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The Hidden Heart [Mass Market Paperback]

Candace Camp
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 4 2004
Fate, it seemed, had done its worst.

With his life in ruins, Richard Duke of Cleybourne, returned to his country estate to deal with the tragic loss he had suffered four years earlier. His plans, however, were interrupted by the arrival of Miss Jessica Maitland. The feisty, flame-haired governess had come to present her charge, Gabriella, as his new ward.

Until love exposed much more to the story.

As if their unwelcome presence weren't bad enough, Jessica also revealed that Gabriella was in danger. Someone was after the girl's fortune -- perhaps someone the duke knew only too well.

Now fate and a raging snowstorm have brought together an odd assortment of guests at Cleybourne Castle. And when murder strikes, Richard and Jessica must catch a killer and unravel a dark mystery, even as they are plunged into the most passionate mystery of all -- the secrets of the hidden heart.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Ok Read Dec 25 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Romantic Mystery set in the snowy English countryside circa 1800. Richard the Duke of Cleybourne returns to his country home on the 4th anniversary of his wife and daughter's tragic death. His deep despair and somber thoughts of suicide are interrupted by the arrival of his new ward and her feisty, sharp-tongued governess Miss Jessica Maitland. To further frustrate the Duke's plans, his sister-in-law and his new ward's cousins arrive. In a final blow, a vicious snowstorm strikes and the passengers of a Mail Coach must take refuge at the Castle. Next there are a series of break-ins, a murder, and an intricate mystery unfolds.
For the most part, the novel was an ok read. The romance between Richard and Jessica was sweet and their confrontations amusing. All the characters were well defined and the writing smooth, but I found the "mystery" element of the story unsuspenseful and contrived. In one passage the villain confronts someone who has proof that will destroy him. The villain get angry, kills the victim, then says "oops" I guess I should have made him reveal "the proof" before I did him in. There are lots of things like that, lots of far-fetched coincidences that are critical to the mystery and as a consequence make the whole thing less believable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars entertaining historical romance Aug. 14 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Seventy-two years old General Streathern appears near death having suffered apoplexy. Besides his beloved great-niece fourteen year old Gabriela Carstairs and her governess Jessica Maitland, his great-nephew Lord Vesey who likes young girls and the pervert's wife Leona who likes men attend the death watch. Miraculously, the retired military officer recovers and warns Jessica to take Gabriela away to her guardian Richard the Duke of Claybourne. That night a visitor kills Streathern.

After the reading of the will in which Gabriela inherits everything, Jessica flees with her charge for the safety of Claybourne because she knows that the Veseys will try to control the estate through Gabriela. Richard does not want visitors as he still mourns the loss of his wife and child four years ago in an accident but also plans to kill himself. Everything changes when the Veseys arrive because Richard refuses to hand the innocent teen to this depraved duo. Shortly afterward, whether it is the Veseys or some unknown assailant, someone wants Gabriela dead.

THE HIDDEN HEART, the sequel to the delightful Regency SO WILD A HEART, is an entertaining historical romance that readers will relish. The fast-paced story contains strong characters. Richard is a wonderful protagonist whose suicide thoughts end when he finds something to live for, the love of Jessica and Gabriela. The heroic Jessica risks her life for the safety of her beloved Gabriela who seems too mature for her age. On the other hand, the Veseys are purposely treated as caricatures of odious individuals. Thus the audience will enjoy this fun tale and demand more from the heart of Candace Camp.

Harriet Klausner
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4.0 out of 5 stars 4 & 1/2 stars--this one REALLY needs the 1/2 star June 27 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I was totally hooked with the prologue. Even though I discovered that this was the second in a series, I could not wait to read it.
Richard is a fabulous hero--very deep, emotional, and responsible, intelligent. His depression over his wife's & daughter's deaths leads him to contemplate suicide. But along comes brave, stalwart Jessica who, in her determination to protect Gabriella, is willing not only to battle his unwillingness to be the girls' ward, but also to bring him back from the brink of self-extinction. They are superb together.
Secondary characters run the gamut: Richard's sister-in-law Rachel (who stars in the next book), Jessica's ex-fiance, a Bow Street Runner, a mystery woman, and a murderous villain, among others. Several are not what they seem. The mystery is a bit convoluted, but nothing in it turned me off the book.
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4.0 out of 5 stars What a great book! Sept. 9 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book by Candace Camp I have picked up and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The love story was simply lovely and I really liked both of the main characters. The only thing I didn't like (and the reason I gave it only four stars) was I found the plot a little too complex. It reminded me far too much of the movie Clue with all of the silly characters.
Honestly, I thought the story would have been better if the murder subplot had been left out. It was just a little too contrived and far-fetched. But it served its purpose by throwing the two leads together as much as possible.
So, all in all, well worth it.
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