Thursday, April 09, 2015

New Regency Romance Surprisingly, Touchingly Deep

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

With her gleaming mane of auburn hair, her twinkling green eyes, and her charming manners, it's no wonder 19-year-old Amber Sterlington is the Rage of the Season.  Men of the ton—single or otherwise—fall over themselves to win her attention, while the women seethe with jealousy at her ability to command a room with her natural charisma.  Confident in her ability to snag whomever she pleases, Amber is aiming for the bachelor with the highest title and biggest fortune.  She'll step on whomever it takes in order to get what she wants.  

Thomas Richards, the third son of a Northern baron, knows he has no chance with a debutante like Miss Sterlington.  She's not what he's looking for, anyway—someone as glamorous and vain as Amber could never be content as the wife of a gentleman farmer.  And yet, Thomas can't stop thinking about her.  Even though he's seen—all too vividly—how far beneath her notice she considers him to be.

When Amber suffers a shocking, very public abasement, she's knocked off her high society pedestal with a force that leaves her reeling.  Banished by her disgraced family, she's packed off to an isolated cottage in the wilds of Yorkshire.  Humiliated, Amber hides herself away, vowing never to show her face again.  For, who could ever love the hideous creature she's become?

What Amber doesn't know is that there's one man who's never forgotten her, one man who would gladly give her everything she desires ... if only she could find the courage to let him in.

I often dismiss Regency/Proper romances as trite, silly affairs appealing only as entertaining fluff between "real" books.  Maybe that's true (at least for me) in many—even most—cases, but not when it comes to A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack.  Although the novel's premise sounds as frivolous as any other Regency romance, it's got more going on beneath the surface than you'd think.  True, the topics it explores—the fickleness of the gentry, prejudice between social classes, gender inequality, physical attractiveness vs. inner beauty, etc.—are common to its genre.  That's not what makes A Heart Revealed stand out.  No, it's Kilpack's careful attention to character development and her skill at building realistically imperfect relationships that makes her story special.  Because of this, Amber's evolution from a selfish, spoiled brat to a concerned, capable woman is not just believable, but also touching.  Same goes for her interactions with the people around her.  It's all so authentic that I felt Amber's pains, ached for her sorrows, and longed for her happiness.  Her story kept me thoroughly engrossed, surprising me with its depth.  Honestly, I didn't expect to enjoy A Heart Revealed as much as I did, but I loved it.  It's a clean, complex, tearjerker of a romance—one that spoke straight to my heart.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me a little of Becoming Bayley by Susan Auten)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for mild sexual innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of A Heart Revealed from the generous folks at Shadow Mountain in exchange for my participation in the book's blog tour.  Thank you!

3 comments:

  1. I tend to avoid these books due to there trite lightness but this one sounds worth the read. Thanks for the recommendation.

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  2. Great review, and your praise really makes me want to read it. I read a glowing review the other day and definitely need to read this now. :-)

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  3. This looks so good! I’m always looking for new, well-written regency romance.

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