Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
What a lovely, lovely cover for Laura Frantz’s new novel A Bound Heart. You know how much I adore covers. 🙂
The first half of the book is set in Scotland in a village controlled by the kindhearted and tolerant, yet troubled, Laird Magnus MacLeish. Though they grew up together—were educated together—and the MacDougalls were once a powerful family, Lark MacDougall lives in a small cottage on his estate and works as herbalist and beekeeper. When tragedy links them, they’re both indentured and shipped away to new lives across the ocean.
This is a story of discovering a love greater than friendship and leaving the past behind for a new beginning.
Overall, I enjoyed the story and can recommend it. However, the biggest issue I had was that the story seemed the epitome of an episodic structure that dragged down the tension, depth, and immediacy. I found myself wanting the author to dig into certain plot points and delete others which felt more like background than actual necessity.
While the main characters are noble and well-rounded, and their experiences interesting, some of the incidences skimmed the surface without going into the emotional depth that they deserved. For instance, one traumatic scene ended with little consequential impact on the character’s emotions going forward.
Another character, whose role loomed important in the first half of the book, practically disappears in the second half and we discover his destiny second-hand. Since he’d been a POV character, I would have liked to have had a front-row seat to this and felt the fear, defiance, regret, or whatever other reactions the character underwent.
For me, A Bound Heart was not as thrilling as The Mistress of Tall Acre or Ms. Frantz’s 2018 Christy Award winner The Lacemaker. However, I will give it 4 stars for the more memorable moments, the use of a deft hand with the Scottish vernacular, and for carrying me to a time and place I could picture in my mind.
Have you read this book? Agree or disagree?