My Reckless Heart
At the age of four, Decker Thorne was separated from his two brothers when he was adopted from a London orphanage by a pair of engaging pickpockets. Handsome and charming, roguish Decker has learned his con-artist tricks well, and because of these talents is inadvertently reunited with his long-lost older brother. (Colin’s story, My Steadfast Heart, is the first book of the trilogy and it is there Decker and Colin are initially reunited.) A wanted man, Decker leaves England to seek employment in Boston at Remmington Shipping. Through skill and luck, Decker rises quickly in the company to become a sea captain, ending a record-breaking voyage and saving his lovely boss’s life the same day.
Jonna Remmington, a beautiful and terribly lonely young woman, runs the shipping company founded by her late father. She is smart and independent, so much so she has remained unwed, fearing her suitors are only after her wealth and lucrative shipping company. Grant Sheridan, a man who insists he is engaged to Jonna, even though she has never accepted his proposals of marriage, plots to obtain Remmington Shipping any way he can. Jonna regards Grant as her fiscal equal, so considers his proposals. But Grant’s kisses leave her cold. As a result, Jonna is sure she is passionless. To test her theory, she asks Decker to kiss her and is made so weak-kneed from his sultry sensuality she can barely stand. You can hear the thud as Grant’s proposals are immediately relegated to the dust bin.
When Jonna narrowly escapes death (for the third time), Decker kidnaps her aboard her own flagship and whisks her off to England so he can keep her out of harm’s way until he figures out who’s trying to kill her. Hungry for physical love but certain Decker doesn’t find her desirable enough to approach her, Jonna makes Decker an offer no healthy male could refuse. Ever the opportunist, Decker manages to turn Jonna’s own seduction against her to force her to marry him, which is what he really wanted all along, but he thinks Jonna loves Colin, and Jonna thinks Decker loves Colin’s wife, Mercedes, and . . . . Well, this bit of over-plotting muddled the story. There was enough external conflict going on to keep things moving without Decker and Jonna remaining distrustful of each other for so long.
I read My Steadfast Heart and My Reckless Heart back-to-back, making comparisons inevitable. While I enjoyed both stories very much, I felt the first book deserved a slightly higher rating due in large part to more of those sticky coincidences that push the limits of credibility just a bit. Plus, knowing how many weeks it took to travel by sail across the Atlantic in the early 1800’s, the mobility of some of these characters is a little astonishing. This, and the fact there was no Big Reunion Scene where the brothers realize who they are, hug and cry (okay, so I’m a sentimental slob), or at least shake hands with big grins on their (incredibly handsome) faces, kept me from rating this book as highly as its predecessor. On a positive note, however, Goodman’s earlier heroines were often a little too feisty in the face of danger to be believable. I was glad to see that Jonna, when forced into a heart-stoppingly horrific choice, acts in a manner consistent with a terrified, yet basically rational, woman.
With plenty of action, numerous interwoven sub-plots, heated sexual tensions and sizzling love scenes, a pair of hard-to-hold-onto heirloom earrings, and a villain more than worthy of the title, I found this a very satisfying read. And, is it possible we have (hmm, coincidentally) met Grey, the third brother?
The trilogy will be completed with Grey’s story in With All My Heart.