by Janine Mendenhall
My Rating: 4 stars
About the Book
Series: Triangular Trade Trilogy
Genre: historical romance, suspense, Regency Era
Publisher: Heritage Beacon Fiction
Publication date: May 16, 2016
Number of pages: 300
Plagued by nightmares, Annette yearns to find her anonymous rescuer — the man who saved her life from a near deadly assault. Deep inside she is starving for companionship and a mutually respectful relationship. When Mr. Peter Adsley, an abolitionist pastor dealing with his own emotional baggage, agrees to a clandestine meeting, the event appears providential. But self-doubt, deception, and the schemes of a mutual enemy threaten to keep the pair apart. A phantom adversary will stop at nothing to win Annette’s dowry for himself, even if it means killing Peter.
I thoroughly enjoyed Starving Hearts. I found the lead characters to be compelling and engaging. I enjoyed the author’s ability to balance the duality of reserve common to the Regency era with the hero and heroine’s determination not to let the rules of society direct the course of their lives. Both Annette & Peter experience very deep losses that make you wonder how a person could manage to keep on going. I found Peter to be especially likeable. He was a very godly man who showed no weakness in the face of unspeakable evil and never let dire circumstances unravel his strong faith in God.
I especially enjoyed the villain, Slike. He is a terrible wretch that was fun to dislike as the story built to a surprising climax as the author did manage to build a bit of sympathy for this character which I wasn’t expecting. I did find Captain Bledsoe’s “pirate” dialect to be a bit off-putting and cliche, especially since before he’d been forced into life at sea he was a proficient pianist and music tutor.
Mendenhall did an excellent job portraying historical details of the Regency era as well, something I can be quite harsh on if not done well. I felt immersed in Regency England from the believable dialogue, to the balls and the constant reminder of the rigid social etiquette of the era.
Starving Hearts wrestles with some disturbing issues that may upset some readers including detailed yet historically accurate depictions of the slave trade including life on the slave ship Terona. As a historical romance author myself, I applaud the author for addressing these issues. In fact, the way the hero is affected by life on the Terona is so real, my heart ached for the abolitionist preacher who learns that his family’s wealth and his inheritance has been built on the backs of slaves.
While some of the subject matter and scenes depicted in Starving Hearts can be dark at times, overall, I found the book to be uplifting as evil is punished and good vindicated. The author doesn’t shy away from testing the faith and strength of her characters. I think trusting in God even when situations seem impossible to overcome is the key spiritual lesson that Annette and Peter learn throughout the story. Peter frequently reminds Annette of Romans 8:28 “All things work together for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to His purpose.”
Praise for Starving Hearts
Carol Award Finalist
Selah Award Finalist
“Not only is this a delightful regency romance but it is also suspense filled mystery of the very best kind.” ~ Amazon review
“The author did a great job, maybe too great a job, describing the slave scenes. Spine tingling and suspenseful. I was biting my nails throughout much of this book.” ~ Amazon review
About the Author
After thirty-eight years of living in Los Angeles, I’ve landed in western NC where I’m amazed by colored trees, four seasons, and the awesome opportunity to write.
When I’m not grading papers, writing, or researching, I help my husband and our two golden retrievers manage our five children and two lap cats.
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed above are my own.
A good and thorough review, Kelly. This sounds interesting. I agree with you about the “balance” in Regencies. If we read or wrote about Regency people who stuck strictly to their conventions, it would be BOR-RING!
Hahahaha! So true, Kathy. That it would be! Thanks for visiting.