Heart of the Tiger by Lynn Kerstan


Originally published in 2003 by Onyx Books – this review of the new edition for Kindle, published 2012.

“Mira” Holcombe has only one goal in life: To destroy the Duke of Tallant, Jermyn Keynes. Simply for the pleasure of it, he ruined her life, robbed her family of their land and valuables, and now threatens to destroy them entirely. How can a young woman caring for her disabled father bring down a powerful aristocrat? Only her father knows her deepest secrets, and he hopes that in London she will find a kind and gentle man to wed. But Mira is focused only on vengeance, whatever the cost. As she devises a plan to kill the duke, she discovers that Tallant’s dark-souled younger brother, Michael, is bent on the same course. Can she believe he’ll help her? Dare she trust him?

Michael Keynes once burned with dreams and goals, but all have been consumed by his determination to rid the earth of his tyrannical brother. After meeting the irresistible Mira, his mission changes. He resolves to protect her at any cost – but can he save Mira from her worst enemy . . . herself?

Neither can deny the electricity between them. Mira bewitches him with her sharp tongue and quick wit. Michael captivates her with his rakish brand of honor and his brilliant scheming on her behalf. Will she be able to escape the past and dare to reach for a better future? Will Michael see beyond the family’s despicable heritage and make a new start in his own life? Can they redeem each other?

RHFL Classificationa:

Heat Rating: 2

Historical setting – 1820s

RHFL RATING: 4.5 stars

Review by Caz

This is the sequel to The Golden Leopard and the second in Lynn Kerstan’s Big Cat Trilogy. In it, we are re-introduced to Mira Holcombe and her invalid father, who had played a part in helping Hugo and Jessica locate the Golden Leopard in the previous book. Like it, Heart of the Tiger has strong elements of Indian folklore and some Indian characters who are central.to the story. Our hero this time is Michael Keynes, younger brother of the execrable Duke of Tallant and whose sole aim in life is to kill his brother. To that end, Michael has spent a great deal of time in India, making his own considerable fortune while at the same time ruining his brother’s business interests there.

The Duke of Tallant is unscrupulous, ruthless and utterly evil – not for nothing is he known as “The Beast”.  On his return to England, Michael meets Mira, whose intentions towards the duke are the same as his – and is immediately fascinated by her. She also feels powerfully drawn to Michael, but sees him as a dangerous distraction and tries to avoid him at all costs. She also feels ‘damaged’ because of an incident that took place years before. It’s easy to guess what happened, but what keeps one’s interest is gauging how much Michael knows and what Mira will tell him.

There is a murder-mystery element to the story, but this isn’t a whodunnit and it’s difficult to say much more than that without completely spoiling the plot, other than that the murder is a catalyst for a chain off events that serve to show just how far Michael and Mira will go to protect each other.

I found Heart of the Tiger to be a real page-turner and had to read late into the night to finish it! Michael is gorgeous, dangerous and utterly compelling and Mira is more than up to his weight and doesn’t let him get away with anything. The sparks fly when they are together yet there is a lot of tenderness between them, too. If I have one quibble, it’s with the speed at which Mira manages to overcome her problem with physical contact; although she’s been preparing for it for some time, she goes from distaste to being fairly comfortable with it in a relatively short space of time. But that didn’t detract from the story as a whole for me – after all, people all have their own, different ways of dealing with their issues.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am really looking forward to reading the final book in the trilogy, The Silver Lion.

With thanks to Bell Bridge Books and NetGalley for the review copy.

About me

I’m a musician, teacher and mother of two girls and have always been an avid reader. I was introduced to the novels of Jean Plaidy at the age of eleven and have never looked back! I love good, meaty, well-researched historical fiction – whether it’s about real figures (Sharon Penman) or fictional ones (Dorothy Dunnett), but I’m a sucker for a well-written historical romance, too.


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