REVIEW: Independent Heart by Juliet Waldron
(Being the account of Angelica TenBroeck’s flight from New York City during the late War of Independence, her would-be lovers, and a bluebird quilt)
Dear Mrs. Waldron,
I’m a sucker for 18th century historical romances and novels so finding your books was a delight for me. So far, I’ve read two but am saving the last. I hope you have plans to publish more as I hate to finish the last of any author’s books.
The above description is listed at the beginning of the book and it about covers the plot. Angelica is a daughter of an old Dutch New York family who has fled the frontier where she was born and raised and is staying with an aunt in New York City, recently lost to the British. It is here she meets one Major George Armistead who proves himself to be no gentleman when he attempts to kidnap her and force her to marry him. A man to whom she’s recently been introduced at a ball comes to her rescue and together they set out to return her to her home. But to get there, they will have to brave brigands, bandits, the British, the loyalists, the patriots, the Indians and each other. It’s quite a journey.
Readers who like very detailed historical novels, road romances, and war stories might find An Independent Heart to be for them. Angelica is a woman of common sense and bravery who falters only rarely under immense strains and pressures. Jack Church is the mystery of the story and we see many sides to him and learn about him when and as Angelica does. Is he the civilian we first meet? The younger son looking for land of his own and with family ties in the area? The former cavalryman who is no stranger to dirty fights and killing? Or someone else altogether? And when Angelica finally discovers who he really is, can she forgive enough for them to find a future if they even manage to survive the savage frontier fighting that rages all along the Hudson River?
You’ve got a slightly old fashioned style of writing that reminds me of books I read in the 1970s. At times flowery, slightly emotional at others, down to earth and blunt when needed. It’s also clear you’ve done your research which is threaded through the story and not dumped in heaps on the reader’s head. Lynne Connolly, mentioned you on the regency site and I’m very glad she did. Parts of it aren’t pretty but then civil wars (and that’s what the American Revolution was at times) never are.
Independent Heart isn’t without flaws (Jack’s kisses and caresses turn Angelica’s “no, no, no’s” into “yes, yes, yes’s” a few too many times plus the villain is a tad two dimensional) but for a different view of that War, I highly recommend it. B+ and perhaps verging higher upon reflection.