Heart of Stone by John Jackson
When I bought the novel, Heart of Stone recently, I did so largely because it was written by my friend, John Jackson. I do not read much in the historical romance genre now, although I read little else for many years. However, I am delighted that I did buy the book as it is an excellent read.
Heart of Stone is set in Eire in the 1700s long before Ireland was a divided island. The story is based on real events and real people and that, for me, added to the interest and intrigue.
It tells the story of a young and beautiful heiress, Mary Molesworth, who is forced to marry Robert Rochford, the widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield. He is much older than her and, unfortunately, she finds that her idea of love is not returned by him. Robert is jealous, and cruel. He has a series of mistresses both before and during the marriage. Their first child is a daughter, in whom Robert shows no interest. However, after Mary has provided Robert with a male heir, he ignores her from then on. He spends his nights with his mistresses instead. Nevertheless, Robert builds up a fine reputation in the military and this allows him to reach for the highest positions in Ireland.
Mary is lonely and misses her husband. She gradually grows closer to Robert’s younger brother, Arthur. They risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.
This novel is carefully crafted and the historical elements are accurate and interesting. The author does not shy away from issues that would be politically incorrect today but are true of the time. Particularly, the inferior position of women in eighteenth century society and the grim realities of debtors prison are well explored.
I enjoyed Heart of Stone far more than I expected to. I have no hesitation in recommending it most highly. I will certainly look out for future novels by John Jackson, not because he is my friend, but because he is a fine writer.
Heart of Stone is published by Crooked Cat Books and is available from Amazon now.