Reviews - What do customers think about The Heart's Strength?
Lovely historical tale set in the 15th century English countryside Jun 7, 2008
This is a delightful sequel to the author's earlier novel 'The Heart's Desire'.
Set 20 year's after the women first meet, they are blissfully happy until the power of the Spanish Inquisition infiltrates the lives of those they care for. Lydia and Catherine must step in and outwit two priests who are manically hell bent to do them harm.
From the publisher's website - Travel back in time to the early Renaissance and revisit Catherine and Lydia as their story continues in Book Two of The Briarcrest Chronicles
Lydia and Catherine have become the caretakers of Briarcrest. When a letter arrives from Catherine's old friend and former assistant, Sarah Pritchard, Catherine sets out on a journey that is both dangerous and embroiled in conflict.
Catherine encounters an old friend in Willowglen and forges a friendship with his daughter, Fiona. The tall, blue-eyed, raven-haired beauty becomes an important ally when two churchmen from Spain set the town in turmoil claiming the authority of the Inquisition.
Suddenly, friends and neighbors are under suspicion. Lydia joins Catherine, and the two women find that they and all whom they love are at the center of a terrible struggle. One of the priests, the Dark Monk, has long harbored a wicked secret and possesses ulterior motives. Catherine and Lydia are beset by danger at every turn. Each must dig deeply to find strength of heart in the battle against the injustices they encounter. But with religion and society at odds, will they all survive the ordeal?
Romance and Rennaisance Mystery! Nov 21, 2007
You never know how strong your heart until faced with the greatest of tests.
Time has passed in the lives of Lady Lydia Wellington and Catherine Hawkins, first introduced to readers in the intriguing book, The Heart's Desire. Now living at Briarcrest, both Lydia and Catherine have lived their lives filled with peace and contentment...until now.
Danger has arrived in the small town of Willowglen. Two different groups of visitors have come to call and the villagers quickly find themselves embroiled in the middle of one's evil intent. For what purpose has this evil arrived? Whose life has it come to claim?
As Lydia and Catherine struggle to find the answers, friends join the fight, friends who have as much to lose as Catherine and Lydia. Why? Does a chance meeting between Catherine and one of the visitors, the beautiful Fiona Smith, have anything to do with this threat?
One in their group soon faces questions of her own. Lydia and Catherine's namesake, Catherine Lydia "Cate" Pritchard, daughter of a close friend, has many thoughts going through her mind. Such as, what danger is now lurking at her own door? And why is she finding herself drawn to Fiona when she has never had feelings for a woman? Love offers your heart a choice, a path to find and a chance to stand strong. Will Cate listen to what her heart's trying to tell her? For that matter, does Fiona want to take the path being offered? Answers will come, but will they be too late? Will the greatest test of a heart's strength lose even this battle?
Anna Furtado entertained and intrigued the reading audience with the first book in her series in The Briarcrest Chronicles, The Heart's Desire, finalist in the Golden Crown Literary Society's Romance Category. In her second book, The Heart's Strength, she has shown her writing style to be captivating, weaving together a masterful tale frought with danger, intrigue and romance. Her upcoming third novel in the series tentatively titled, The Heart's Longing can only give fans of this writer's work eager anticipation of another dynamic and thoroughly delightful read.
Women v the Inquisition Nov 14, 2007
The Heart's Strength is the sequel to Anna Furtado's earlier book, The Heart's Desire. It returns to Renaissance England to pick up the story of Catherine Hawkins and Lady Lydia Wellington more than twenty years later and introduces new characters who become central to the story.
Life at Briarcrest has settled into a comfortable pattern for the ladies who are admired and respected by all who know them. Everything seems ideal until word arrives from the town of Willowglen that Cate Pritchard, the women's goddaughter, is about to give birth to a child out of wedlock and Catherine rushes to help with the delivery. What she finds is bigger trouble than the neighbors gossiping about the circumstances of the child's birth. Two strange priests have appeared in the town claiming to represent the officials of the Inquisition and they are determined to burn someone for witchcraft. As everyone tries to save Cate and her baby from a terrible fate, Lydia suddenly finds herself in particular danger from one of the clergymen, an old enemy the women have failed to recognize. Catherine and her new found friend Fiona Smith, who has grown attached to Cate, will plan a rescue mission to save the women they love, but it will be a race against time to reach them before they succumb to the flames of the Inquisition fire.
Furtado has written a historical novel that is generally accurate. The tone of the book feels right and reflects English society at that time. The majority of the action shifts away from Catherine and Lydia, who starred in the first book, to tell the tale of Cate and Fiona. This contributes to the generational feel of the story and, since the book is subtitled Book Two of the Briarcrest Chronicles, there is an indication that the books are really about Briarcrest and the generations of women who live there, instead of the continuing story of one couple. If this is what is intended, there could be many more chronicles as Briarcrest passes through time and women.
Overall, this is a pleasing romance with a touch of history included. There is suspense, drama and a hair-raising rescue attempt at the end. The characters are appealing and draw the reader into their stories, making the reader want to know what happens to them. Not a bad way at all to spend an afternoon or evening.