Friday, May 27, 2011

Secrets of the Heart by Jillian Kent

Book One in the Ravensmoore Chronicles

Madaline Whittington faces demons of the heart. After losing her father to what she believes to be a medical error, and siblings to small pox, her opinion of anyone associated with the medical field is anything but flattering. But God has a sense of humor. Or, is it more accurate to state God is the healer of all things-broken hearts, sick bodies, and mental confusion? These are the lessons that only the future Dr. Grayson, aka Earl of Ravensmoore, can teach Madaline. When Madeline requires the skills of a doctor following an accident, it is medical student and aspiring doctor Devlin Grayson to the rescue. However, she initially panics when she recognizes him, and her perception that he is the one responsible for her father’s death dominates her feelings for him. As fate would have it, their paths continually cross, causing much conflict between her anger and a growing desire for the Earl.

Devlin, on the other hand, is determined to sacrifice any social elevation to become a servant instead of remaining royalty status only. When his affection for- and future with-Madeline is challenged by her disregard for his vocation, he leaves medical school to contemplate what he really wants in his future.

More than a love story, Secrets of the Heart exposes the raw emotions of those hurting, and asks the reader to look for a deeper meaning to the seemingly obvious physical or emotional state of others. Bitterness is not a superficial emotion that can be conquered using mind over matter intellect. In the same manner, we all grieve differently. Where it looks as if one has moved on too quickly, it may appear another wallows in the darkness of loss. Yet, how can one truly minister on an individual level if we categorize each other and demand everyone act and react in virtually the same manner? Then there is the tendency to disregard those mentally ill. It takes empathy to determine what true mental illness is and what is depression, oppression, grief, or some other misunderstood but natural human emotion. Thankfully, we see in our generation a stronger compassion for those battling issues with the mind, and a greater understanding will breed healing without having to take the extreme measure of committing a loved one. How can loneliness or possible caretaker abuse ever help bring restoration?

Written with compassion and great sympathy for the subject matter, Kent has written a novel to savor. I could have finished much quicker than the few days it took, but I just couldn’t bear seeing the end coming. It is very rare that I find a book that I try to make last, like one would a box of fine chocolate. Kent used the Regency prose perfectly. For those that think this type of writing happens naturally, only in cases like Secrets of the Heart. Too many times, I closed a novel prematurely because it was overwhelming with the intentions of being regent and Jane Austin-like, yet the author couldn’t pull it off. Kent delivers an authentic tale about ladies and gentlemen, love and hate, sickness and health, and God’s mercy in a beautifully packaged novel.

Some readers will indulge and have the novel read in a day. It is that good. If you restrain, you can make the experience last and savor it in many sittings. Otherwise, you will have to wait until 2012 when Book Two, Chameleon, is released.

Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Realms (May 3, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 161638185X
ISBN-13: 978-1616381851
Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.5 x 1 inches