The Loyal Heart is the first book in Merry Farmer's fun, sexy, and very knightly Noble Hearts series.
"...This is a really entertaining book with love, lust, action, intrigue, humour, stress, happiness and sadness and is well worth taking the time out of your day to read." - Lindsay and Jane’s Views and Reviews
About The Loyal HeartLady Aubrey has a problem. Several problems. Her childhood love, Ethan, has returned home from the Crusades, but he’s more interested in winning his land back than wooing her. She has to rescue a pair of nuns who are being held prisoner in Derby Castle’s tower by the sadistic Sheriff Buxton. And to top it all off, she’s developing scandalous feelings for Buxton’s lackey, the dark and devilish Crispin. Faced with all that what’s a girl to do but don her disguise as the Derbywood Bandit and take matters into her own hands? Sir Crispin is at his wit’s end. Not only does he have his hands full keeping Buxton from killing half the shire, now his arch nemesis, the Derbywood Bandit, has joined forces with his old rival, Ethan. And that’s nothing compared to the burning torch he carries for his ex-fiancé, Lady Aubrey. He would do anything to win Aubrey’s love … … until he suspects that there could be a closer connection between Aubrey and the Derbywood Bandit than anyone has guessed. Genre classification: Medieval Historical Romance
The Loyal Heart is available exclusively on on Amazon.
Merry Farmer is an award-winning author of Historical Romance and what she likes to call “Sci-Fi for Women.” She lives in suburban Philadelphia with her two cats and enough story ideas to keep her writing until she’s 132. Her second novel, The Faithful Heart, was a 2102 RONE Award finalist and her unpublished futuristic novel A Man’s World won first place in the Novel: Character category at the 2013 Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. She is out to prove that you can make a living as a self-published author and to help others to do the same. Find Merry Farmer on her website, Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon Author Page.
Ethan paced in front of the cell door, waiting for the opportunity to put their plan in motion. It came quickly. When he heard the noise and leaned up against the door Jack leapt into action, Tom behind him. Ethan pressed his face against the bars as hard as he could and tried to see what had caused the guards to get up. He heard voices but couldn’t see a thing. He thought he heard a crunch and a thump. Then his eyes widened and he whipped around to Jack.“They’re coming!” He took two steps towards the man, made a fist, and pounded him hard across the jaw.Jack’s neck twisted with the force of the blow and he staggered to keep his balance. “Oy!” he shouted, holding the side of his face with an irate frown. “What the bloody hell was that for?”“To make it look like a fight!” Ethan explained, bursting with energy.“Yeah, but I thought I would hit you!” To prove his point Jack threw a hard punch at Ethan.Ethan dodged just enough to let the blow land without doing any damage. “Get off me, you cur!” he shouted, glancing over his shoulder at the door.“I’ll cur you!” Jack made a run at Ethan.Ethan was set to grapple with Jack when the door to the cell flew open to reveal Aubrey looking like a wild warrior. “Aubrey?” he barely had enough time to say before Jack crashed into him shoulder first. Jack expected Ethan to counterbalance and when he didn’t they toppled full force to the floor in the doorway with a thud that knocked the wind out of both of them.Aubrey didn’t miss a beat. She tossed her dagger in the air to change her grip, slammed her foot into Jack’s shoulder, and when that pushed him off of Ethan, she lunged at him with full force. She planted her right foot on the back of his knees and grabbed his ginger hair. When she squatted he was forced to bend backwards, spine stretched over her leg near to the breaking point. Her dagger was cold against his throat before anyone had a clue what was going on.“Aubrey stop!” Ethan shouted as he recovered.Jack was ready to soil himself. “I didn’t do it, I swear!”“Stop,” Ethan repeated, eyes wide. “He’s a friend.”Aubrey blinked at the shocked man whose spine she was about to snap. “Really?” she arched an eyebrow. “Any reason why he was attacking you?”“It was part of the plan.” There was something about the fire in her eyes that made his throat tighten and a grin play at the corners of his mouth.“Yeah, the plan!” Jack stammered. “Someone please tell her about the plan!” Aubrey glanced to Ethan and when she saw the sparkle in his eyes she loosened her grip on Jack and stepped away. Jack collapsed, legs sprawling, and squeezed his eyes shut. When he opened them and glanced up to Aubrey’s beautiful face his eyes danced to a grin and he winked. “Well, that would’a beat hangin’ any day.”
The Loyal Heart started off with a bang for me but then fell flat for quite a while. I generally love historical romances but this one just wasn't quite it for me. It definitely follows along the Robin Hood tale (not sure if that was quite intentional but it seems it would be).
I enjoyed the spunk of Aubrey, adored Jack (by far my favorite character in the novel), and really liked Crispin once we learned his true nature. I wasn't a huge fan of the other characters though. Of course, Ethan... blah. I didn't like him from the get-go.
Anyways... overall, it just went on and on and on and on and on and on and on.... you get the point here. I had to push myself to continue reading for a while but once we get to the point in the plot where we see Crispin is actually the good guy... it took back off for me.
At that point, I became a bit more invested in the story & the outcomes of the characters. The characters you thought were the good guys during the first half of the novel are flipped to the bad guys. I did like that part of the plot but I wish we wouldn't have wasted so much time to get to that point.
So overall, for me, I liked this novel but I didn't just fawn over it. Now, give me a story about just Crispin & Jack... I think I'd love that! Those two characters truly made this novel worth reading for me. If it wasn't for those two characters, I don't think I'd have even finished this one.
Overall Rating: 3 Stars
Cover Rating: 2 Stars <-- for some reason, historical novel covers never quite do it for me
Characters: 3 Stars
Plot: 3 Stars
Climax: 4 Stars
Ending: 4 Stars