Wednesday 24 July 2019

Book Review: The Deserted Heart by Mary Lancaster

Last Updated: 16 September 2021

The Deserted Heart by Mary Lancaster book cover

Unmarriageable? Or simply unusual?

There can only be one reason for the proud Duke of Alvan’s proposed visit to Audley Park. He means to offer for Lord Overton’s beautiful daughter, Thomasina, thus saving the family’s waning fortune. In the midst of the hectic preparations for his arrival, Overton’s least marriageable daughter Charlotte remembers to collect her young brothers from school for the holidays.

When fog forces them to spend the night at the Hart Inn, they are astonished to find the house deserted, save for one other enigmatic traveller who deals most capably with armed intruders. Drawn to their unconventional new friend, Charlotte enlists his help to solve the mystery.

Amidst the upheaval of the duke’s visit, to say nothing of the chaos caused by Charlotte’s unmanageable pet terrier, the Hart becomes the focus of nefarious doings, kidnappings, and romantic entanglements. For Charlotte is unwise enough to fall hopelessly in love with her sister’s intended husband, and the duke hides too many secrets of his own.

Will they find their happily ever after with each other?

The Deserted Heart is the perfect example of a romance read done right, featuring a cute couple, a series of hurdles to overcome, and a sweet relationship that slowly blossomed over time. Set against the backdrop of period England, class and wealth also play a prominent role in the story, adding a further layer to this historical romance novel.

The main characters, Charlotte and the Duke, meet in the most unlikely of circumstances, sparking a story that initially reads much more like a suspenseful mystery than a sweet romance. However, as the story progresses, their relationship goes from strength to strength, defying societal conventions and wending towards the pair's happily ever after.

However, one of my few criticisms about the book is the ending. After building the story with wonderful pacing throughout, the author seems to suddenly latch onto a sense of urgency and rush through the ending very swiftly. Personally, I would have preferred to read a more fleshed-out ending, but this did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. I look forward to reading the rest of the books in the Unmarriageable series!

Rating: 4 stars

The Deserted Heart is available to buy now.

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