Joint Review: Heart Of The Tiger by Lynn Kerstan ★★★★

Heart Of The Tiger by Lynn Kerstan
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Big Cat Trilogy #2
Publication Date: October 5th 2012
ISBN: 9781611942064
Page Count: 274
Rating: ★★★★
Review Copy: ARC from Bell Bridge Books
Reviewed by: Lynsey and Janice

Miranda "Mira" Holcombe has only one goal in life: To destroy the Duke of Tallant, Jermyn Keynes. Simply for the pleasure of it, he ruined her life, robbed her family of their land and valuables, and now threatens to destroy them entirely. How can a young woman caring for her disabled father bring down a powerful aristocrat? Only her father knows her deepest secrets, and he hopes that in London she will find a kind and gentle man to wed. But Mira is focused only on vengeance, whatever the cost. As she devises a plan to kill the duke, she discovers that Tallant's dark-souled younger brother, Michael, is bent on the same course. Can she believe he'll help her? Dare she trust him?

Michael Keynes once burned with dreams and goals, but all have been consumed by his determination to rid the earth of his tyrannical brother. After meeting the irresistible Mira, his mission changes. He resolves to protect her at any cost, and when the duke is found murdered, Michael deflects suspicion onto himself. But can he save Mira from her worst enemy . . . herself?

Neither can deny the electricity between them. Mira bewitches him with her sharp tongue and quick wit. Michael captivates her with his rakish brand of honor and his brilliant scheming on her behalf. Will she be able to escape the past and dare to reach for a better future? Will Michael see beyond the family's despicable heritage and make a new start in his own life? Can they redeem each other?


LYNSEY'S REVIEW

 
Fantastic characters - a break from the norm.

Now then, this was something a little bit different. I don't tend to read many Regency Romances but something about the blurb piqued my interest for this one so I gave it a whirl and I'm very glad that I did!

This book breaks all the rules of Regency Romance as I've come to know them. Doesn't it know that the hero and heroine are supposed to meet within the first 20 pages, and then the hero is meant to be transfixed by her heaving bosom, and she's meant to turn into a blob of simpering girl goo every time he comes near. Yada, yada, pithy dialogue, blah-di-blah, several sex scenes involving creamy thighs, quivering members and throbbing manhoods, some other stuff, fiddle-di-dee, happily ever after - the end.

That is how it is supposed to go! Those are The Rules! But that's not what happened here. Far from it.

Instead, what we got were two flawed but fascinating main characters. In particular, the heroine, Mira, had a lot going on internally. She has some stuff to work through before she can even consider members of the opposite sex. So for this reason the romance had to wait quite a while to get going (which made perfect sense in context) while she sorted through some of her problems and issues.

Mira and Micheal are two people who share the same goal—vengeance and the all-consuming need to kill Michael's older brother, the Duke of Tallant. And on the surface, that's all they have in common. But as we go deeper we see that they are more like kindred spirits than they could ever have guessed. Both characters are a dichotomy in and of themselves. Michael, at the start of the book, has just returned from India to England after a decade-long absence. He outwardly looks like a total barbarian compared to all the pomps of London, but underneath, much as he would deny it, he is a decent and good man. Whereas Mira looks like an angel on the outside; soft-spoken and altruistic, caring for her disabled father and turning down frequent offers of marriage to devote herself to her father's few remaining months of life. But underneath that façade, she is a woman filled only with thoughts of revenge and calculating cold-blooded murder.

Neither character was wholly good or bad, but they were definitely interesting and engaging.

Obviously, to find out why they want to kill the duke so much you'll have to read the book, but it's quite harrowing and heartbreaking and I'm just glad that Michael and Mira found each other in time.

I have to say, I loved the setting and all the Indian fables and stories that were thrown in via Michael's Sikh friend Hari. They were used sparingly, but were a nice (and again, different) addition. I also really enjoyed the dialogue, I thought that was very well done. And it was really endearing to read Michael's hopes and dreams through his narration, even though he was adamant he didn't deserve any of what he secretly wished for. All that was just too cute!

If I could wish for anything, I would have loved a few more intimate scenes. However, I would not have brought them forward to earlier in the book, I would simply wish for it to have been longer or to have had a nice epilogue. Particularly after the way things went the first time they were together!

I definitely recommend this book. I may be no expert on this genre, but I know good characters when I meet them, and they certainly were that.

Lynsey's rating: 4 Stars ★★★★


JANICE'S REVIEW


I don't read many historical romances anymore. I used to, constantly, but over the years my reading appetite has changed, and now, I'm lucky to read 5, maybe 10, a year - and I tend to be very picky about which ones I choose. I search for historicals that aren't afraid to color outside the usual lines, that dare to be different. Well, I am happy to say I found what I was looking for in Heart of the Tiger. In fact, I would say it's one of the best historical romances I've read in quite a while. The story flows with water-smoothness, the setting is well-drawn, and the lead characters, Michael and Mira, are deliciously layered and complex. Their relationship builds with satisfying slowness, and is, by far, the best aspect of the entire story. I loved all the little ways the author ramped up the tension between them, avoiding an all-out lust-fest in favor of a series of seemingly inconsequential moments, when they would do nothing more than watch each other move or talk. Michael, in particular, invested those moments with a surprising amount of sweetness, taking the simplest and quietest of joys in Mira's mere presence, without sacrificing any of his masculinity or, worse, coming across as a mooning suitor.

All in all, this was a lovely read and one I would definitely recommend to anyone who loves intelligent, slow-burning romances. 


Janice's rating: 4 Stars ★★★★ 

ARC provided by the publisher for an honest review.

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