3 out of 4 stars
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Aniela and Jessie grew up worlds apart. Aniela’s life was consumed with all of the trappings of 1840s high society England: fine gowns, lavish balls, and eager suitors waiting for her eighteenth birthday. Stolen at birth, Jessie lived the life of a street urchin, hustling to stay alive while living with her prostitute mother and barbaric step-brother. Their lives tangentially intersect when best friends Lucian and Jaylon become unwitting participants in the lives of both women.
At the bequest of her father and unbeknownst to the daughter, Lucian courts Aniela and asks her to marry him. Aniela can’t get a brief encounter with Jaylon out of her head and plans a trip to Boston prior to their wedding, only to have her ship sink with her on it before leaving the harbor. Meanwhile, a gravely injured Jessie escapes her step-brother’s violent advances for a final time and gains passage on the only ship to leave the harbor that night. Assuming his fiance’s inevitable demise, an anguished Lucian commands his ship to leave port unaware of the stowaway trying to pass as a young boy.
M.L. Taylor’s Follow Her Heart is an intriguing historic romance novel that predominantly focuses on the lives of Jessie and Lucian. The story takes the reader on a journey far from the gritty beginnings of Jessie’s miserable life. There is a fun balance of the pomp of the English nobility and the lives of the working class. Taylor includes the perfect amount of mystery to keep readers turning the pages to figure out the origins of Jessie’s life in addition to following the tumultuous romance between her and Lucian.
The plot is very interesting and does not disappoint as major revelations are exposed; however, the editing of the novel seriously falls short and does not do justice to the interesting tale weaved by the author. In addition to grammar and spelling errors, there are abrupt shifts in point of view and infrequent but cringe-worthy interpretations of slave dialect. Readers of modern romance novels or the new adult genre will need to force themselves to suspend belief throughout the novel in order to immerse themselves in this romance. This book is a slightly more modern version of the Fabio-covered paperbacks found in your mother’s cart at the supermarket.
All in all, I give this intriguing romance a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. As a lover of historical romance novels by authors like Paula Quinn or Maya Banks, this novel was a little too old-school romance for me. While Follow Her Heart could use another solid round of professional editing, lovers of Regency romance and rags-to-riches stories will really enjoy this novel. There is no cliffhanger ending for Jessie and Lucian, but you will absolutely want to run out and pick up the next novel in the series as soon as you turn the last page.
Follow Her Heart
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