A Heart Revealed by Josi S. Kilpack
Amber Marie Sterlington, the Rage of the Season in Regency-era London, has her pick of men, and she knows what she wants most in a husband: a title and a fortune. Why would she ever marry for something as fickle as love? And why would she ever look twice at Thomas Richards, a third son of a country lord?
But when Amber's social standing is threatened, the character of her future husband becomes far more important than his position. After a public humiliation, she finds herself exiled to Yorkshire. Alone except for her maid, Amber is faced with a future she never expected in a circumstance far below what she has known all her life. Humbled and lonely, Amber begins to wonder if isolation is for the best. Who could ever love her now?
I have only read one of Josi Kilpack's other books, and that was Lemon Tart. It was one of her Sadie Hoffmiller Culinary Mystery Series, and I liked it. It was entertaining and I enjoyed the recipes in it. When I was asked to review this new book I was excited, especially since it is a different genre for her. I have read a few of the proper romances and have enjoyed them, so I couldn't wait to read this one. I was hooked from the start. It is very Jane Austin-esque with the setting in England and the season of balls, debutantes, and beautiful gowns. I enjoy reading about this time period, so I got all giddy when I realized that's what it was. Miss Amber Sterlington is "the rage of the season." She is the one who turns the men's heads and is never in want of company or a dance partner. She is beautiful with long dark hair and bright eyes. She has a distinctive voice and is confident in herself. Unfortunately, she is arrogant, mean, uncaring, and unlikable. I didn't like her at the beginning of the book. At all. She was rude to her servants and her sister, and she only cared about herself. She looked past many eligible men because of her station, and if they didn't fit her desire she would not give them the time of day. Then the unthinkable happens. This "unthinkable" thing was different than what I expected. I thought it was kind of corny at first, but then I saw where it could take the story and I realized that it does happen to people; it is a real thing. It may not be very common, but it actually fits here. The story is written well. It flows well, is easy to read and understand, and the character development is very good. I especially liked Suzanne, Mr. Richards, Fenton, and Darra. The growth that occurs in Amber, Darra, and Suzanne is fun to watch. Lady and Lord Merchant were characters that I did not like. I couldn't believe how they treated Amber. I couldn't imagine treating my children like that-ever! I enjoyed the lessons taught in this book. Unconditional love, treating others with respect and kindness regardless of their station, loyalty, friendship, and hard work were only a few.
The story was somewhat predictable; I had the who figured out right away, it was just the how that I wasn't sure about. It was cheesy and sappy, but that is what makes a romance a romance right? I also felt that there was a lot of time spent on getting to the ending, and then the ending was super fast. I wouldn't have minded a few less pages to get there and a few more pages to slow the ending down a bit. I think the decision made at the end was made quickly, and before much was known (I'm trying to say it so it doesn't give it away....), but that's also part of a romance, so it was ok here. I loved that it was clean. It is definitely a proper romance. There is some kissing. There is a slight allusion to symptoms that might be the result of an STD. There is not a name associated with it, and it never actually says it. A younger reader would probably not even pick up on it. It's so brief that I almost passed right over it. It's not a reason to bypass this book. Other than that it is squeaky clean, which is great. There is no profanity or violence. If you enjoy the proper romance genre the you will definitely like this one.
Rating: PG (Some kissing and a brief allusion to symptoms that might be the result of an STD--by the way, it's not an STD and the symptoms are not associated with that. It has nothing to do with that. It was simply speculation by another character that was briefly mentioned. I feel like I'm making it more than it was. It really was so vague and brief. I debated whether or not to even mention it, but I thought I better just in case. There is no "intimacy," profanity, or violence.)
Recommendation: 13-14 and up. It is YA approved, and it's great for adults too.
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.