Monday, November 8, 2010

The Constant Heart - Mary Balogh


Miss Rebecca Shaw had lost her heart once in her young life - lost it and had it broken.

At last it had mended - mended enough for her to say yes when the handsome, high-minded young Reverend Phillip Everett asked her to be his wife and share a life of the purest propriety and best of good works.

But now Christopher Sinclair had returned. He was fee now of the marriage that had given him fabulous wealth at the price of leaving Rebecca behind and betrayed. He was free now to turn Rebecca's head again... away from the man who soon would be her lawfully wedded husband. And Rebecca was also free to change her mind - but was she foolish enough to turn toward a love that had proven faithless once and now could be utterly ruinous. . . .?

Another one of Balogh's oldies The Constant Heart tells the story of Rebecca Shaw, a young woman who suffered a big disappointment a few years before when her beau tells her that he is marrying a rich heiress he met in town and leaving her behind. Now she is engaged to be married to the village Reverend but the return of the man who betrayed her, now a rich widower, does make her heart feel divided.
Besides her disappointment with him Rebecca keeps hearing about how Christopher mistreated his wife. But she can't seem to stay away from him as they keep seeing each other everywhere and he is always very civil to her. When they meet by accident in the forest and Christopher tells her he still cares for her Rebecca has a hard time dealing with the feelings that his declaration bring to surface.
But soon she finds out that maybe not all that has been said about him is true, that he has been helping her through the years without her knowledge and the real reasons behind his actions.
I thought this plot had great potential for an angst ridden story. Unfortunately, although there are some emotional moments, that potential is not fulfilled. Maybe because we only know Rebecca's side of it or because Christopher actually does seem like a nice guy and there isn't much misunderstanding on that score. That lack of emotion prevented me from being totally engaged in the story and it didn't quite work as I was expecting it to.
The secondary characters were really nice and the love stories they developed also made for a good read. They were the kind of people I wouldn't mind revisiting at a later date to see how well they deal with each other.

Grade: 3.5/5

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