Pure Melodrama – Reviewing A Heart’s Disguise

heartsdisguiseBook InformationA Heart’s Disguise

Author – Colleen Coble

Publisher – Thomas Nelson (March 2015, $6.99)

I’m more familiar with Colleen Coble via her books with contemporary settings, but I was aware that she had written historicals. When I read that she planned to re-release two early works that had been out of print for many years, I got curious. And when I saw that the release of the books would take place over several monthly installments, I felt more curious still.

Given the chance to pick up the first part of Journey of the Heart, I pounced. How would this Victorian-style reading experience go? After all, I grew up hearing how readers of Charles Dickens eagerly clamored at stores for the release of the newest part of each of his novels.

Like many things, A Heart’s Disguise had its good points and its weaker ones. On the positive side, I definitely felt swept into the plot action – and there’s plenty of it. Sarah __ has spent quite a while believing that her beloved Rand Montgomery perished in the Civil War. Due to family circumstances, she must marry or face dire poverty, and it appears that the family choice is one Ben Croftner, a successful local businessman.

Sarah convinces herself that she will come to love the handsome Ben in time, but she gets thrown quite a curveball shortly before the wedding. It turns out Rand might not be as dead as she thought. At this point, I will warn readers that the cover blurbs on these books contain some spoilers, so if you want to be surprised by the many twists and turns of the plot, this is probably as far as I should take it.

And like all good serials, this installment has a cliffhanger ending. Just as the action starts to kick into high gear, we reach the end of part I.

So, why the mixed feelings? Well, for starters the writing style just doesn’t flow well. The plot action kept me reading, but it was also obvious that this was a very early work and it lacks a certain polish. Dialogue feels a bit clunky, and the characterization doesn’t have enough depth to it. We are told more about these characters than we are shown, if that makes sense.

In terms of inspirational content, I would say that so far there isn’t a terribly strong faith message in the story. One gets the feeling that the righteous will be rewarded and evildoers will get what they deserve as well, but I came away from this book feeling like it was more about the dramatic plot twists and less about a message.

And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. This is a clean book, and if you’re just looking to lose youself in a bit of drama for an hour or two, this isn’t a bad way to do it. 3 stars


Many thanks to Thomas Nelson for providing me with a free copy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.


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