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VINE VOICEon 1 April 2009
Looe, Cornwall, 1813; smugglers, spies, romantic misunderstandings, dastardly relatives, unknown inheritances, sea battles and a race against French Man of War ships to make it to the safe harbours of Jersey, naked men froliking in the sea. This very entertaining novel by the author of the frothy "Aphrodite's Brew", has it all.

In 1809, the Hon. Merrik Winslow meets 17 year old Lady Juliette Harlton, who is to become his fiancee. However, rather than marry him, Juliette runs off with her lover, then her brother Cyril tells Merrik that she has died. Sickened and hardend by war and death, Merrik feels that he has no choice but to return to the Pennisular War. He only returns when both his elder brother and his father die and he is the Earl of Edenstorm.

Kept captive by her dastardly, politically ambitious brother Cyril. Lady Juliette escapes to her friend Lady Lydia Brand, who takes her to Lydia's mother's house in Looe, Cornwall. There Lady Juliette become Miss Jane Darrow, Lady Brand's companion for the next 4 years.

She is terrified of her brother finding her because he intends to commit her to an asylum. However, if she can just last another 3 months in hiding, then she will be 21 and her brother will no longer be her guardian and won't be able to touch her.

Edenstorm and his friend Rokeby, who works for the Home Office, are in Looe to try and track down "Guinea Jack" a smuggler and traitor who is passing English gold to the French. Still bitter about what happened 4 years ago, Edenstorm tries to blackmail Jane into telling him who the local smugglers are. Telling her that if she doesn't cooperate he will let her brother know where she is. Jane feels that she is between the devil and the deep blue sea. She cannot/willnot betray her friends in Looe and doesn't believe that any of them are traitors. On the other hand she must not be given up to her brother. So she decides to lead Edenstorm on a wide goose chase.

The rest of this very entertaining novel is taken up with Edenstorm being hoodwinked by the local smugglers; he and Jane falling in love with each other; running from her brother Cyril who has discovered where she is; both being kidnapped by the smugglers and put aboard a lugger headed for France.

A very enjoyable and entertaining book.
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on 14 March 2012
Good thrilling historical romance. Ticks all the right boxes for me. I'd recommend this book to anyone who likes old fashioned romance.
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on 1 February 2015
Enjoyed the Cornish setting and descriptions of the sea adventure . Great read thankyou.
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on 12 June 2016
I decided to re-read The Mudlark yesterday and enjoyed it so much this third time around that I figured why not try and find some other books by this author. Although I have a couple of others on my Kindle, I decided to give "Sins of the Heart" a try. Nothing like the heroine trying to escape a villainous brother which involves taking on a fake identity for several years.

Juliette, or Jane as she is currently know has been hiding in Cornwall for a few years after her brother attempted to have her placed in an insane asylum because she wouldn't cooperate with the plans he had for her marriage. The full story isn't revealed immediately, but over the course of the book, little by little we learn about Jane's past which is intertwined with the handsome and haughty spy - Lord Everstorm with whom she apparently has some history. Lord Everstorm is in Cornwall attempting to track down a spy when Jane and the woman who is giving her refuge have an accident of sorts while spying on Lord Everstorm and his side-kick swimming nude in the ocean.

Although Jane attempts to hide her face, Everstorm immediately recognizes the woman who was supposedly drowned in the Irish Sea and to whom he had been intended to marry. They're not friends, nor have they ever been friends. In fact, it's obvious they never actually were well acquainted. Everstorm needs information about people in the village and he thinks Jane can be pressured to give him the information.

Although the storyline has some great moments and it is interesting, I felt as though the drama in the past was never actually explained to my full satisfaction. Everstorm and Jane have some great adventures, but toward the end of the book, I felt the author tried to put in too much adventure within a few pages as opposed to giving out more information about the characters. Plus, there are at least three supporting characters in the book that I felt need their own story, but if they were ever written, I can't find them, so that was a bit frustrating.
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