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A Constant Heart by Siri Mitchell

Reviewed by Lori Fox

"...the story was beautifully told, the characters were wonderfully developed..."

As the daughter of a wealthy knight, Margaret was raised in the manners of the nobility in hopes that she would one day become one of them. That day came, but marriage into the court of The Virgin Queen did not come as happily as one might wish.

Instantly rejected by both the court and her own husband, the beautiful Margaret has but one consolation: her companion in the form of her lifelong friend, Joan. However, soon Margaret is befriended by one of the most powerful women at court, the Lady de Winter. But the advice of the Lady de Winter often goes against the constant heart of young Margaret, leading her further into disgrace with each attempted triumph.

Siri Mitchell's A Constant Heart is one of the best historicals that I've yet read. She displayed an excellent knowledge of the time period, weaving necessary information into the story without ever calling attention to it. There may have been a few instances that seemed a little out of place, but no more than could be forgiven for such a well written novel. Her excellent writing ability and thorough research certainly kept me in a willing frame of mind throughout the whole of the novel.

In fact, even though I would most highly recommend A Constant Heart to lovers of historical romances, I have to add that with the research that must have gone into the writing of it, I can actually recommend it to anyone who is interested in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I.

I found the story line fairly unique in that the aversion Margaret's husband has for her is for the fact that she is beautiful. Beauty, it seems, was the unforgivable sin in his eyes, as well as much of the court. Margaret's curse was that to shine too brightly invited not only criticism, but the possibility of banishment, or worse, from the Queen. To hide was, in her mind, a failure to be of help to her husband's advancement at court.

I also appreciated that Siri Mitchell didn't shy away from the more physical aspects of marriage. In no way was she graphic or overly detailed, but it was present, and it was as important as it should be in a marriage.

And while I didn't mind the lack of religious overtones, it did seem odd to have so little of God in a Christian historical. In particular, because that time period was rife with persecution and controversy of all kinds. Religion was a political weapon, and while it may have just been my personal preference to see more of it in A Constant Heart, I did feel that the book as a whole would have been stronger had there been more of a Presence, at least to Margaret and Lytham, if not elsewhere.

Still, the story was beautifully told, the characters were wonderfully developed, and as I said, I loved the natural way the historical knowledge was woven in.

Lori Fox is a freelance writer who is working on her first novel as well as writing reviews for TitleTrakk.com. In addition to writing, she enjoys reading, making jewelry, and taking as many trips to Walt Disney World as possible with her wonderful husband Kyle. Visit her online at her website.