could’ve been more flawed.
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: obsessed
I finally found it! My first romance book <3 I remember finding it in a yard sale and couldn't find the hard copy after moving. It brought back a lot of old memories :D ...more
Jun 04, 2018 rated it liked it
A little too detailed at some points, but a nice story
Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!}
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Angel Hatfield
Aug 07, 2016 rated it really liked it
Geoffrey Christian was a privateer who had gutted the Maria Conception bur Geoffrey’s heart had been jolted by the beautiful senorita Magdalena who was on her way with her family to marry a rich widower. But Magdalena is as taken with Geoffrey as he is with her. Magdalene goes against her family to marry Geoffrey Even though Geoffrey is of a different faith and nationality Magdalena does not regret her decision. After seven years of no contact from her parents or sister her dad contacts Magdalen ...more
Leone (She Reads too Much Romance)
In comparison to the other novel that I have read by author Laurie McBain, I enjoyed this story far more. I still felt like the pages suffered some faults with the plot, but the romance was much better in this book. I think I have finally witnessed the talent of the author and I am happy overall with what I have uncovered.

Both Valen and Lily, the characters developed a romance that was not only beautiful, but daring. I could feel the spark of attraction between the duo instantly and I really wan
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Flame and the Flower (Birmingham, #1)
  • Ashes in the Wind
  • A Rose in Winter
  • One Red Rose (Rose, #4)
  • One White Rose (Rose #3)
  • One Pink Rose (Rose, #2)
  • The Prodigal Daughter (Kane & Abel, #2)
  • Callander Square (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #2)
  • The Cater Street Hangman (Charlotte & Thomas Pitt, #1)
  • Zak George's Dog Training Revolution: The Complete Guide to Raising the Perfect Pet with Love
  • Rules of Engagement (Featherton Sisters, #1)
  • Half Spent Was the Night: A Witches' Yuletide
  • Shanna
  • Ghost Ship (Port Chatham Mystery #2)
  • The Wolf and the Dove
  • Vampire Debt (Supernatural Battle: Vampire Towers #2)
  • A Christmas Promise
  • Kane and Abel (Kane and Abel, #1)
See similar books…
Laurie McBain was born on October 15, 1949. She was always passionate about art and history, and her father encouraged her and helped her write her first historical romance. At twenty-six, Laurie became a publishing phenomenon with her first historical romance. Her first novels "Devil's Desire" and "Moonstruck Madness" each sold over a million copies. She was one of the pioners of the new romance ...more

News & Interviews

“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
34 likes · 7 comments