The Orchid Hunter

Jill Marie Landis, Author Jove Books $6.99 (386p) ISBN 978-0-515-12768-3
In her newest historical romance, Landis leaves the 1820 U.S. frontier of Blue Moon for Victorian England with the story of Joya Penn, the daughter of a famous orchid hunter living on Matarenga, a Madagascar-esque island off the coast of Africa. Joya has always felt that some part of her was missing, and to compensate, she draws pictures of a girl she dreams about who looks just like her but lives in London. One day, Trevor Mandeville, an amateur orchid hunter, comes to offer Joya's father a deal with the Mandeville import company. He's awestruck when he casts eyes on Joya--not because she's wielding a machete and wearing much less clothing than a proper lady should, but because she looks exactly like his sister, Janelle. In order to learn more about her heritage, Joya accompanies Trevor back to England, where she tries but fails to acquire the ways of polite society. In a rehashed plot, Trevor marries Joya to save her reputation, but she flees back to Africa in the wake of her terminal gaucheness. Her husband follows her, at which point the lovers resolve to spend a month in a Matarengan marriage hut and then hunt orchids together. There are some good ideas here and a couple of good laughs among Landis's exotic set pieces, but the silly plot is beyond rescue. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/28/2000
Release date: 03/01/2000
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