Review: Untamed by Jane Shoup

By: Jane Shoup
Publisher: Diversion Books
Published: Aug. 6, 2013
Genre: Historical Romance

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A love too strong to be tamed: the true story of Tarzan, and the woman who loved him.

In 1908, on a mission to find a new breed of ape in central Africa, an unfathomable thing is discovered – a wild, white man, living amongst gorillas. Local villagers call him matokeo ya utafutaji kwa, the untamed one.

Joining the team of hunters and trackers searching for matokeo ya utafutaji kwa is Arianna Day, the 21-year-old niece of the expedition’s leader. She catches the untamed one’s eye and, believing she is meant for him, he takes her captive and claims her for his own, body and soul.

When Arianna is rescued, the untamed one is captured, and they are sent their separate ways: the wild man to learn language and social skills he’d long forgotten, Arianna back home to England to try to fit back into her old life. A promising marriage proposal awaits, but thoughts of the untamed one haunts her.

Amidst the backdrop of London in the summer of 1908, as the Olympic Games are hosted and the Franko-British Exhibition is held, the now-civilized wild man returns home, with his original name restored: Sebastian or ‘Zan’ Shaffer. He and Arianna are drawn together again only to be ripped apart by social convention and Marshall Derringer, the man determined to have her as his wife. But Zan is not the only one with an untamed heart…


1thoughtsAri and her uncle travel to Africa in hopes that they will be able to locate the wild man who’s been living in the jungle for the majority of his life. The only problem is, they have no idea that the second they stepped into the jungle, the wild one was watching them… Ari to be precise.

I was extremely excited to read this story. I’ve never read a re-telling of Tarzan before and this story sounded like a good one. You see, they capture the wild one, teach him how to be civilized and introduce him back into society as Zan. The only thing that Zan wants though is Ari but Ari is engaged to be married to another man.

There were way too many points of view in this story for me and there wasn’t always a definite break between them. So I found myself getting confused quite a bit when the POV would switch to a secondary or sometimes even more distant character. It would jump like this between chapters with no markings that the POV had changed. I also felt that all the POVs weren’t necessary. I would have much preferred just Zan and Ari’s POV with a little bit of Ari’s fiance mixed in. There was also a lot of scenes that were drawn out or not necessary. I found myself skimming over quite a bit of the story to get back to the important parts that were taking place.

I really enjoyed the beginning of the book when they find him in the jungle. The first encounter between Ari and Zan is so “untamed” and animal instinct driven that it’s hard to not get sucked into the rawness of it. I mean you figure he’s only known the way of animals so he lacks the understanding or the wrongness of what he does when it comes to Ari.

“She felt sore but not hurt. She’d been forced but did not feel abused. She did not hate him. She didn’t even fear him. He simply wanted her.”

It got me really excited for the upcoming story because surely it had to get better than that! But like I said a lot of the middle was boring talk and way too many POV’s to keep track of who I was reading from, that I lost interest for a while there. I wish the author had kept that same rawness throughout more of the story before it turned to Zan “the gentleman”.


1favequote“I’m sorry you feel impatient. Naturally, you should analyze precisely what that means and handle it accordingly.” -Ari


One Thought on “Review: Untamed by Jane Shoup

  1. Huh. That is different. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that’s based on Tarzan before. I’m liking that. I have a hard time though when there are so many pov switches. I’ve read a couple that did it extremely well but usually like you I end up lost and confused with them.

    herding cats & burning soup

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