The Deserted Heart
Mary Lancaster
Historical Victorian

Unmarriageable? Or simply unusual?

There can only be one reason for the proud Duke of Alvan’s proposed visit to Audley Park. He means to offer for Lord Overton’s beautiful daughter, Thomasina, thus saving the family’s waning fortune. In the midst of the hectic preparations for his arrival, Overton’s least marriageable daughter Charlotte remembers to collect her young brothers from school for the holidays.

When fog forces them to spend the night at the Hart Inn, they are astonished to find the house deserted, save for one other enigmatic traveler who deals most capably with armed intruders. Drawn to their unconventional new friend, Charlotte enlists his help to solve the mystery.

Amidst the upheaval of the duke’s visit, to say nothing of the chaos caused by Charlotte’s unmanageable pet terrier, the Hart becomes the focus of nefarious doings, kidnappings, and romantic entanglements. For Charlotte is unwise enough to fall hopelessly in love with her sister’s intended husband, and the duke hides too many secrets of his own.

Will they find their happily ever after with each other?

Uncaged Review: The start of the Unmarriageable Series is a good intro this series. When the Duke of Alvan comes to visit Lord Overton’s family, it’s with the belief that he will ask for Thomasina’s hand. Being wealthy, marrying off the oldest daughter would solve a lot ot the family’s financial problems. But the Duke wasn’t counting on meeting Charlotte, the daughter that was sickly as a child, and not considered to be of great beauty – so not thought of in the family as a “marriageable” daughter. Always having the hand me downs, Charlotte never is upset about her lot in life and never resents it. But when her feelings begin to develop for the Duke, she must not allow that to happen, as it’s her sister that is supposed to marry him.

Fun with some mystery and fun thrown in – this is a nice romance, although it took a little too long to develop and the romantic ending was a bit lackluster. But the closeness of Charlotte’s family was satisfying. Reviewed by Cyrene

4 Stars