What the Hart Wants (Headstrong Harts Book 1)



Fraser MacGregor has just become the thirteenth Duke Molineux as the story opens in 1819. Delilah (Lilah) Hart is raising awareness about the challenges faced by people living at the whim of the aristocracy through writing a series of articles titled “Essays on Patriarchy”. She has also been caring for the birds in the aviary of the abandoned home of the Duke for the past four years. This home has become her sanctuary, allowing her to escape familial pressures to comply with being a pliable and docile wife. She wants more out of her life, but can’t envision any man granting her the independence and autonomy she craves. Fraser and Lilah meet awkwardly when he finally visits his new home. Later, Fraser seeks out Lilah’s brother, a banker, to inquire about a loan so he can begin selling Scottish Whiskey in England. 

Emily Royal does an amazing job of capturing the powerlessness of females of this era, while giving readers a female protagonist who is strong enough to fight back while overcoming multiple obstacles. The pace increases markedly during the latter half of the book. Delilah’s articles are being rewritten, which she is powerless to stop, to incite unrest among the masses, causing a huge misunderstanding later in the book. Fraser’s pride nearly becomes a tangible character for part of this book, leading to an increase in the tension. These memorable characters will linger in minds and hearts long after the final page is turned, giving readers insights into the way women were inconveniently constrained at this time in history.

Carey Sullivan