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Hearts On Fire Reviews

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Amelia Faulkner – All the Arts of Hurting

All the Arts of Hurting - Amelia Faulkner, Satyr Designs, Rearing Horse Editing

Reviewer: Lucy

Genre: MM Historical


Review: The 10th Earl of Trowbridge is a harsh, often cruel, man who lives to go off to war. His son, Duncan, wants to be nothing like his father. When his father is off to war this time, the Countess (Duncan’s mother), suddenly decides it is time for Duncan to marry and produce heirs. It is unfortunate the woman she has chosen for him is boorish, snobbish and horrid. No matter, it is his duty and his mother won’t take no for an answer. It is when Duncan goes to the stable for a ride that complications arise, in the form of William Fossett, the new stable boy. Duncan is captivated immediately and that just won’t do. An interesting thing about Duncan, he views the servants as people. Most of the nobility doesn’t even see the servants.

There is a fairly quick declaration of feelings on the part of Duncan. William is a little more realistic, or perhaps fatalistic, because he realizes not only are they dealing with the crime of a man loving another man, but there is also that one is high born and one common, plus the conscription to war that William will soon be subjected to.

I was divided on how to rate this book, since I wanted to see more of the romance development between the two – I wanted to get the emotional connection that was missing a bit. But ultimately, I decided that there were three main characters: Duncan, William and the war. The war ate up time and resources of the story but it was necessary to show the difficulties of the times these men lived. It is not enough that they could be hanged (William most certainly would have been) for their relationship, but fat, pampered politicians decide fates of those too poor or “common” to have a say. Again, some things never change.

The issue of the white feather – I had no idea about this and thanks to Ms Faulkner I gave myself a history lesson after reading of it. I had hoped it was an author’s imagination but no, it wasn’t. There are complexities in the story that I didn’t foresee. The Countess, especially, was so much more than noble and better for it. A twist on Duncan’s father was also unexpected and she became even more sympathetic for her actions. Just as an aside – Duncan’s response to Cavelli at the dinner table – awesome. So often when I read historical I think, if only someone were honest! Well, he certainly was!

This is my first reading of this author and I was impressed because I was actually immersed in the history of the story. I will be looking for more from her.

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