by Alice Von Kannon
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app
To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add email@example.com as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 21 Apr 2020 | Archive Date 15 Aug 2020
Captain Isaac McCallister, five years a slave in North Africa, has returned from the grave, and Salem has put out a wary welcome. It is 1803, and the village once known only for the dark horrors of its witch trials, is now a cosmopolitan seaport and the richest city in America. Everyone in Salem knows that Captain McCallister lost his mind in the desert of Barbary. Isaac is a damaged man, looking for a reason to go on living. He finds it when he meets Eleanor Hampton, his step-brother's daughter, an eccentric young painter living in genteel poverty on his estate along with her mother and sister. Despite the long-standing bitterness between the two families, Isaac is bewitched by this determined, gifted woman, while Eleanor is unexpectedly drawn to him. He's not the man she expected – no coarse merchant prince who could reduce the beauty of art to the banality of dry goods. There is a gallantry in Isaac that couldn't be snuffed out by the hell of Algerian slavery. But his unexpected proposal of marriage sets dark forces out of the past into motion, resulting in a stunning betrayal and a brutal murder. And as her passion for her enigmatic husband consumes her, Eleanor finds there's no danger she's unwilling to face to save him from the hangman.
"Intimacy versus desire is explored in depth in HEART'S BLOOD, a sprawling historical romance by Alice Von Kannon, as Isaac and Eleanor learn to fully love each other, not only in body but also in soul." - Indie Reader
"An engrossing tale of navigating new love and finding one’s way back home after a perilous journey." - Kirkus Reviews
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 14 members
This novel was quite bad for my law practise because instead of working I have spent the last two days reading at my window curled up in a cosy chair with a pot of tea nearby. It is very well written and interesting.
When you see the cover of this novel you expect a sappy Pirate penny romance but there is hardly a ship in sight and it is not a pirate bodice ripper. (So publisher make it a cover with a mansion and a couple instead)
The novel reminded me a lot of "Pride and Prejudice". Not because of the plot because this is a complete different storyline but because of the ambiance and the way the people develop. It is set in the same era: during Napoleon or what the English speaking world calls the Regency. And although it is not set in England but in the USA 20 years after the Revolution still many of the senior citizens of Salem in New England (yes of the witches trials 100 years prior) have a strong link with England and the English norms and values of society life. Eleanor Hampton is a level headed, intelligent unmarried woman on the verge of spinsterhood who after the death of her father takes care of her younger teenage sister and very immature mother. A mother with tantrums and theatrics that somehow ended up with the voice of Mrs Bennet from the 1990-ties BBC version of Pride and Prejudice in my head. Isaac McCallister is a tall darkhaired silent stoic man who keeps his cards close to his chests and had a lot of tales an scandals surrounding him but is a real good person (A bit the Darcy type). He is ten years older than Eleanor and the stepbrother of her father and the owner of the estate and the cottage Eleanor and her family live in gentile poverty in.
The novel starts with Captain Isaac McCallister returning from a five year period of slavery in the Barbary states (Algeria, Tunesia in this case, white slavery). While he was away Eleanor's father and Isaac's brother have died and Eleanor's mother had been pressing lawsuits against her step-family. Eleanor fears that with the heir returning her family will be evicted and walks over to Isaac's house to plea their case. In despair she offers the only thing she can: herself. She will be willingly be his mistress as long as he takes care of her family. Isaac suggests another option: they can marry.
Eleanor and Isaac set up house and things go differently than you might expect. And then there is a murder.
Yes so far it sounds like a soppy romance but that is just the first impression at the beginning. It is the psychological development between the two main characters but also the minor people that is very well done. It feels real. You follow their line of thought.
The story is written by someone who studied history and that shows. In the storyline there is a lot of background information. I, as a non-American, found it interesting to read about the early days of the USA. Where definitely not everyone was so happy with saying good bye to England. Where sea captains who still owned their big privateer-ships decided to go and sail the oceans to far away places and trade just because those big brigs were not suitable for a bit of coastal trade and thus transforming small Salem into a cosmopolitan town. Where both France and England were not allies and could press your sailors or grab your ships. Where such a mayhem might bankrupt a whole family. But where also the Muslim privateers of North Africa were a real danger to ships and crew alike.
Part of the story is trauma and psychological treatment. The writer tells us about the groundbreaking work done in Paris in those days. I googled the names and indeed that was all true.
I liked the natural way the characters develop. When they begin to respect each other you do too. When they realise they love each other is sounds more than logical. Hell you start thinking "Can you find me a guy like that!" It is not for the people wanting an action packed novel. It is more how two people get close and then battle a big problem.
The author manages a good way of worldbuilding. You can almost picture the setting.
I know some (American) readers want to read only "clean" novels. This is a novel about two people who are married. You can expect some lovemaking but it is certainly not pornographic but an essential element in the story.
I can highly recommend the novel both to male and female readers. A 5 stars out of 5. I understand there is a sequel. That I would like to read too.
Set in early 19th century Salem this is a book with strong characters and a strong story line. Isaac McAllister comes home after being a Barbary slave for years, and treated appallingly; he's damaged both mentally and physically but gets on with running the family business in a dark and dour, but sensitive, way. Eleanor Hampton (Isaac's dead step-brother's daughter) is a strong minded spinster trying to take care of a young sister and paranoid, widowed mother, but afraid that, with Isaac's return, they'll be out of house and home because of the bad blood between the two families..They marry quite quickly, not with the approval of either family, and most of the story is about their developing relationship amidst the politics and trade disputes of England-France-America at this still unsettled time. There is murder, betrayal and mayhem amidst the burgeoning romance and passion. A marriage of convenience to start with but gains ground to a passionate and happy one by the end. Thaks to NetGalley and MPC Books for an advance copy in exchange for my honest review.
I was pleasantly surprised by this book, it was so much better than I was expecting it to be, I was expecting a nice light read but I didn’t expect to be hooked as much as I was. I loved the romance, Isaac is an amazing man and I completely adored him, just a great read.
Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
This is a new to me author who has done an excellent job to make these characters real and believable.
I felt their emotions coming out at me across the pages of this novel I love books like this one that can do that for me.
I really enjoyed my time in 1803 and didn't want to come back to the present. This time period was much more interesting and my favorite piece of history is anything about Salem, Mass. This town has the most fascinating piece of history ever!
This book deserves 5 stars or more because it has a little bit of everything mixed in to keep the reader on the edge of his/her seat until the very end.
This was a totally unexpected treat of a novel. The writing was excellent and the characters really well written. The background story of Isaac was really expertly done. It was an area of history totally unknown to me but it was so well researched and expertly written. If I could give more than 5 stars I would. The novel had everything I look for in a book and to me it moved along faultlessly and was deeply moving in parts.
Thank you to NetGalley and the publishers for allowing me to read a copy. I really hope the author writes more fiction novels.