The most recent Goodreads First Reads giveaway novel that this pedometer geek read was Hart’s Desire, the debut novel of Chloe Flowers. This proof copy was even signed by the author. This is the extended review.
by Chloe Flowers
Published by Flowers & Fullerton, 2016
Hart’s Desire is the first in a series of historical romances that are subtitled Pirates and Petticoats. The others in the saga are Hart’s Passion and Hart’s Reward. The author also has at least one other novel, Pirate Heiress (which this reader has also received through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway, but I digress).
Opening the book itself, this reader found several things that were truly refreshing. First and foremost was the author’s Acknowledgment page which started with her thanks to Kathleen Woodiwiss and her novel A Rose in Winter, which turned her into an avid reader of historical romances. For a debut author, she is particularly savvy about thanking those who have helped her along the way. Moreover, she even included a letter to her readers thanking them for reading and giving her feedback and opinions on the story. She further indicates to contact her if any typos or mistakes are noticed despite the book have undergone professional editing and proofreading. In addition to this, she even suggests loaning it to a friend after finishing.
At the end, she again writes a letter to the reader again expressing her appreciation for reading her novel. Added to that Ms. Flowers also includes a few recipes prepared by one of the characters (Ruth) in the story.
Now, about the story itself. Set in Charleston, South Carolina prior to the War of 1812, this romance features green-eyed Keelan Grey as a feisty, spirited, and beautiful young woman and Landon Hart, the sea-going captain of the Desire. When first they meet, Hart and his partner Conal O’Brien mistake Keelan for a young boy. Dressed as a young lad, Keelan is being trained in self-defense by her father’s servant Daniel. It is only after she removes her scarf does Landon realize his mistake, and he is entranced with her spirit and beauty.
Because of her late mother’s experience, Keelan knows the heartbreak of loving a man of the sea and vows to never let it happen to her, yet she can’t help but fall for the dashing Hart. This especially is true when he becomes an ally, protecting her more than once. Then she finds that his kisses are delightful even if the first one comes as a bribe to keep one of her secrets.
Keelan’s father is dying so, being concerned for her future welfare, he wants her to get married, and an arranged marriage is in the works. That, however, is not in Keelan’s plans for her life, and the two suitors, elderly Mr. Pratt and Everett Garrison, her father’s physician, are not of her choosing. Still, Landon, the man who captures her heart, is a rake, and she doesn’t want to admit to her feelings for him even when she finds herself in a compromising position.
When she is forced to make a decision about whom she will marry, she reluctantly agrees to one of the three, but which one? Will she admit what she feels for Landon, or will she marry another?
Writing a historical novel is always tricky, but the author has managed to make the language and the situations seem true to the times. Despite the editing, there are a few mistakes, but none are so glaring as to destroy the enjoyment of the story. The most egregious is the repeated misspelling of the word, court-martial.
While the story ends on the pair’s happily-ever-after, there is still a mystery to be resolved in the following novel. With an excerpt of the next novel Hart’s Passion included in this proof, the author gives enough background from this one that a reader wouldn’t be totally lost if he or she happened to miss this one and started with the second novel. As for this reader, hopefully, I’ll have the opportunity to read the other two in order. That the author loves one of my favorite romances, A Rose in Winter, is just an added plus.