Your older, angstier books are generally reliable in that even if when they are flawed, they make it easy for me to turn the pages. Such was the case with Heartless. It is the Georgian-era story of Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, and Anna Marlowe, the woman he marries after having only known her for a week. Ten years before, Luke had a falling out with his family after a duel with his older brother, and even the death of that brother eight years later did not bring him to England immediately. Despite having cultivated ennui, indifference and heartlessness along with French mannerisms while abroad, Luke is dazzled by Anna, as she is by him.
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Your older, angstier books are generally reliable in that even if when they are flawed, they make it easy for me to turn the pages. Such was the case with Heartless. It is the Georgian-era story of Lucas Kendrick, Duke of Harndon, and Anna Marlowe, the woman he marries after having only known her for a week. Ten years before, Luke had a falling out with his family after a duel with his older brother, and even the death of that brother eight years later did not bring him to England immediately.
Despite having cultivated ennui, indifference and heartlessness along with French mannerisms while abroad, Luke is dazzled by Anna, as she is by him.
But Anna has an enemy, one who blackmails her, sends her threatening letters, and stalks her. One who has gone to America, but promised to return and to take her away with him. Anna feels she cannot marry anyone, but she is so drawn to Luke and so happy in his presence that, after trying to put him off by confessing to having no money as well as to having a sister who is deaf-mute to support, she finds herself replying to his marriage proposal in the affirmative.
Luke too is attracted to Anna, perhaps even beginning to fall for her. He gives her an opportunity to tell him if she has more secrets, but she does not take it. And so Luke and Anna are married, and only Luke notices the stranger lurking outside the church in which they marry.
The morning after their wedding night, Luke calls Anna into his study and dashes her hopes that he did not notice the absence of her hymen.
He offers her a chance to explain, but though tears rise to her eyes, she remains silent even when he asked her if she loves the man to whom she gave her virginity. Luke takes that for a yes, but offers her a marriage in which duty and pleasure will supersede love. They will conceive his heir and other children, since they like each other well enough. As long as her past remains in the past, he will overlook her secrecy.
He is not capable of love in any case. There are tensions between Luke and other family members as well. When Luke confronts his brother, Ashley accuses Luke of heartlessness. It is a familiar accusation, one that has been leveled at Luke many times in the past. Blaydon tells Anna that she is only on loan to Luke, and implies that he will eventually insist on her desertion of her husband. A tense and frightened Anna asks Luke to take her home, and then seduces him in the carriage.
She tells him what she has begun to suspect—that she is pregnant. And she asks him to take her to his country estate, Bowden Abbey.
Henrietta befriends Anna and later encounters Luke while he is out riding, seemingly by accident but in reality purposefully. More such meetings occur, leaving Luke both discomfited and, without regard to his belief that he is heartless, afraid that Henrietta might still have power over him.
If Anna wants Luke to be capable of love, she does not complain to him. If part of Luke wishes he could trust his heart to Anna completely, he tells himself the current situation is for the best. Love hurts, and Luke has better cause to know that than most.
I had heard a lot of good things about Heartless prior to reading it—it is a favorite of some of my friends. And it started out well.
I liked Anna a great deal—she was sunny-natured and at ease with most people, as well as kind. The villain was twisted enough that I understood she had good reasons to feel afraid of him. Luke was interesting and a bit unusual, with an initial excess of powder and makeup that was attributed to his years with the French.
He also had long hair beneath his wig and even had a fan he was in the habit of snapping closed. The book was indeed absorbing, as I had hoped. I was grateful for all that, and it was a lot of why I liked Luke. I also liked the way his conflict with Ashley was resolved The resolution of the conflict with Doris felt like it needed more page time than it got. But there were problems I had with this novel. Her sultry and temperamental character struck me as stereotypical in the way French women are frequently portrayed in historical romance.
She was depicted as childlike, sad over her disability even after having lived with it all her life, and able to communicate only with those people with whom she shared a special connection.
As the novel continued on and Anna did not share her secret with Luke despite persistent attempts on his part to give her opportunities to do so, signs of empathy and affection on his part and even his assurance that he would protect her, I grew exasperated.
Not so much with Anna, who was too likable a character but with the plot that required her not to share her secret with Luke. Another aspect of the story that disappointed me involves a spoiler. Instead it was the birth of his child which thawed him. For me this was a middling book, and I give it a C.
REVIEW: Heartless by Mary Balogh
Maybe even more times than that? But no. It still feels fresh each time. For me, this book is Mary Balogh at the top of her game. Both MCs are emotionally damaged by events in their pasts. Luke was harshly kicked out by his family at the tender age of twenty, and built a shell around his emotions in order to survive. Anna has had to be the mother figure to her younger siblings after the loss of their parents.
Beschreibung bei Amazon New York Times bestselling author Mary Bologh has been a prolific novelist since she penned her first historical romance in Since then she has written close to one hundred novels and numerous novellas with her most famous being the New York Times bestselling Slightly series, which follows the always intriguing Bedwyn siblings, and the Simply series which follows four teachers at Miss Martins school for girls in Bath, England. As a result of her incredible writing career she has won many awards over the years including the Borders Group Bestselling Historical of the Year, several Waldenbooks Awards, two B. Also, her novel Simply Magic was a finalist in the Quill Awards. She was born Mary Jenkins in in postwar Swansea, Wales, UK, a town that had been heavily bombed and was still under rationing for a portion of her childhood. Though material possessions were few and life was sometimes difficult Mary had a generally idyllic childhood in part because of her active imagination. When her and her older sister, Moira, were young they had a collection of dolls they would always play with.
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