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Book Review: A Heart’s Rebellion by Ruth Axtell

Jessamine Barry, daughter of a vicar, has lived an obedient and dutiful life and where has it gotten her? Rejected by the man she loves and vowing never to love again.  

Lancelot Marfleet, second son of a baronet, is taken with Jessamine at first sight, but she makes it clear she doesn’t consider him husband material.

Cover Art

A Heart’s Rebellion is the first novel I’ve read by Ruth Axtell. It’s Regency Romance to the bones. Though it isn’t listed as the second novel in a series, it does include the main characters from Ms. Axtell’s Moonlight Masquerade.

Set in the spring of 1815, Jessamine and her friend, Megan Phillips, are in London for their first “season.” Jessamine, who already suffers a lack of self-esteem, feels ignored by the men during the various social events. Two years earlier, Megan’s brother broke off his relationship with her when he fell in love with a beautiful woman with the ability to turn the heads of exciting men, so Jessamine sets out to prove she’s attractive to men. The problem is, she picks the wrong man.

Lancelot isn’t your typical romance novel hero in either appearance or character, which is fine. I tend to get a little tired of the Hollywood hunks. He’s a man whose desire is to preach the gospel and save souls. But since his brother, the Marfleet heir, remains childless, his family pressures him to find a wife and produce a son to inherit one day. Lancelot refuses to marry except for love. The problem is, the woman he wants, makes it clear she does not want him.

As I said, this is a Regency through and through, and I like Regencies. Although I enjoyed the story overall and the writing is strong, I felt the beginning dragged. My opinion is that much in the first seventy pages could be deleted and the novel started closer to the time Jessamine makes the following decision: 

Excerpt —

Mr. Marfleet might be the worthiest of young gentlemen, but she was no longer interested in impressing a worthy gentleman. She was interested in…a gaggle of men fawning over her.

Even so, if you’re a fan of novels set in the Regency period, I’m sure you’ll enjoy A Heart’s Rebellion, a story of God’s grace and forgiveness.

Do you have a favorite book set in the regency period? A favorite author of novels with that setting?

Disclosure of Material Connection: This book came to me free from the publisher, Revell, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

As an author of heartwarming historical and contemporary romance, Sandra Ardoin engages readers with page-turning stories of love and faith. Rarely out of reach of a book, she's also an armchair sports enthusiast, country music listener, and seldom says no to eating out.

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  • Sybil Bates McCormack

    I enjoyed your review, Sandra. I completed “A Heart’s Rebellion” this past weekend and actually spent the first seventy pages taking copious notes (just in case I ever want to write a really, really authentic Regency one day). LOL! I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the book and absolutely fell in love with the ginger vicar. Blessings to you, my dear!

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