Delamere, Jennifer. An Heiress at Heart. New York: Forever, 2012. ISBN-13: 978-1-4555-1893-7. Print List Price: $5.99
This is a book that I had wanted to read for a while, in part due to the simple fact that it was an inspirational, clean romance that released with a secular publisher, which I had until recently viewed as a bit of an oxymoron, at least these days. And based on some of the reviews I perused on Goodreads, the author or her agent’s choice to submit this series for publication with Forever/Grand Central Publishing led to this author reaching an audience that she would not have normally reached, those who are used to the often pejoratively named “bodice-ripper.” However, Delamere has since switched to the inspirational publisher Bethany House with her new series, a decision which might be more ideal for the intended target audience for her books, but again leaves a void for those who are looking for sweet romances at a cheap price in mass-market paperback.
As for the story itself, I adored it. Lizzie is a wonderful heroine, who despite her past mistakes, has a good heart. All she really wants is to have a family, since her indiscretion separated her from parents when she had to flee to Australia, and they have since died. But what really won me over was the hero. For a start, I think we need more clergymen heroes in romance, as well as more baron heroes, and he is both. But more than that, he is an honorable man who “refused to take up the dissolute and careless lifestyle that many of his peers were living.” (48)
It seems like way too many historical romances present the idea that a dangerous rake can be reformed, but this book is more realistic in the fact that that is rarely the case. James is a rake, but he is a charming one with at least some semblance of a moral code. Meanwhile, we have his old friend, Freddie, who is described as “ungentlemanly and dangerous,” (188) and meets a bad fate in the end, due in part due to this excessive living.