Kindred Hearts by Rowan Speedwell

KindredHeartsLgTitle:  Kindred Hearts

Author: Rowan Speedwell 

Genre:   Historical Romance

Length:  Novel (350 pages)

Publisher:  Dreamspinner Press (May 2nd 2011)

Heat Level:  Moderate

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts

Blurb:   Charming rascal Tristan Northwood seems to have it all: an ancient name, a noble inheritance, a lovely wife, and a son he adores. Women love him, men admire him, and it seems there is nothing he can’t do, whether it’s seducing a society wife or winning a carriage race. Little does Society suspect that the name means nothing to him, the fortune is in his father’s controlling hands, and he has no interest in his wife except a very distant friendship. Society bores him, and he takes dares because he only feels alive when he’s dancing on the edge… until his wife’s brother comes home from the wars.

Decorated war hero Major Charles Mountjoy jerks Tris out of his despair by inspiring feelings of passion Tris had never suspected himself capable of. Almost as terrifying as those feelings for Charles are the signs Charles might return his affection—or, even worse, that Charles sees the man Tristan has been trying so valiantly to hide from the world.

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I am reviewing based on the audio book:

Reviewer:   Tams

Review:  Tristan Northwood is a deviant by the standards of his time. He drinks like a fish, parties like a rock star, takes any dare that is thrown his way and sleeps with any woman that blinks in his direction. It’s all just a façade that he presents as his public persona. He lost his mother and baby sister when he was just a boy, and he’s felt his father’s disdain for him every day since. Now a grown man, his father continues to control him, as he is the one that holds the purse strings.

An arranged marriage is set, as the Baron no longer wants his son and only heir ramshackling his way across the countryside. Charlotte Mountjoy and Tristan are married and being their otherwise unconventional marriage as mere strangers. Over the next several years, though they develop a bond that is unwavering, becoming best friends and parents to a little boy with another child on the way. But Tris is even more restless all these years later. Until Lottie’s twin brother, Charles comes for a visit.

Tris is attracted to Charles from the start, which only adds to his uncertainty as of late. He’s always had an odd attraction to the same-sex, but never acted on it due to the negative and damning effects of homosexuality at the time. Charles as well hides his attraction to Tris, until he learns that the attraction is mutual. But Tristan’s self-loathing and dangerous plans threaten to destroy any chance these two would have at happiness.

I loved the history that was woven into the story. From the costumes of the period down to Napoleon and the war. The book was set in the late 1800’s, a time in which homosexuality was considered sodomy and punishable by incarceration, possibly death. It was interesting how Speedwell painted this aspect of the storyline without weighing down the overall story. I was fascinated as I listened to Tristan’s exploits and followed him as he went from insecure and immature to a strong, fierce, and loyal doctor. Charles and Lottie play a huge role in his growth throughout the story. They both love him unconditionally, but it’s Charles that is IN love with him, and it’s that love that gives Tris the strength to become the man he is at the end.

This book was narrated by Paul Morey, and Morey is a fantastic storyteller. You can hear the emotions in his voice from changes in octave to slight nuances within the different characters. He expertly nails the sensuality and passion of the more intimate scenes between Charles and Tris as well. I know they say an audio book is a different experience from reading the story, but I would recommend this book regardless of the final delivery.

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