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Hidden in the Heart
By Beth Andrews

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Hidden in the Heart

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Hidden in the Heart
By Beth Andrews
Ulverscroft Large Print, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-84617-817-7
Genre: Romantic Suspense / Mystery

Reviewed by Auggie Moore - August 20, 2007

Hidden in the Heart is another outstanding Regency romance by Beth Andrews, with a little something extra!

As the story opens, we meet the Bramwell's of Laburnum Lodge. Louisia Bramwell, the oldest daughter in the family is getting ready to be presented to London society - and to find herself a rich and hopefully titled husband. Although perhaps once wealthy, the family is now of modest means, the father being a solicitor. So all hopes, well at least those of Louisa and her mother, are on her getting a rich husband in order to restore the family's fortune. Due to this dearth of funds, Lydia, the younger of the two Bramwell girls, is packed off to Sussex to spend the season with Miss Camilla Denton, their mother's half sister.

Miss Denton is a thirty-year-old spinster living in the quiet Village of Diddlington, so Lydia is not expecting to find much excitement during her exile to the country. As we will see, she is oh so wrong! About her aunt being an old fuddy-duddy, the nature of quiet country life, and oh so much more...

The main focus of the story centers upon Lydia and her adventures in Diddlignton. Soon after her arrival, there is a horrific murder in Wickham Woods, and it appears that Lydia is the only one who can identify the victim! To find the murderer, Lydia teams up with John Savidge, an irreverent young man who shares her desire to get to the heart of the mystery. In the process they engage in nocturnal investigations of the woods and discover, quite unexpectedly, that they both like to kiss! The story is filled with a good dose of humor and lots of memorable characters. These characters include Miss Denton who is a true romantic at heart, Monsieur Henri d'Almain an ex-pat Frenchman who has recently fled the Terrors, and Mrs. Wardle-Penfield, the wealthy matron who bullies everyone in the village. Along the way the two intrepid sleuths encounter a host of busy-bodies, a gang of smugglers, rumors of treasures, and a mysterious old man. Even worse, the first murder in Wickham Woods is not the last!

Hidden in the Heart is a delightful book. There are several romances interwoven throughout the story, but this is more of a mystery story than a pure romance. Lydia and John are basically kindred spirits and they make a well-matched team who could easily set out together on a career as a pair of crime-fighting sleuths not unlike Charlotte and Thomas Pitt in Anne Perry's novels. Best of all, Andrews has included some delicious twists and turns that keep the story moving, and the reader guessing about just what is really going on! As well, while there are some deaths in this novel, they take place off stage so there is not any bloodshed or other displeasing violence for the reader to deal with directly.

While I've like all of Andrews' books that I've read so far, Hidden in the Heart is by far my favorite! The story is complex and the mystery elements made for a nice change of pace. In addition, Andrews' pacing and suspenseful storyline kept the pages turning, seemingly of their own volition! Hidden in the Heart is a great romance, and a great mystery rolled into one thrilling storyline that will delight both romance and mystery readers!

Other books by Beth Andrews include:
Hidden in the Heart can be purchased directly from Ulverscroft.

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