Shadows Of The Heart by Patty G Henderson is set in England in the 1820s. It is not the happiest time to be an unmarried woman without family or an inheritance. And if you happened to also be a lesbian then even marrying seems a terrible prospect. This is where Annalee Stewart finds herself after her father gambles away their money and commits suicide.
In a fortunate turn of events, Annalee is hired to be a companion to the sickly and frail Lenore Blackstone. In an effort to see Lenore back to health, Annalee takes her for walks and accompanies her to visit Lenore’s mother in law. Unexpectedly, Annalee finds that she is developing feelings for Lenore and those feeling seem to be returned.
The Earl of Blackstone is not at home much and when Annalee finally meets him she can’t help but feel uneasy. He seems a little too keen to meet her and a little too dismissive of his wife.
To make matters worse, Annalee also finds herself attracted to the Earl’s sister, Victoria, a dashing woman with a strong presence.
But when Lenore’s health begins to worsen, Annalee can’t help but suspect that someone is trying to do her harm. Is it the husband, the mother in law or the maid who would see her sweetheart killed?
The characters were a little flat. The story was driven by plot more than characters development which made for characters that were either pretty obviously good or nasty people.
Having said that, the characters were clearly defined and it was easy to follow who was who.
The Writing Style
I enjoyed the twisting and turning of the plot and was surprised by the ending.
Cathy Conneff did a fantastic job of narrating this one. I actually think she made the book better through great narration. Her pacing was excellent, her different voices were brilliant and her male characters were really good.
The narration of this book wins the day.
I would have liked to see at least a small amount of character growth in the main character from the start where she is a bit of a brat to the end where she could have turned into a kinder person, perhaps.
I enjoyed this audiobook. It was a fun listen and had an entirely unique and unexpected story. If you want a light mystery set in the 1800’s then this is a definite yes. It will keep you guessing.
Excerpt from Shadows Of The Heart by Patty G Henderson
So, my life was neatly arranged. I could utter no objections. I had none. And I had no alternatives either. At the very least, I would get more restful sleep, assured that my immediate future was provided for. Three years ago, my future was brilliant, my prospects glowing. But that was before my father shot himself. I resented him for that. Yes, resented him. He never told me. Never talked to me or confided the futility he must have felt in his life. Was I not his only daughter? Did I not count in his heart? I hadn’t understood then and still don’t.
He could have explained that he had gambled our entire fortune away. And we’d had a fortune. I loved being part of the wealthy circle. I loved my father and our life. But my world shattered into tiny, bitter fragments of angry memories. That is all I had left. There was no family that I could turn to. In the end, my godmother, old Mrs. Bentley, had grudgingly opened the door to her home in the tall house in Bath, where I lived the life of drudgery: fetching, carrying about and exercising a snotty, wheezing bulldog and looking after the library and playing endless games of piquet with Mrs. Bentley.
That was four days ago when, when she succumbed to an apoplectic seizure and died where she sat. It was unfortunate, but Mrs. Bentley had been an enormous woman who never cared about the excess of food and wine and the effects they might have on her health. She lost all control once Mr. Bentley passed away.
I was certain to once again be homeless and penniless. ’Twas a good thing I had learned to foster a good personality and attitude, for to find oneself in such an unenviable position for the second time surely would have driven most young ladies of twenty-two nearly mad, especially one reared to the life of ease and comfort. No, I was no weakling, despite my delicate looks once compared to “Dresden China.” In the years following my father’s death, I had to toughen my outer shell and my inner soul. It hadn’t been easy. I’d been carefree and loved openly and freely. Now, I guarded my heart under lock and key. I gave my all to service but that was all I gave.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9780692296417
Publisher: Blanca Rosa Publishing
Narrator: Cathy Conneff
Patty G Henderson Online
Note: I received a free review copy of Shadows Of The Heart by Patty G Henderson. No money was exchanged for this review. I will always review books as honestly as possible and on occasion, I refuse to review books.