AUDIO REVIEW: A Code of the Heart by Jacki Delecki, narrated by Pearl Hewitt

code of the heart audio

Available from Audible via Amazon.

Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was 11 years old. Or so she thought until a not-so-proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so-honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart.

Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancée, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking red-haired woman.

Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life.

On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.

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Publisher and Release Date: Doe Bay Publishing, February 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: London 1803
Heat Level: 2
Genre: Historical Romance
Reviewer Rating: 3 stars

Review by Wendy

This, the third in the Code Breakers series by Jacki Delecki, is a sweetly romantic espionage story. Miss Amelia Bonnington is saved from possible ravishment at a house party by acknowledged rake Lord Derrick Brinsley. He has a dark secret, one which has earned him his reputation and from which he adamantly refuses to defend himself, preferring society to believe the worst of him. The two are discovered sharing a passionate kiss and of course Amelia is compromised, although she laughingly refuses to be compelled to marry him – a fact about which Derrick is secretly disappointed. Amelia is fiery and brave, well deserving of her nickname’Red’ – which aptly describes her flaming red hair and intelligent and courageous nature; and for the first time, Derrick feels himself genuinely attracted to a woman for honourable reasons.

The two are palpably attracted to each other, although when he discovers that Amelia has been in love with a childhood friend since she was eleven, Derrick backs off, believing himself to be unworthy and unlikely to be able to win her love. Amelia feels the pull to Brinsley and as a result is soon able to put her childish infatuation into perspective and embarks on a plan to win his regard.

Lord Derrick Brinsley is quite scrumptious. As well as possessing extremely swoon-worthy good looks, he is an agent for the Crown involved in a covert mission to save British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents – who wouldn’t be attracted by such attributes? Protective, loyal Amelia stumbles into the plot through the involvement of a friend, and is determined to prove that friend’s innocence.

The story is narrated by Pearl Hewitt and although Ms. Hewitt has a pleasant voice I didn’t feel that she did justice to the fiery, independently free-spirited Amelia. She adopts a ‘little’ voice which just does not fit the image painted by the author of this intrepid young lady. Derrick’s speech is lengthened with drawn-out vowels; it is pitched well enough as to sound reasonably masculine but the slightly effeminate drawling rather spoilt it for me. When, at the time of their initial stolen kiss, Derrick says… “say my name, I want to hear Derrick on your lips”… I couldn’t take it seriously – little voice meets drawl just didn’t work for me, at least. Ms Hewitt also consistently mispronounces the word “ton” as “tone” which is quite disconcerting. Her talents definitely lie in the more character driven roles, such as Aunt Euphemia, who she portrays superbly.

In summary, A Code of the Heart is fairly light and fluffy considering its fairly serious subject-matter. I also think I might have enjoyed it more had I read the previous two books in the series, as reference is made to previous plots, and they are relevant as are the characters mentioned who crop up regularly in this novel. The author also talks of the protagonists waltzing – to the best of my knowledge, at the time this story is set, the waltz had not been introduced into England. There are annoying modern terms and Americanisms dotted throughout, too, which is incredibly annoying. Nevertheless, this is, on the whole, a well written story, if lacking a little grittiness and substance for my taste and I am sure that it will appeal to listeners in search of an “espionage-lite” spy story.

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