Monday, March 26, 2012

Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins

Edition: Paperback, 320 pages
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: July 2009
Genre: Historical fiction, 1700s, adventure, romance
Overall Rating: 4/5

The rules for a young English woman in 1799 are simple: Do what you're told; stay out of the way; and don't, under any circumstances, ask questions. 

But Constance Blackchurch is insatiable, headstrong, and complex; and the quest to find her missing mother is too much to resist...

as is Alexandre Sans-Nom, the pearl diver who steals her heart, uproots all of her social expectations, and can either ruin or save the family she loves.

The story was intriguing...a missing mother. A brooding, and distant father. A secret, and of course, a forbidden romance. The story is a bit dry at first but once Constance begins finding out information about her mother's whereabouts, it picks up quite a bit. My only issue with making Unclaimed Heart a favorite was that I felt it was written in sort-of juvenile way. It's not a middle grade novel–at least not by my knowledge–and Wilkins has written other historical romances for adults so I was sort of surprised it would get this feeling. I liked the characters, particularly the french sailor-boy (but of course!) and the setting/period but the main character, Constance, again felt in some way a bit too distant. Some of the predicaments Constance finds herself in is not very realistic, almost silly, and at times a bit rushed which can take the shine off the adventure.

Perhaps the toned-down atmosphere will keep it from being an extremely enticing novel, but it was a nice, quick read nonetheless. Younger readers will probably enjoy this novel much more; in fact, I would definitely have read and loved this book several years ago. Still, I hardly ever regret reading a book set on the high seas! Recommended for ages 12+.

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