Publisher: Mira Historical books
Heart of Honor is the first book in Kat Martin’s “Heart” trilogy. I must admit, I read this book when it originally came out, desperate to read another Kat Martin book! I have been enjoying her books for years and was so pleased to find a new series. I didn’t like this book when I originally read it, but after reading the next two in the series, I picked it up to read again, and saw it in a different light! I enjoyed the book much more the second time around!
This book is a big step away from Kat Martin’s usual glittering ton romances of Regency England! We find our hero as part of a sideshow at a carnival. Leif Drauger, a Viking, who was shipwrecked on English shores has been taken captive and placed in a cage as “the barbarian” in a circus act. He can’t speak English and therefore can’t communicate with his captors. (One has to wonder why he couldn’t have used other forms of communication other than speech….)
Krista Hart is the editor of a lady’s weekly gazette and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. She seems to be frequently doing things that would put her reputation or safety on the line. She and her father find Leif at the circus, recognize that he is speaking an old Norse dialect and demand his release. Leif is the first man who makes Krista feel anything; the attraction between them is strong, but she continues to fight it.
Krista’s father takes on Leif as a project; teaches him English and and also teaches him to be a gentleman. Although Leif quickly proves to be a smart student, his Viking background seems to keep him firmly rooted in the “Me Man, You Little Woman” scenario. Krista is a strong character, taking on social inequalities and Woman’s rights issues in her newspaper. This seems to frequently put her in danger, and Leif takes on the role of protector. He feels that the Gods have brought him and Krista together and she is the woman destined for him. He also is a strong character he is intent on enforcing his “way”. He kidnaps Krista and takes her back to his island to fulfill a promise he made to his father.
This book was a reverse version of “My Fair Lady” with Leif being the one groomed. Upon second read, the characters seemed to make more sense and what I felt were weird actions the first time around, seemed to fit the characters when I had another look. I have to admit, though, Leif still came off as too alpha-male for my tastes! When he is found in the next two books in the series, he seems a bit more toned down and more believable!
Kat Martin is a talented writer, not afraid to take on complex plots or characters. Don’t dismiss this series because of this book. Give it a fair chance! The Historical Romance Writers review of this book says, “The first of a new series, Heart of Honor, is a grand way for the author to begin…Kat Martin has penned another memorable tale. Martin puts a twist on the captive/captor theme by cleverly combining it with a bit of pygmalion and a touch of Tarzan for a fast-paced, sensual, entertaining tale.” “Heart of Honor sweeps the reader away on a tidal wave of emotion, bittersweet, poignant romance and a tantalizing primal sexuality that are the inimitable trademarks of multi-talented author Kat Martin” Winterhaven News
Romance Readers at Heart kind of mirror my thoughts when they say: “…what Martin does do well is create a fascinating historical depiction of the Vikings and their culture, although I must say I did get a bit of tired of Leif’s chauvinistic attitude and his constant “You’re Mine!”reminders to Krista.”