Mira, Aug 2002, 6.50, 416 pp.
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.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner