Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Heartless - Mary Balogh

Lucas Kendrick, the Duke of Harndon, had never met a woman like Lady Anna Marlowe. For years he had refused to feel love, but he was captivated by Anna's beauty and her rustic innocence. Anna's heart raced whenever she was around Lucas. After what seemed like a lifetime of pain and suffering, she had learned that life still held joy - and maybe love.

When they married, both Anna and Lucas were dreaming of happier futures. But those hopes were crushed when a cold confrontation found them denying their feelings. Anna felt foolish for believing that her nightmare past was over. She told Lucas that she had married only in the hope that her new husband would take care of her family. Lucas was furious that he had allowed himself to feel for someone again - and told Anna that he had married her only because of the duty of his station.

They resigned themselves to a heartless marriage of duty, and a return to past unhappiness. But in their hearts, their dreams would never die...

A long, long time ago, when I started reading romance, Heartless was one of the first Mary Balogh books that I read. I loved it! I loved Luke who, despite feeling betrayed, always treated his wife with respect and kindness.

Anna Marlowe is spending a season in London with her godmother and her sister. Orphaned she tried to keep her family together and to pay her father's debts so as not to burden her brother. Lucas Kendrick is back in London after spending several years in Paris in a self appointed exile. He had a bad relationship with both his father and his brother but now he is the head of the family and must take on his new responsibilities. He is not interested in marriage but when he meets Anna at a ball he can't help feeling attracted to her, even when he realises that his uncle and her godmother are plotting to bring them together.

Anna is not interested in marriage either, her life has been one of sacrifice and misery and she has decided that the best thing is to remain single. But she can't resist having that London season and once she gets to know Lucas she starts feeling that maybe she will have a chance at happiness after all.

However, the day after their marriage, a confrontation prevents them from sharing their real feelings and leads Lucas to believe the worst about Anna. They do plan to keep on living together but the trust is gone. They learn to get along civilly though.

Lucas and Anna travel to Lucas' country home so that he can start devoting himself to his obligations. He has to deal with his mother and sister and Anna has to deal with Lucas' sister-in-law who keeps trying to make trouble between them. Despite their bad start Lucas and Anna seem to be on their way to a good relationship, we see them slowly falling in love with each other even if they don't immediately realise it. Especially Lucas, who felt betrayed by love 10 years before and so believes that it can only bring deception and pain. But then someone from Anna's past comes back to haunt her and Lucas starts suspecting that all is not well...and that his wife may be in danger.

Balogh is a wonderful author, she writes believable stories and emotional characters. She usually writes Regencies but this story is a Georgian; at first her description of Lucas seems everything but manly but once we get to know him we can't help recognising his strength and magnetism. And of course after finishing this one I just had to read the sequel - Silent Melody.

Grade: 5/5

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