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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Hearts Restored by Prue Phillipson

It's not often I've seen a book of popular fiction set during the Restoration (England in the 1660's), although I know it was another amazing time of world-changing events, so I was curious to read Hearts Restored by Prue Phillipson. Historical events become important in the lives of the characters in this book, but they aren't dragged along by them. They make decisions with free will, appropriate to the context, and I was happy to bear witness.

The book is structured much like a romantic comedy movie. We meet a cast of very likable characters who, although they are all related in some distant way, come from diverse backgrounds. Meek Eunice has been raised in a harsh Puritan household, the French cousins defend their Catholicism against the onslaught of English varieties of worship, and Daniel comes from a welcoming, harmonious family in the North of England I couldn't help but wish was mine. I especially enjoyed the atmosphere created by Daniel's mother. The frank and open love she bears for her husband and son make her memorably sympathetic.

Daniel narrowly escapes marriage to one of the French cousins, attends Cambridge, and witnesses the horrors of war when he enlists in the royal navy. Eunice must pass through her own life-threatening situations, which I found the most interesting in the book, before reuniting with Daniel. The end of the book is heartfelt and well deserved. While I was reading, I did not realize that this is the second book in a series, it stands alone so well. It's exciting to know there is already another book with some of these characters and at least one more to come.

Overall, Hearts Restored is an enjoyable, light read, especially recommended for readers who want clean romance and to pick up a little history of the 1600's.

Hearts Restored will be released by Knox Robinson Publishing tomorrow, March 8.