Don’t you just love it when you come across a book that is not to be put down? A book that keeps you up into the wee hours of the night. A book that is written so well, you don’t regret the lack of sleep. Stolen Hearts is just such a book. Intrigue, humor, passion, suspense – this book has so much to offer.
Tess Alcott has managed, in her short life, to become a jewel thief whose name makes the people at Interpol cringe. She is a very successful thief, of not only jewels, but of priceless works of art, and other objects that keep her very comfortably in chocolate and expensive clothes. She is pondering a life of leisure when the heist of a lifetime falls into her lap, thanks to Bert, the man who bought her as a young girl from a child thieving ring and trained her. Tess is to become the lost heiress Elizabeth Cushman. If she can fool Elizabeth’s grandmother, she will have access to the whole Cushman fortune, not to mention the Cushman jewels.
Unfortunately, Elizabeth Cushman’s grandmother is one sharp lady, who has retained Luke Mansfield, a family friend, as her lawyer. Luke has more than his personal reputation at stake – Jane Cushman, the grandmother, helped to raise Luke, and he would do anything to keep her from getting hurt. What he doesn’t count on is his intense, and reciprocated, feelings of desire toward Tess.
I just love the idea of a con artist as a heroine. Tess is cynical and jaded, and yet manages to be innocent and sensitive as well. A wonderful contradiction that is pulled off beautifully by Ms. Martin. Luke is strong and aloof, and his gradual change into someone who delights in intimacy – both physical and emotional – is a joy to read. The history of both of these people is woven throughout the book, giving them a depth that makes them very real and sympathetic.
Grandma Jane is no shawl-wearing busybody. As a secondary character, she is delightful – confident, tough, stylish, and of course, exuding that upper crust aura that is so necessary for a matriarch in a powerful East Coast family. Along with Jane, there are numerous secondaries: a stodgy butler, a more than slimy bad guy, and a few WEB (World Enforcement Bureau) agents, along with many others, all created with just enough complexity to make the story seem so very real.
If I had one complaint, it would be the slight purpleness of some of the prose:
She needed to feel him, all of him. Needed to feel branded and claimed and wanted. This was real, this was honest, this was true. His kisses burned everything away, until there was only this spiraling joy that made everything seem right.
I might also add that these two people, in the midst of passion, are the noisiest pair I’ve ever encountered. Moaning, screaming, crying, sighing – it was darn distracting for a moment or two.
Stolen Hearts was fun, touching, and surprisingly intricate. In it were two people that I really wanted an HEA for – a confident, somewhat untrustworthy but ultimately honorable heroine, and a hero who definitely knows the meaning of the word cherish. With a book that can offer all of that, a few moments of even the purplest prose can be forgiven, don’t you think?
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