AUDIO REVIEW: The Renegade’s Heart (True Love Brides #2) by Claire Delacroix, narrated by Saskia Maarleveld

the renegade's heart

This title may be purchased from Audible via Amazon

Released from the captivity of the Fae, Murdoch Seton wants nothing more than to forget his lost years. Undertaking a quest to recover treasure stolen from his family seems the perfect solution – but Murdoch is not counting upon a curious maiden who holds both the secret to the theft and his sole redemption.
Isabella is outraged to find her brother’s keep besieged by a renegade knight – especially one who is too handsome for his own good or hers. After a single encounter, she becomes convinced that his cause is just and decides to unveil the true thief, never imagining that their single shared kiss has launched a battle for Murdoch’s very soul. As the treacherous Fae move to claim Murdoch forever, Isabella seeks to heal the knight who has stolen her heart. But will Murdoch allow her to take a risk and endanger herself? Or will he sacrifice himself to ensure Isabella’s future?

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Publisher and Release Date: Deborah A. Cooke Publishing, September 2015

RHR Classifications:
Time and Setting: Medieval Scotland
Genre: Historical/Paranormal romance
Heat Level: 2
Reviewer Rating: 3 stars

Review by Wendy

I admit that I opted to review this audiobook principally because I enjoy listening to audiobooks, because actually, the premise of this Medieval/Paranormal was somewhat outside of my comfort zone. Initially, I struggled to enjoy it, and had it not been an audiobook, I may not have finished it. But I persevered and ultimately found it to be a passable listen, but even so I had to backtrack a few times to get the gist of the rather complicated storyline.

Murdoch Seton has returned to his homeland after an absence of three years, although to begin with he is unaware of the lengthy time lapse. His father has died in his absence and his brother, now the reluctant Laird, is blaming Murdoch for the misfortunes that have befallen the family. Murdoch, has in fact been ensnared by the Elphine Queen and has unwittingly sold his soul to her in exchange for his short term release to return home to see his family. Unknown to him, his freedom will last only one short month, after which the queen will take Murdoch forever into her fae world. She holds a replica of his heart in a rather macabre orb – throughout the story we get glimpses of the heart turning black and slowly dying within it.

Murdoch is as yet unaware that he is living on borrowed time, but is determined to make amends for his unintentional desertion of his family. He sets out on a quest to retrieve a stolen holy relic, and is led to Kinfairlie where he meets nothing but cool hostility from the Laird, Alexander. He does, however encounter an unexpected ally – Isabella, one of the Laird’s younger sisters. Although she does not believe her brother to be a thief, she does believe he is lying and so begins to help Murdoch; no doubt the fact that the two immediately clicked helped her in her decision.

As the story progresses we see more of the fae, an apparently parallel universe of tiny creatures, living out of sight of all but a few of the humans of the medieval keep of Kinfairlie. While I am not a lover of this kind of story, I can see why Claire Delacroix has such a following – she writes well and with great imagination. And if you like fairies and fae creatures then this story might hold some appeal for you. The author does, however, have one particularly irritating writing trait – she uses the character’s names so often that I felt like screaming; whilst listening I counted the use of Isabella’s name alone sixteen times in five minutes! Once Murdoch and Isabella embarked on their courtship she became ‘my Isabella’ which had me cringing.

Narrator Saskia Maarleveid does a decent job – she captures the honourable, trustworthy and knightly demeanour of Murdoch Seton particularly well, with her slightly husky tones. Her portrayal of most of the characters is good and each one is different enough so the listener is able to know who is talking at any given time. Unfortunately, her regional accents – particularly the Scottish and Irish ones – are very disappointing.

Ultimately, The Renegade’s Heart was just an “okay” listen. I doubt that I will become a follower of Ms, Delacroix, although if you are a fan of paranormal romances, then this title may work for you better than it did for me.

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