Sunday, March 22, 2015

New Review: Beppie Harrison’s THE DIVIDED HEART –Unusual Regency set in Ireland

Set in 1810, this is the first in Harrison’s “Heart” trilogy of Regencies and tells the story of the English aristocracy in Ireland, beginning with Lady Anne Wadsworth, an earl’s daughter who lives with her sister and parents on their estate in Ireland. Anne is well aware of her English ancestors’ role in persecuting the Irish, in her words, “…they overlooked the displaced Irish folk with placid arrogance.”

Early in the story Anne encounters Diarmaid MacGuinness, a red-haired Irishman who is working for Ireland’s freedom and tells her of the Irish living reduced to being starving tenants living on land that was once theirs. Meanwhile, she has a new English neighbor, Hugh, Marquess of Ashbourne, whose mother is counseling him to take a wife. Though Anne has no affection for the marquess, and he admits he does not love her, she agrees to marry him to stay in Ireland and avoid a Season in London. A marriage of convenience soon becomes one of love.

Harrison writes well and has delivered a solid story that depicts the fate of the Irish in the early 20th century (before they gained their independence). There are some good action scenes when Anne makes some foolish decisions while trying to help them and the marquess rides to the rescue. (One could not help feeling sorry for Diarmaid who only wanted to see his country rid of the English. His tale was left unfinished so presumably it continues in the rest of the series.)

The trilogy:

The Divided Heart
The Broken Heart
The Rebellious Heart

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