Mystery of the Heart
by Jillian Kent
Trade Paperback: 304 pages
Released: January 8, 2013
Source: Review copy from the publisher.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Lady Mercy Grayson longs to be a physician like her older brother, Lord Ravensmoore. Society would never tolerate a female physician, though, so Mercy disguised herself as a man to go to medical school. Her secret was uncovered, and now someone pursues her to obtain blackmail money and perhaps more...
Lord Eden has found a relic for the Regent--the spearhead said to have pierced Jesus' side on the cross and is rumored to heal illnesses. As he travels home to London, he rescues Mercy and returns her to her family on his way to see the Regent. But other people want the relic, too, and they violently take it from him. Mercy treats his wounds, but he must recover the relic for the Regent (and help keep Mercy safe while he's at it).
Mystery of the Heart is a Christian historical romantic suspense novel set in 1819 in England. This is the third book in a series. This book is a continuation of the previous books, so a good chunk of Mercy's story has already happened before the start of this book.
While this novel was set in the British Regency era, it read more like a Disney version of history. The national-level events were generally correct, but the characters were too modern--even for modern-thinking people of the era--in their knowledge and views. Actions that, in an Austen or Heyer book (also set in this time period), would cause an immediate, forced wedding or be the cause for utter disgrace were hardly remarked upon.
Eden and Mercy went from a mild sort-of-friendship to hugging and kissing in public (with less shock than a modern teenager would experience) while neither had any intentions of ever marrying anyone. Eden betrayed Mercy and the one thing that she was attracted to in him, yet he still wins her. When he finally decided he wanted to marry, he promptly went from not-interested-in-God to completely surrendered to Him since she was Christian. It's not a story that's highly realistic, but if realism isn't important, then it's a fairly fun, action-packed adventure.
The characters were nice enough, but I wasn't very impressed. Lord Eden knew that untrustworthy people with large gangs wanted the relic, yet he never planned on defending himself from them. He kept finding himself outnumbered and meekly handing the relic over to his attackers. Mercy felt that God had called her to practice medicine, but apparently being a midwife was too lowly because she interprets this to mean that God wants her to dress as a man and pretend to be one for the rest of her life so she can practice as a physician. And she thinks she can successfully do this even though her pretense had already been uncovered once.
For the Christian element, there were numerous scenes of various Ravensmoore family members ranting about how a holy relic can't heal, only God. I agree with their view, but I got it the first time. Several characters also wondered if they could know for sure if they were following God's will, and there were some brief references to the various characters praying.
There was a very minor amount of explicit bad language. There were no sex scenes. Overall, it's a fun story if you don't mind the lack of realism.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.
Excerpt: Read an excerpt using Google Preview.