The Loyal Heart (The Noble Hearts, #1)

ISBN Number: 

England,  1191.  In a country without a king, intrigue is everywhere and no one is what he or she seem.  Derbyshire is under the control of a sadistic new sheriff, and it is whispered he is plotting treason on behalf of Prince John.

Lady Aubrey of Morley has lost everything to the whims of King Richard and his Crusades.  Her childhood love, Sir Ethan, is away fighting, her brother has returned a shell of the man he once was and she barely holds on to her home by donning the garb of the Derbywood Bandit.    Having narrowly escaped a forced betrothal to Sir Crispin of Huntingdon, she has vowed to wait for Sir Ethan to return. But, when he does, why is it Crispin that she cannot forget?

This medieval adventure has a beginning full of promise.  We meet a spirited heroine, an amusing cast of secondary characters and not one, but TWO potential heroes.  From there it becomes a loosely written tale rife with anachronistic names, dialogue and references. However, a patient reader would be well served to stick with it to the end.  When one does, it will be found that Ms. Farmer's treatment of Robin Hood is much more historically accurate than the Disney film (where Prince John was a thumb-sucking lion voiced by Peter Ustinov).  The Hero of The Loyal Heart is firmly on the side of Prince John, which gives a fantastic perspective in which to view the entire story.

The last third of the book is much more tightly written - exciting and dramatic, with a scene involving a human chess game that was truly excellent!  Ms. Farmer hits her stride by the last notes of this book, leaving one eagerly anticipating her next installment.

Tammy Grant