Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Story Time . . . WHERE HEARTS ARE FREE by Golden Keyes Parsons

I read with great delight the first two novels in the Darkness to Light Series centered around the Huguenots' plight in 17th century France, so I was really looking forward to this final installment about the son of the first two's heroine. Where Hearts Are Free travels to the New World and takes up residence in Pennsylvania--and in the reader's heart.

Philippe Clavelle, once French royalty, is forced to become an indentured servant to help pay for his family's passage from France when their money is all stolen on the ship. He's lucky--he ends up with a kind family on a plantation outside Philadelphia. His brother Charles doesn't fare so well and is bound to a cruel master in the city.

Bridget Barrington's perfect childhood is marred by a scene she witnessed years ago, a terrible murder that has haunted her. The only person she ever dared tell about it is their groom, Philippe. There's something about the young Frenchman. Something that, as she grows up, makes her heart blossom in love. She doesn't care that he is a servant and she an heiress--she sees the nobility in him, the honor. But he cannot see past her Catholicism, and her parents arrange instead an engagement to a man more of her station. But Edward Moorehead isn't what he seems, and when Philippe realizes the danger she is in, his own heart comes into focus.

Where Hearts Are Free is a story of romance, danger, and faith. Both characters struggle with where heart and duty collide, with being true to their heritage versus being true to themselves. I adored the sweet strength of Bridget--loved how it could lead her either to rebellion or obedience, depending on what seemed necessary at the time. And Philippe! Ah, now there's a hero. He combines a characters of nobility with an integrity that has embraces the value of hard work--and he must work for everything. For his freedom, for his brother, for the woman he loves, and for his family's approval where she is concerned. But my favorite part, aside from the beautiful love story, was watching the faith of the characters deepen through the pages of the book.

While there were wonderful glimpses into the lives of the Clavells we loved from the first two books as they took up farming, it never overwhelmed the main story of Philippe and Bridget, which makes this story stand on its own feet quite solidly.

Those who have read the other Darkness to Light novels definitely won't want to miss this final book. And those who haven't, but love historical romance, should pick this one up anyway. It combines Old World charm with the basic longings we all feel--that need to be free, both in our persons and our hearts. Where Hearts Are Free is a fabulous novel that will enrich you as it entertains you. I can't recommend it enough!

*This book was a complimentary copy given to me for review purposes.

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