In this emotional and powerfully erotic tale of love and redemption, a tender vicar’s daughter and a tortured war hero discover that sin may be their only salvation.
When Mary Smith’s corrupt, debt-ridden brother drags her to a seedy pub to sell her virtue to the highest bidder, Alasdair Thornham leaps to the rescue. Of course the marquis is far from perfect husband material. Although he is exceedingly handsome, with a perfect, strong body, chiseled jaw, and piercing green eyes, Alasdair is also too fond of opium, preferring delirium to reality. Still, he has come to Mary’s aid, and now she intends to return the favor. She will show him that he is not evil, just troubled.
Mary was a damsel in need of a hero, but Alasdair’s plan is shortsighted. He never foresaw her desire to save him from himself. Alasdair is quite at home in his private torment, until this angel proves that a heart still beats in his broken soul. The devil may have kept her from hell, but will Mary’s good intentions lead them back to the brink—or to heaven in each other’s arms?
Time Frame: Regency England
Heat Level: 3
Review Rating: 4 Stars
Review by Susan
Author Megan Frampton injects a familiar theme in the opening scene of Hero of My Heart when Alasdair Thornham, the Marquess of Datchworth purchases Mary Smith in a type of sex slave auction at a local pub that caters to the dregs of society. It’s a recurring theme in historical romances by such authors as Johanna Lindsey and Bertrice Small, but Frampton adds a twist that enlivens the plot. Alasdair’s cousin Hugh is a scheming knave who wants to convince the peerage that Alasdair is mad and ill-fit to be the Marquess of Datchworth. With Hugh next in line to inherit the title, Alasdair is aware of his cousin’s motives and must take precautions to conceal his opium addiction from the public.
It takes a while for the story to warm up and hook the reader into the present predicament of the main characters as family baggage thrusts Mary and Alasdair to become each other’s life preserver in a situation which Alasdair continually refers to as ‘hell’. Mary’s character vacillates between being strong and being the stereotypical soppy weak female with bouts of regressing into a simpering, helpless schoolgirl. There is a moment when the reader is mistakenly led to believe that she is working with her step-brother Matthias to extort money from Alasdair. Alasdair’s character, however, is attractive enabling readers to form an attachment to him or at least to his wounds if not his method of coping with the harshness of reality. Even his foibles are attractive including his proclivity for not keeping his promises. A tortured soul, he finds strength in Mary and learns from her to fight his cravings to escape reality and detach himself from the man he perceives himself to be – someone who has failed everyone he has ever loved.
Frampton addresses very meaningful personal conflicts through Alasdair and Mary, whose step-brother put her up for auction. The deceit is chilling and the love scenes are sensual and scorching, all working to evoke the reader’s sentiment. The pacing of the read also vacillates between being slow and drawn out and being insightful and suspenseful rousing the reader to eat up every morsel furnished. The language isn’t always true to the vernacular of the Regency Era as Frampton infuses modern expressions that feel out of place in this period giving the story a more contemporary flare than those who write for this time frame and of this ilk such as Lisa Kleypas, Nicole Jordan, and Amanda Quick.
This is one damsel in distress read that also has a hero who shows signs of distress. Frampton shows sensitivity to human vulnerabilities as the heroine pulls the hero from his self-inflicted abyss motivated by a real love for him. The characters express a genuine concern for one another and the building up of their relationship has a natural flow. Chivalry is a two-way street in Frampton’s novel as Mary and Alasdair become each other’s guardian. A clever twist to a plot that starts off with a regular run-of-the-mill theme.