Monday, October 06, 2008

Serials and Scenarios ~ Siri Mitchell's A Constant Heart

Siri Mitchell has visited the Dregs before. Scroll down to peruse her answers and my review of Cubicle.

And, if you think you might like A Constant Heart, click on the book cover, here to visit Siri's website and here to read the first chapter.

Now, my review.

I am not a die hard fan of romance. Usually, they make me laugh because of the ubergooey sweetness and contrived plot points. I won't read them as a rule, and if I attempt one and see the words heaving and bosom on the same page, I'm done. Historicals are usually a safer bet for me, but sometimes I find myself nodding off and needing a strong whiff of smelling salts to continue.

I was a little apprehensive about A Constant Heart. If I mention I tend to be slightly ignorant of general history, you might not be surprised based on my previous paragraph. But, I took a chance on A Constant Heart because I loved The Cubicle Next Door. And I am a fan of All the Tea in China. If Siri Mitchell, who wrote a favorite novel attempted a historical, wouldn't it be a lot like All the Tea in China, another favorite novel?

Yep. Score. So imagine my surprise after reading a negative review at Amazon. The reviewer didn't care for A Constant Heart. I loved it.

Fascinating facts about a volatile time and a costly career intruigued me and made me want to look deeper into the reign of Queen Elizabeth. The story of the marriage and eventual love affair between the Earl and Countess was deeply melancholy and sweet. One scene in which the couple has a conversation with a salad and no words made me laugh out loud. The consequences and obstacles that the Lady and Earl faced while courtiers, to a queen who would be the very sun, were page turners. The writing leans literary, poignant in several scenes.

Told in alternating first person POV with the voice of Lytham and Marget, this is a very satisfying novel on many levels. If you would be unsettled by a unique POV switch, or with melancholy at the loss of life, fortune, and/or love, you may struggle with the story. A touch of violence in the age of quarterings and the Tower of London, and promiscuity in the court are elements that make A Constant Heart lean toward PG-13. Christian Fiction fans may find a lack of deep spiritual truths as well. But, if you love Mitchell, or if the era fascinates you you probably need to take the plunge.