I'd been wanting to try this series and Ruth Axtell's books so I was glad when I got the chance to read this one. Now that I've read book 2 I'm going to have to go back and read the first one to learn the backstory.
A funny coincidence is that right before I read A Heart's Rebellion, I read Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. Coincidence, because this book really reminded me of Northanger Abbey: the clothing, dances, conversations, really the whole Season experience.
I have to admit that I really didn't like Jessamine at first. She is very self-centered and headstrong. But as the story progresses, and especially after a frightening incident, God begins the slow process of molding her into the young lady she is meant to be.
On the whole, A Heart's Rebellion is a sweet, romantic, and fairly light Regency-era adventure. If you are looking for a historical with a Jane Austen-esque flavor this book would be a perfect choice. Great for a quiet evening with tea and book.
(I received a copy of this book from the publisher through TBCN in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are entirely my own.)
A Heart's Rebellion is the second book in Ruth Axtell's London Encounters series. I did't care for this book what so ever, I had to force myself to keep reading it. There were times I wanted to throw it in the corner but I managed to finish it. One of the things that made this book difficult for me to read was the extensive details about botany, something the characters bonded over through the story. They used many words I didn't understand and didn't even really care to know. It was very confusing and I wanted them to move on. I did not care for the heroine Jessamine Barry, I found her annoying and couldn't connect with her. She spent most of the book trying to break men's hearts because she'd had hers broken a couple years before. I found this an odd direction to take the story in and thought it to be very childish of Jessamine. She is also very selfish, focusing only on herself most of the book. Lancelot Marfleet is the hero in this book. Though he is an okay character and I connected with him more than Jessamine he is not a favorite of mine. He is geeky, but loyal to Jessamine, though I must admit that I often wondered why. There were a few times I wanted him to give up on her but he never did. One of my main complaints is the lack of chemistry between Jessamine and Lancelot, though they fall in love at the end there didn't seem to be much attraction between them. I wanted their relationship to have more depth to it. Another thing that really bothered me was a specific sexual scene that was very descriptive which I did not appreciate at all. Jessamine also drank so much at one point that she ended up with a hangover the next morning. Something else that disappointed me was the spiritual content, it seemed almost forced, even though Lancelot was a minister. As the book went on it seemed to become less important. The best part of this book was Celine, one of the secondary characters. She had a very strong faith in God. She is also sweet and very kind, even when Jessamine was rude. All in all I give this book one star and do not recommend it. I received this book through The Book Club Network for my honest opinion, which I have given. I was not required to give a positive review and all opinions expressed are mine.
I have not yet read a Ruth Axtell novel I have not enjoyed. This actually follows the book Moonlight Masquerade in her London Encounters series. I was in no way lost and this book provides enough backstory, yet not giving up all of the previous book's secrets. Which is great, since I have the first book, I just have not read it yet. This is the story of Jessamine Barry who is very heartbroken after her intended married the previous book's heroine. She comes from a very simple life, her father a vicar of a country church. She is currently in London with her best friend for a season. She is still nursing her very broken heart which, as the title suggests, has become a rebellious heart. She is not necessarily looking for another love interest, she just wants to know that she can be found attractive by other men. So throwing caution to the wind, she begins to act in a way she would not have normally done. She does attract men's attentions, some good and bad. She will learn just who has her best interests at heart and who only cares about his own desires. This was a journey with Jessamine through regency England balls and dances, as she learns forgiveness and to realize that she has self-worth, and discovers who her champion was all the time and that he never gave up on her. I received this book from The Book Club Network, Inc. and the opinions are my own.
A Heart's Rebellion is very enjoyable. I learned more about the Regency "Coming Out"period and all the rules and regulations that go with it. It is fun to watch the two friends enter London's society together and how their experieriences then differ. There is romance involved but there is also learning who to trust and who not to and why.
I recieved this book from the Book Club Network in exchange for my honest opinion.
Regency romances encompass a world all their own. The setting is unique as is the manner of speech, way of thinking, clothing styles and belief system. I started reading books of this genre back when I was in high school. I also enjoyed some Victorian era literature. It was easy to recognize that this author is immersed in the culture. The effortless use of the vocabulary, idioms, government conflicts, and popular public figures used in this book demonstrate this. It made slipping into the story much easier. There were even some terms in this book I was not familiar with. I found it to be a refreshing change from those who write of the era but only throw in terms and well known historical figures from time to time to add authenticity though it feels forced. For me, the author's attention to detail made the story come alive.
Jessamine Barry grew up in the country, the only daughter of the small town minister and his wife. Her quiet life was tranquil and ideal until her best friend's brother broke her heart. In her efforts to recover, Jessamine and her friend Megan decided on a change of pace--a season in London with Jessamine's godmother, Lady Bess, who kindly sponsored both young ladies. Once they had arrived, Jessamine tried to affect a change of appearance and behavior, to throw herself into having as much fun as possible. She would reject the familiar. In her efforts to experience the whirlwind social life, she made some errors in judgment.
One of the young men Jessamine and Megan became acquainted with was Lancelot Marfleet. He had recently returned from two years as missionary in India, recovering from serious illness. Not having been out in polite society recently, his first blunder while observing the doleful expression on Jessamine's face was the mocking comment, "Your frown could crack marble." He was only commiserating with her sentiments about the parade of people she and Megan were watching at an event, but she took offense. Since that opening gambit, they seemed destined to clash wherever they met, especially when she discovered how similar he was to her father.
Lancelot was facing issues of his own. He had wanted to return to India, but his poor health made it currently impossible. He was living in his parent's home, and they were applying pressure for him to marry and produce an heir, since his older brother had not. He was concerned about his brother's reckless lifestyle. But he reluctantly attended a few events where he met Miss Barry and Miss Phillips. In spite of Jessamine's antagonism toward him, he felt attracted to her.
At first, the introductory set-up for the two main characters seem to drag a little bit. However, I realized it was an appropriate way to convey the tediousness of the social life of the ton and their endless rounds of social events showcasing the young women presenting themselves for "the marriage mart." In writing this, the author has demonstrated a contrast between the idealism that many of the young ladies held, while at the same time exposing some of the unsavory underbelly of those who preyed upon the naive.
The author also effectively draws the reader into the inner conflict of Jessamine's heart as she struggled for affirmation. I felt that her efforts to fight against the invisible restraints from society and parental expectations was realistic and something many readers would feel kindred to. Many can remember times when we tested the boundaries to determine where we stand in the world. She was also dealing with the loss of her first love. When she finally met Rees's new bride and saw for herself how much they loved each other, the finality of the situation caused her pain but also released her to move on with life. But as is often the case, it took a near tragedy to wake her up to the real world and the opportunities she had been passing by.
When all is said and done, the love story is stormy yet sweet, Jessamine and Megan's friendship is heartwarming, the overall pace is comfortable, and the resolution is satisfying. I enjoyed the book and can recommend it to anyone who enjoys Christian Regency romance books.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Book Club Network on behalf of Revel, a division of Baker Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."