Thursday, April 3, 2008
A Tarnished Heart by Leslie Dicken
In Victorian England, Lizzie Parker wants to keep her life simple and uncomplicated. She loves the people of her village, tending her garden, and caring for her aging father, the local pastor. She falls in love with her father’s curate, but her father has grander hopes for his only daughter. He arranges for her to go to London to participate in the decadent Season with the man who broke her heart years before.
The Earl of Markham is a man of mystery. He harbours a dark secret and guards it well. He remains aloof not only from London’s society, but also from his young son, even though he loves the boy. He will do anything to protect his son’s inheritance. One day, he receives a letter of blackmail from the pastor of the nearby village. The pastor demands the Earl court his only daughter, Lizzie. If he fails to comply, the pastor will expose the Earl’s secret and place his son’s inheritance at risk. Reluctantly, the Earl accepts the challenge and takes responsibility for his new charge. He takes her to his home in London.
Lizzie harbours a painful memory about the Earl of Markham who shattered her dreams when she was a young girl. She tries to thwart the Earl’s every act so that she may return to the curate she is in love with.
A Tarnished Heart was a finalist in the Romancing the Tome Contest. It is a story worth reading. Leslie Dicken has written a truly heart-warming novel about love that blossoms despite the circumstances that threaten to keep a young couple apart. The story is rich in detail, vivid in description, and historically accurate to the times. This is a romance that you can instantly escape into the story with its believable characters and plot. Leslie Dicken is one author to watch and follow if you are a fan of historical fiction.