Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Review: Maureen Kurr’s DECEPTIVE HEART - Addictive Tale of Deception and Love

Maureen Kurr won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart Award in 1984 for NORTHWARD THE HEART. (That one is on my “to be read” shelf). After reading DECEPTIVE HEART, it was easy to see why she’s a winner.

Set in England in 1705, this is the story of Lady Anne Thornton, a 17-year-old squire's daughter who married an old earl who treats her like a treasured daughter, never touching her. When he knows he is dying without an heir, the earl searches for and finds his illegitimate son, Christian Montaigne, whose mother was French. Christian has made his own money in France and doesn't need the earl's fortune, but he is happy to be recognized as his father's son and heir, even happier to meet the earl's beautiful young wife. When the earl dies (very early in the story), Anne's cruel father devises a scheme to have a stranger get Anne, who is a virgin, pregnant in order to claim the child is the posthumous heir of the late earl. But the stranger he hires is a Frenchman who tells Christian of the plot.

Christian is a hero any woman could love: handsome, honorable and a wee bit angry at the plot the woman he wants has devised to steal his inheritance. Anne is a pure heart who would never do anyone wrong, and though she couldn't care less about the earl's money, she is afraid of her cruel father. He already forced her to marry the old earl, a man she didn't love (though she became a devoted wife loved by all). Now he is has threatened her mother, forcing Anne to mate with a stranger in the dark. Attracted to Christian, and not wanting to hurt him or deceive him, she initially tries to escape her father's plan, but then she reluctantly agrees in order to save her mother. Little does she know the man who takes her in the dark is none other than Christian.

While the writing includes some longer passages of introspection and narrative, this story is one I could not put down. It tells of what happens when at first you set out to deceive, even for good motives, and then hurt the one you love--the one who loves you. In this case, each deceives the other--for most of the book. The author did a great job of building the tension and keeping the various plot threads twisting and turning.

I highly recommended this romance.

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