REVIEW: My Steadfast Heart by Jo Goodman
MY STEADFAST HEART by Jo Goodman brings back memories of my favorite historical romance books of the 80s/90s, without too much of the “bodice ripper” attitudes that would seem overbearing to romance readers today.
Why was this book in Dorine’s TBR? Jo Goodman is one of my favorite historical western romance writers. I was curious how a different historical era would compare from this talented author, especially since it was written in 1997. Most books I loved back then don’t stand the test of time with my bossy self today. I can’t get past the men’s attitudes toward women, as well as how women accepted their fate and loved the men anyways. “We’ve come a long way” surely describes my growth as a reader, as well as a woman.
The Prologue seized me when three brothers are separated by the orphanage that takes them in after their parents’ death. I love, love, love orphanage stories. The first line, “They came for the baby first,” is the best first sentence I’ve read in years. It piqued my curiosity and I was in for the full ride from that moment. The brothers’ stories are what grabbed me, but it was Colin and Mercedes’ predicaments that kept me reading.
Colin grew up on a ship after leaving the orphanage and eventually became a captain. He’s known for his speed and he isn’t surprised when someone wagers against him. When the earl loses, he challenges Colin to a duel for cheating him. Mercedes is the earl’s poor relation and is convinced by his normal cruel methods to try to stop Colin from showing up at the duel location by any means possible.
MY STEADFAST HEART has everything I love in a historical romance novel. The children add a great dynamic to Mercedes’s story, as well as warranting Colin’s developing feelings for her and her family due to his own troubled past. I loved their conflicts and how they resolved the problems they faced.
The villains are extra nasty and added that creep-factor that makes you root for Mercedes, hoping Colin will be the one to save her from her current life. Mercedes seems weak at first, but her strengths help Colin in the end. Colin wasn’t always my favorite because he was a jerk to Mercedes, at first, but he ended up being the perfect man for her.
I could tell this was an early Goodman novel because it’s easy to recognize the 90s romances when comparing them to today’s books. There is an abundance of sexual encounters with some of the usual purple prose that makes me giggle. It’s not as riveting as her westerns, but it’s much more riveting than other books written during this time. I’ve tried to go back and read my favorites without success. I gobbled this book up without hesitation or feeling creeped-out by the alpha male insensitivity. It’s good story-telling and the series promises to be very intriguing with some unexpected heroes.
I enthusiastically look forward to book two in the THORNE BROTHERS series. The hero captured my curiosity, and I can’t wait to see how Goodman redeems him. MY STEADFAST HEART by Jo Goodman was a perfect choice from my TBR for our historical challenge. It reminds me what I loved about those stories written in the 90s and made me realize there are still great books to discover that stand the test of time.
Review by Dorine, courtesy of The Zest Quest. Digital copy obtained for free from an Amazon Kindle promotion.
My Steadfast Heart by Jo Goodman
Category: Historical Romance
Publisher: Zebra (March 1, 1997)
Rated 4 out of 5