Where Hearts Are Free by Golden Keyes Parsons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
It's 1687, in the burgeoning town of Philadelphia, and for seven years, Bridget Barrington has watched with growing affection as Philippe Clavell worked as an indentured servant for her father, a wealthy landowner.
Her father rejects her request for Philippe to be a potential suitor as he has none of the qualities Mr. Barrington hoped for his daughter's future husband, the least of which is a respectable income.
Heartbroken, Bridget accedes to her parents' wishes and gets engaged to a man she does not love. However, Bridget's husband-to-be does not love her, but only her wealth.
But there's always light in the midst of darkness for those who have faith. This stunning historical romance concludes the gripping Darkness to Light series.
My Take: The story is a nice little introduction to the colonies at that time in history and the conflict between Catholicism and the Hugeunots (French Reformed Protestants). It is also a good introduction to the power of a woman's will at this time which is very little. Bridget loves Phillippe, a childhood friend and indentured servant but he's never considered a relationship with her. When offered freedom, he takes it and a fine horse and goes home.
Meanwhile, Bridget's biological clock is ticking - she's all of 18, you know - and needs to be married off suitably. Her parents and cousins combine their forces and choose an old man named Edward. Not Rochester. This Edward is 30 years old and probably has some baggage that should be addressed which never is. Regardless, he happens to be a man with secrets and unscrupulous business dealings. His reasons for wanting to marry Bridget are very evil, indeed.
Phillippe gets home and finally discovers Bridget's fate in her engagement to such an unsavory fellow and decides he really does have romantic feelings for her. But he is a Hugeunot and she is Catholic.
I didn't mind the story but I it didn't come together very well for me. I didn't develop much of an attachment to any of the characters. Certainly I wished for Bridget to exit her bethrothal and Phillippe to free his brother Charles, but the characters didn't develop into people for me. There is also no indication how the couple overcome their religious differences which is a big deal at this time. They were characters in a book that I will forget tomorrow.
It's not a bad book. It has a lot of good qualities. The story is good. The dialogue is cheesy but not bad. The historical aspect is accurate, although I would have liked to have that part explained in more depth. I appreciate the research the author did in order to portray the time period and also the description of the art of gun making, care of horses, and the furrier trade.