Thursday, July 24, 2014

Review: Charity's Heart by Sofia Diana Gabel

From the Publisher:
1888, London Charity Llewellyn, 19, looks forward to her wedding, but upon learning that her intended groom is Mathias Baptiste, the immoral son of a wealthy banker, she runs away from home to avoid the betrothal. Angry at her attempt, her father appoints a handsome and mysterious man, Alexander Sutton, as her constant chaperone. Furious, Charity plots an escape with help from her friend Lillian, although that leads to involvement in an unsolved 20-year old murder and a shallow burial of human bones. As she tries to unravel the secrets of the old murder, she meets a frightening man who could be Jack the Ripper. But that’s not her only obstacle. As she and Alexander grow closer, she learns a dark secret he’s been keeping and when Mathias finds them together, he’s overcome with rage and will stop at nothing to get her back, not even murder.

What is a nineteen year old young lady to do in the late 1800’s when her father is arranging a marriage that she does not want? Runaway, of course!
Meet Charity Llewellyn who was raised in the finest circles of London’s ton and never wanted for anything. Well almost nothing, except love and approval from her parents. Due to her aversion of her parents’ plan to wed her one Mr. Mathias Baptiste, she takes the chance to escape from her jeweled prison and sets out to see the real London and start a new life of her own free will.  However her plan is lacking a plan, she gets trapped by a less the sober sailor on the wrong side of the docks, but a strange gentleman comes to her rescue and Charity runs back to the safety of her home. Upon her returned home, her father is more than a little displeased. To Charity’s vexation, he hires a “chaperon” to escort her at all times and to her surprise it happens to be the same gentleman that recused her the previous night, Mr. Alexander Sutton. Startled with her father’s choice of “chaperon”, she tries in vain to dissuade her father’s latest attempts to rein her in, however, undaunted, Charity is still determined to escape her impending marriage, parents and most of all Mr. Sutton.
As Charity plans her next escape, she goes to the shops, her mother set up for her, to pick up her new dress and shoes for the upcoming garden party she will be attending all the while trying to get away from Mr. Sutton, but this man is hard to get away from. She is able to persuade her parents to allow her stay at her best friend’s home for the night as their home is closer to the garden party venue. With the help of her friend, Lillian Hollingberry, they collaborate a plan of action to have Charity’s make her escape during the garden party.
What could possibly go wrong with their well thought out plan? Everything! Charity stumbles upon an unsolved murder from twenty years ago that surprisingly has a lot to do with Mr. Sutton’s past. Charity’s own life is being threatened from not only her intended, Mr. Baptiste, but also a well-loved servant in the Hollinberry home. Now she must save Sutton from imprisonment and also her own life and those of her loved ones all the while not understanding her own true feelings towards Sutton. Can this man she claims to dislike really be the one man she cannot live without?  And what is truly going on with her father’s new shady business partner who happens to lurks around White Chapel where a series of murders are happening?
Although the beginning had a slow start, Charity’s story was riveting and intriguing to make me want to know what happens next. The touching scenes between Sutton and Charity are at times hilarious and at other times heartwarming. Ms. Gabel tells the story of self-discovery and following one’s own heart to find true happiness no matter what society dictates.

*Review written by Leatherbound Reviews contributor Liz Castillo
*Review copy provided by publicist 

While Leatherbound Reviews was offered a copy of Charity's Heart for review, the book is currently out of print. I just wanted to let readers know why they cannot find a buy link accompanying this post. 

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