Wild Heart by Lori Brighton has the potential to be a very entertaining book. It has gothic elements such as a mysterious castle, an orphaned heroine (Ella) and a brooding tormented hero (Leo) who is searching for clues that will help him solve his parents’ brutal murder. Leo’s trusty sidekick, Akshay has come with him from India to continue to guard his back just as he has done since they were both tragically orphaned in the killing spree in that country many years ago. Ella’s sickly friend Fran has been her only support throughout Ella’s lonely life although even she does not know about Ella’s eerie ability to communicate with animals. Leo is ostensibly being groomed by his grandfather to take over the responsibilities to his family name by managing the family estate and Ella is hired to help tame the wild and unruly man and force him to conform to the rules of polite society. The two lonely people are drawn to each other yet the budding relationship is threatened by the mysterious link that Ella has to one of the possible murderers. A series of slowly revealed clues begin to shed light on the murders but threaten to risk the very existence of Ella and Leo.
The book has the potential to be interesting but tends to be a little difficult to read as there are no smooth transitions and action jumps abruptly from one time and location to another. There are several interesting characters including a handicapped jungle cat but it is difficult to establish a rapport with most of them because they are only superficially described in their sporadic appearances. Sadly, the book ends without any true resolution even though it is quite long and it is difficult to generate enthusiasm for the sequel even though the descriptions of the settings are very nicely done.