The Heartbreaker Mass Market Paperback – 21 Nov 2003
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"A marvelous storyteller!" --"Romantic Times"
About the Author
Rexanne Becnel's love of English history probably stemmed from the childhood years she lived in London. She now lives and works in New Orleans, another locale drenched in history and romance. She has won many awards for her historical romances.
Top Customer Reviews
James Lindford, Viscount Farley has returned home twoillegitimate children and is cause for great scandal. Phoebe Churchill'speaceful country existence is disrupted when she acquires a ViscountFarley as her neighbour.
The two have to overcome both their own andother people's preconceptions before finding happiness...
However, don't let the blurb fool you into thinking this is a Regency. I wasn't able to pin down exactly what time frame the author was writing in, but the inclusion of items like a tea ball and a whistling kettle put it firmly at the end of the Victorian period, even if that wasn't the author's intent.
If, like me, you enjoy historically accurate Regencies, you might want to skip this and read something else. However, if you want a fun romance read - fairly light on angst - then give this one a go.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Desperately, James Lindford, Viscount Farley is trying to amend his rakish ways. He is taking responsibility for his illegitimate offspring. He has acknowledged their existence; he has purchased them from their greedy mothers; and now he plans to raise them himself. It all sounds so neat and tidy - it is anything but . . .
Phoebe Churchill is a pure country woman, a woman with a loving manner, and a kind heart. A woman who just happens to have raised one of the viscount's "by-blows" as her own. Phoebe Churchill is not happy when the lustful viscount comes calling.
Rexanne Becnel does a good job with this simple storyline. Phoebe Churchill is a wonderful creation from this writer's imagination - a simple, pure figment. On the other hand, James Lindford is a scoundrel. Becnel writes him as an experienced "man about town", a man who has never heard the word "No!" uttered from a woman's lips. The reader gets to share in the fun as Becnel and Phoebe bring this rogue to his senses. My, my! What diversion the reader has because the author takes her time with this knave. She does not reform him overnight; no, by delaying, the author creates a more digestible story.
However, it is the three little girls and their manner that steal the book's thunder. Becnel has captured the very essence of childhood and the reader gets to savor every minute. A good story, very nicely drawn by Rexanne Becnel. Grade: A-
Grace Atkinson, Ontario - Canada.
In an unprecedented move, James Lindford, Viscount Farley, has decided to acknowledge two of his illegitimate children and to take them into his home. Unfortunately, because of his actions, James's fiance breaks off their engagement, and James is forced to leave London for his country estate, where he discovers that it's not all that easy thrying to raise two daughters -- Clarissa, his eldest daughter is both wild and resentful and is causing no end of an uproar; while the baby is finding it difficult to settle in. Help (and salvation) comes in the shape of the prickly Miss Phoebe Churchill. Phoebe is raising her own niece (also illegitimate) by herself, and seems to know just how to handle Clarissa. James wants to hire Phoebe to be his daughters' new governess, but Phoebe demurs partly out of pride and partly because she's seems horrifyingly susceptible to James's good looks and virility. But James is used to having his own way with women, and he knows that given time he will be able to wear down Phoebe's resistance. Will Phoebe's good sense persevere, or will she give in to James's blandishments?
I liked the manner in which the authour initially developed the characters of both James and Phoebe. She showed us how much James wanted to do what was best for his daughters and to create a stable and caring environment for them. I also liked how she showed us that there was more to Phoebe than the almost stern and disapproving young lady we first meet, and how the effect of her mother's thwarted desires and her elder sister's loose reputation had influenced how Phoebe acts and thinks. I even liked how Rexanne Becnel portrayed James's eldest daughter, Clarissa, showing us all the uncertainty, anxiety and anger that the little girl felt at being uprooted and forced to live with her aristocratic father in the country. So that when the novel suddenly devolved into the standard "I must bed you because I desire you as much as you desire me, but that there can really be nothing more than sex between us because I'm sort of engaged to another" loop, I felt really cheated. What happened to the caring gentleman who had resolved to change his ways in the earlier chapters? Did he really want another illegitimate child to contend with? Was he perhaps planning to starting his own merchant empire and thought that the best way to do this was to people it with his children? Or perhaps his great desire was to found a musical society, providing all his children were properly talented, of course? In my opinion, "The Heartbreaker" could have been so much more if James and Phoebe had not consummated their relationship. That way, a more romantic courtship could have been developed, and when the young lady that James is 'sort of engaged to' appears, the whole thing could have had a bit more angst to it. And I wouldn't have had to deal with the giant urge I had to brain James with each subsequent page! But that's just me. Other readers may actually not have minded James's very selfish and uncaring behavior.
Apart from those two occasionally annoying truths, The Heartbreaker is an excellent read. The two older children are marvelously wrought. Phoebe is an independent, responsible woman (except for her inability to resist James' advances). her ready acceptance of the children is an important character trait. James is a man trying to do the right thing to make the best of his past indiscretions, but often failing and trying again. Beneath that he truly loves his children, and that becomes one of his most endearing qualities.
The pace rarely flagged and the author usually kept the interest level up. There were moments of realistic tension and emotional pain, and the chemistry between the lovers rang true.
Personally, I found this to be one of the most enjoyable books of the series, along with The Bridemaker and The Matchmaker.
His oldest child ten year old Clarissa is a foul mouthed hooligan. Neighbor Phoebe Churchill catches Clarissa stealing from her. She takes the child to task and soon they become friendly. As James is amazed with the way Phoebe "handles" Clarissa, he falls in love with his neighbor. He wants her as his wife and mother to his three children (the third he has not brought home yet), help her raise her niece deserted by her mother, and perhaps have more children with her.
This is a refreshing Regency romance that will shake sub-genre fans not ready for a preadolescent with a vocabulary that would make a sailor blush. James is an intriguing protagonist as he faces up to his responsibilities though that costs him his fiancée and a sure seat on the Council of Foreign Affairs. Phoebe is a practical individual trying to do the right thing as she nurtures life's abandoned ones. However, the tale belongs to Clarissa who sets the tone with her thieving and flow of profanity that will either send readers running away or feeling empathy towards this potentially lost soul.