Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Claiming The Rebel's Heart



As the English Civil War divides England and tears families apart, Kinton Lacey castle is one of the brave few loyal to the roundhead cause.

With her father away, Deliverance Felton will do whatever it takes to defend her family home against the royalist forces ranged against it. She can shoot and wield a sword as well as any man and anything she needs to know about siege warfare she has learned from a book...but no book can prepare her for what is to come.

Captain Luke Collyer, soldier of fortune and a man with his own reasons for loyalty to the parliamentary cause, is sent to relieve the castle. Everything he knows about siege warfare in general and women in particular he has learned from experience, but when it comes to Deliverance Felton has he met his match?

Deliverance will not give up her command lightly and Luke will have to face a challenge to his authority as fierce as the cavalier foe outside the walls. He will do whatever it takes to win Deliverance’s trust but will he run the risk of losing his own, well guarded, heart?


Having read other works by Alison Stuart, I prepared to settle into a romantic story with a hefty dose of well-researched reality of the 17th Century, and this novel does not disappoint. The novel is set in the Hertfordshire countryside during the first year of the Civil War, when the Royalists were at their height and expected to crush the ‘Rebels’ with ease.

Deliverance Felton is a worthy heroine, strong minded and feisty, she is determined to defend her home near Ludlow and wield a musket herself if need be. Captain Luke Collyer, sent by her father to defend Kinton Lacey against the Royalist forces occupying Ludlow isn’t quite prepared for this headstrong girl who has her own ideas about fortifications to her home.

Their relationship begins shakily, with Deliverance putting a musket ball through Luke’s hat, and goes rapidly downhill when a trip to Ludlow to see what the King’s army is planning ends with them being chased from the town and Deliverance injured.

Luke discovers to his horror that as well as his growing attraction to Deliverance, their Royalist neighbours and enemy Charles Farrington has a brother who was once betrothed to the other lady of the house, Deliverance’s beautiful sister, Penitence.

What with this and ornery neighbours, Luke’s task is growing more dangerous every day – can he defend these two women and Kinton Lacey from being pulverised by the superior Royalist cannon? The siege has only just begun when they discover their food supplies have been sabotaged and someone is sending information to the enemy. Can the situation get worse?  Well of course it can, but I’ll leave that to prospective readers, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

There is also some fascinating information about weapons and defensive fortifications during the Civil wars which I found fascinating, and add to the authentic feel of the story. The two main characters jump off the page, and then there is Luke’s friend Ned who tries to talk Luke down from his hot temper, while Penitence is the voice of reason in the face of Deliverance’s pride and strong will.  This is a lovely story of burgeoning love in an impossible situation where no one can predict what will happen - well, not quite.

Alison Stuart
Buy Claiming The Rebel's Heart

A word from Alison: This is the first in a series - the Harcourt Chronicles, although why it is called the Harcourt Chronicles is a bit of a spoiler that will have to wait! This period of history is my passion and I would love to share it with you.
TWITTER: @AnitaSDavison

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