My friend Kelly (from Reading With Analysis) and I are in a constant state of book recommendations. The most recent gem Kelly recommended to me is a book called An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere. The first of the Love’s Grace series, Heart weaves an international trail of love, adventure, and friendship that drew me right in.
After falling in love with a man named Freddie and moving with him to Europe (unmarried!), Lizzie Poole’s reputation becomes tarnished when Freddie leaves her a year later. Her brother Tom to comes get her and decides upon their return to England to duel Freddie for his sister’s honor. When Freddie is killed in the duel, both Tom and Lizzie must flee to Australia to escape persecution for the duel. There, they meet a girl named Ria, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Lizzie. Ria, her husband Edward, and Lizzie and Tom all become fast friends. Unfortunately for them, this peaceful time doesn’t last for long. Sadly, Edward is murdered and Tom dies in a shipwreck. Left alone, Lizzie begins to lean about Ria’s life in England and the two come to find that Ria is actually Lizzie’s half sister. Unfortunately, tragedy strikes again when Ria dies of complications from a stillbirth (and a broken heart). On her deathbed, Ria makes Lizzie promise to return to England and masquerade as her to make amends for her and also to prove that the two were sisters. Now back in England and in disguise, Lizzie meets Ria’s brother-in-law Geoffrey Somerville who has inherited the title of Lord after Edward’s death. Although he is attracted to “Ria”, Geoffrey knows he cannot have her as she is the widow of his own brother, which is against the law. Fighting a growing attraction herself, how long can Lizzie keep up her facade?
I was extremely unsure of how I’d like this romance because of my feelings towards Geoffrey at first. His initial dislike of “Ria” didn’t make sense to me. He seemed to have transferred the hurt he suffered from his brother’s absence into dislike of his sister-in-law. When I was reading these parts I kept saying to myself, “Edward and Ria eloped together. It’s unfair of Geoffrey to place all of the blame for the ensuing scandal totally upon Ria’s shoulders” (and yes, I understand that Edward was dead and he could not longer blame him, but still.) As time went on however I grew to love Geoffrey’s steadfastness, especially when a certain male character began making life difficult for Ria/Lizzie.
There were definite plot twists that I did NOT see coming, and I often found myself greatly enjoying the unknown aspects of the story. It’s not often that romance novels throw me for a loop plot-wise. The formula for romance novels (at least the ones I’ve read) doesn’t vary in structure too much. We know that the main male and female protagonists fall in love, but cannot be together until they get over a major conflict hurdle. What makes romance novels differ from each other are the details and the way an author shares those details with the reader. I was highly impressed with Delamere’s storytelling capabilities, and will definitely be adding her as an author to watch for new releases from. Not only is her writing exquisite to read, but she writes with depth. Throughout the story the theme of redemption is beautifully interwoven in the plot. We see redemption for not only Lizzie and Geoffrey, but for Edward and Ria as well. In all, I’m definitely grateful to Kelly for this great recommendation. It was truly a beautiful read on multiple levels.
4 out of 5 Stars
An Heiress at Heart by Jennifer Delamere
Grand Central Publishing (2012)
eBook: 319 pages