Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Constant Heart

Mitchell, Siri. 2008. A Constant Heart. Bethany House. 384 pages.

"But how could he not like you?"

I can see how this one might not be for everyone. But. Oh how I loved this book. And I think you will too. If you like historical fiction. If you like historical romance. If you like books (fiction or nonfiction) about the Tudors. This "Christian" romance is set during Elizabethan times. Elizabeth I is on the throne, and the hero of this one is one of her courtiers, a nobleman, Lord Lytham. (For the record, he is fictional. Some of the other characters are not fictional--they were real people in her court.) Down on his luck--no thanks to his brother's gambling, he marries the daughter of a knight--the beautiful Marget. Her dowry will help him--he can buy back his family's estate, for starters. But these two have different expectations from their marriage.

He married for anything but love. He didn't want a beautiful wife, a passionate wife, someone he could love and adore. He wanted a plain, practical wife. Someone he could keep in the country, hidden away most of the year. Out of sight, out of mind. The fact that his betrothed is stunningly beautiful is a big drawback for him. But it was too late. The agreement, the settlement, had been reached and there was no turning back.

She wanted a husband she could love and respect. A companion, a friend, a lover. She wanted a real marriage.

Rich in details, this book is an intimate (but not in a graphic, inappropriate way) look at court life. What life was like--the pretenses, the expenses, the vanities, the absurdities, the jealousies. Marget will (within reason) do anything to help her husband's career. Even if it means pretending she doesn't love him. But will it be enough, can anything ever be enough, to please the Queen.

Though this one is published by a Christian publishing house, there is nothing preachy or didactic about it. (I know some people avoid "Christian fiction".) I would definitely recommend this one to anyone and everyone regardless. It's just a great historical book. Well-written. Compelling. Believable.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible