4 stars

Historical Romance Review: The Heart Remembers by Barbara Hazard

The Heart Remembers, Barbara Hazard, Signet, 1990, Gregg Gulboronson cover art
4 Stars

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Fitting Sequel to a Great Love Story

The Heart Remembers is Barbara Hazard’s sequel to one of the more poignant and beloved romance novels I’ve enjoyed reading: Call Back the Dream. In it, Camille Talbot, a mere vicar’s daughter, and Alexander Maxwell, a Viscount and heir to an Earldom, find love but are only reunited only after many years of separation and loss. Because of Alexander’s father’s nefarious machinations, Camille and Alexander married other people even though Camille was pregnant with their son Jack. Though a tearjerker for certain, Call Back the Dream ended happily, as all romance novels should.

However happy endings aren’t perfect endings because the actions of years past can have lasting and damning effects.

Camille and Alexander from Call Back the Dream suffer for the cruel manipulations enacted upon them, mainly those by Alexander’s father, a bigoted earl whose evil deeds brought down his own destruction as well as hurting the generations after him.

The Plot

Jack is dealt the shocking blow that the man he thought his father was actually not. The truth is he’s the love child of his mother and stepfather. Shocked by his “illegitimacy,” the lies, and the betrayal of the woman he loves, Jack flees to Bermuda to search for forgiveness and acceptance. Unfortunately, Camille and Alexander age rapidly. They experience extreme hurt and do not see their son for years afterward.

Because of his past, Jack feels unworthy of any woman’s love, but more importantly, he feels unworthy as a human, questioning his place in this world. Again, this is a story where the hero is the center of it, and I would say one of the better ones that focuses primarily from the hero’s perspective.

However, Bermudan colonist, Kate Hathaway, is no Mary Sue. She is young and impetuous and madly in love with Jack. Nevertheless, she is a strong character in her own right and a worthy mate for him.

While Kate falls for him immediately, Jack, on the other hand, has no time for love. He wants to make something of himself on his own. He can run a plantation in Bermuda with no help from his noble relatives.

Kate is in pursuit of Jack throughout much of the story. Kate is doggedly determined to learn more about Jack and help him conquer his demons. Although attracted to her, Jack refuses her advances. Nevertheless, Kate is resolved to show him their love is possible. But there is so much hurt for Jack to overcome, and he is cruel to the ever-devoted Kate.

Final Analysis of The Heart Remembers

This is one of those great books where the heroine heals the hero’s emotional wounds. While The Heart Remembers pales compared to its much more emotionally draining predecessor, it is a strong, wonderful love story on its own.

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