Monday, March 5, 2012
Review: Hearts Restored by Prue Phillipson
by Prue Phillipson
Historical Fiction/Historical Romance
Recieved from the publisher for honest review.
Publication date: March 8, 2012
Set at the start of the Restoration of Charles II, Hearts Restored follows Daniel Wilson Horden, the only male of his generation of the Horden family. On the day Charles II returns to London, Daniel and his parents meet up with some relations, where he is thrust into the path of three female cousins of marriageable age. Less than eager to be trapped into a marriage so soon, Daniel puts off his dream of joining the navy by following his father's wishes to enter the university. As a secondary story line, we follow Daniel's cousin Eunice who is raised by her widowed, Puritan father. Having a glimpse at the extravagant lifestyle of some of her Horden cousins, it clashes with the austere teachings of her father. Within five years, the characters are caught up in the war with the Dutch, the Great Plague, and the Great Fire raging through London.
I've always enjoyed stories set in the Napoleonic Wars and other military engagements around the time of the Regency, so the naval aspect of Hearts Restored. However, I was a little disappointed that There was not more of Daniel's live in the Navy. There was only a few chapters dedicated to it, and one major battle, but oh what a dramatic story in Daniel's life that battle creates.
It was an interesting juxtaposition between Eunice's life in a Puritan household, to Daniel's more (monetarily) comfortable life, and that of the wealthy Horden cousins. Most of my experience learning about the Puritans in history deals with those who immigrated to the American colonies. The information about Puritan England I found informative, and I thought Phillipson did a good job instilling some of the fear and horror over the plague and the Great Fire into her novel.
Hearts Restored has the romantic plottings one might expect in a novel set in the Romantic Era, but in this case the older women tend to focus more of their attentions on Daniel. They tease him, and try to force his opinions or attentions towards one of his cousins, and I found it unusual that these attentions were given so openly to a man. To be sure, they treat the young ladies in the same way, but for some they seem to have nothing better to do than tease Daniel about their schemings as well.
The relationship between Eunice and Daniel is sweet, but rather predictable, although that did not detract from the story for me. If anyone is looking for a clean read, this will work well for you, with exception of the naval battle. Overall, I would have liked a little something more for this to be a solid four star read for me. Aside from Eunice's father, all of the characters are of a fairly easy going temperment, so a little more of a fiesty or quarrelsome behavior could have lent a little more contrast to the characters.
If you are interested, there is a giveaway for Hearts Restored on Goodreads which goes through the 8th. Thanks to Knox Robinson Publishing for letting me read and review this title.