This story is book Three of the Ravensmoore Chronicles by Jillian Kent. Book One is Secrets of the Heart, the tale of Mercy’s brother Devlin, and Book Two is Chameleon, the story of Mercy’s sister Victoria. I have not read either of these two books of the series, nor have I read any other books by Jillian Kent. However, this book can be read independently of the other books in the series.
When you open the cover of this book and go to the first page, the action leaps out at you, gallops by and keeps on going! I love a book that grabs your attention right from the beginning. It often leaves the reader trying to pick up on clues as we read along, and this book is no exception. The author, Jillian Kent, has done this so well with the Mystery of the Heart. There are breaks in the action that provide a back story, sometimes in flashback form, that offers explanations for some present activity. But more often than not, the reader must ponder the clues right along with the characters.
The setting is regency England, and King George III is very ill. The Crown Prince, his son, is in charge. There’s a mystery involved and the Lord Eden is right in the middle of it. He is on an errand for the Prince when he discovers a girl, in disguise, washed up on the shores of Northumbria. There is no shipwreck in sight. The circumstances that bring them there is part of the complex mystery.
Lady Mercy Grayson herself is on a mission that requires secrecy, at first from her own family, but eventually from society in order to preserve their reputation from a scandalized ton. Somehow all the intrigue of both individuals becomes intertwined in a series of events that keep throwing Lady Mercy and Lord Eden together.
The occurrences include an artifact that is believed by some to have some kind of powers. The Prince wants to investigate these powers for his own use and advantage. Lord Eden is not so certain there is merit in those beliefs. As he becomes more acquainted with Lady Mercy’s family, including the Lord “doctor” Devlin, they are afforded opportunities to assist him in his quest for the truth. Eventually when Lord Eden is injured and seeks out Lady Mercy and her family for help, Mercy’s secret is revealed; she has a desire to study medicine. Her family is sympathetic, but know that is an almost impossible goal since society frowns on women performing those tasks.
Both the lively action and character development keeps this story moving along at a brisk pace. The mixture of affairs of state, the intrigue and mystery surrounding the stolen artifact and Lord Eden’s quest to recover it, an intriguing addition of African American cultural and religious beliefs of the time period as they apply to this quest, and spiritual elements in the development of Lord Eden’s character combine to make this a very interesting book to read. I also enjoyed the light romantic elements included in the story line.
The story was researched adequately and many details lent credibility to the time period. I always enjoy a well written historical fiction. However, I did have some reservations about the artifact that played an important part of the mystery. I found it difficult to believe the Prince would send one person to another country to borrow an artifact that is in fact a religious relic without the approval of the official church, and without an armed escort. I also found it difficult to believe one country would lend such a relic to another on the word of a single individual, at the risk of theft or fraud, which could have placed peaceful relations between the two nations at risk. It was painfully obvious that Lord Eden’s mission of secrecy was common knowledge with more than a few members of society. The theft was too easily accomplished–both times. This makes the male protagonist vulnerable to the reader’s loss of good opinion. I also felt that once the relic was recovered and given to the care of the Prince, the issue of its efficacy was not satisfactorily resolved.
In spite of these deficits, the book was still an enjoyable read. Lord Eden proved his worth to the Prince, to Lady Mercy’s family, and eventually to Lady Mercy herself. More importantly, his restless heart found peace with God in the midst of the uncertainties of the final chapters of the story.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from The Booketeria on behalf of Charisma Media/Realms. 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.”