Sunday, March 11, 2012

Review: Unclaimed Heart - Kim Wilkins

Unclaimed Heart by Kim Wilkins
Genre: YA, historical fiction, romance
Published on July 9, 2009
Published by Razorbill
Pages: 320
Read From: 2.27.12 - 2.29.12

In 18th century Britain, what a young lady wants isn't always what she gets - unless she's willing to pay a price. 
Constance has it all - except the one thing she wants most: her mother. So she sneaks aboard her father's merchant ship, defying all rules and - more importantly - betraying her father's invaluable trust. What she doesn't expect to find is Alexandre, a handsome stowaway with a sinister past. 
An irresistible force draws Constance to Alexandre, despite her attempts to tear herself away. Loving him would be scandal, but Constance is bound to Alexandre by more than passion; the valuable pearl she hides for him represents his only chance at freedom. 
Alexandre doesn't just lay claim to Constance's heart. He's also the one person who can solve the mystery behind her mother's disappearance.


Two words: massively dull. If it weren't for the time period, I would not have finished it. None of the characters are particularly interesting, the storyline is null, and the villain is not all that terrifying. At first, Constance shows promise as a level-headed heroine, but when she so willingly begins to believe vicious rumors about her father, and then expands on them in her own mind, it became apparent that she was pretty air-headed. This was only confirmed further when she falls in love with a young man quite literally the moment she sees him. There is one thing I can say in her favor: she may be an airhead, but she isn't an annoying airhead.

The romance between Alexandre and Constance was perhaps the most aggravating aspect of this story. I didn't particularly mind that they fell in love, though I would have preferred if they had only become attached in a brother-sister sort of way. It was how rapidly they fell in love. It's immediate. The story gives no opportunity for their love to grow over time. As soon as they see each other, they automatically can't stop thinking about each other, can't live without each other, will do anything for each other, et cetera. And I mean it when I say it's as sudden and rapid as a lightning bolt. If an Author is going to write a book purely for the romantic aspect, then devote time to having the relationship grow. Don't make it instantaneous.

I was hoping that the search for Constance's mother might offer something of a storyline, and for a while it is a bit intriguing. But it ends in a thoroughly dull explanation. Nothing exciting about it at all. About the only exciting aspect is the trouble Constance's even sillier and bratty friend Orlanda causes, and when the villain tries to exact revenge on Alexandre.

However, the ending was good, if only because it was realistic. It's predictable from the standpoint that of course Alexandre and Constance end up together. But they have to spend a year courting properly, giving Alexandre a chance to make his way in the world. And I'll also give the Author points on the fact that this is a completely clean romance story. While the characters are hasty in their attachments, they never behave inappropriately. So, two points for that, and for those people who enjoy romances with little storyline, this would be a good book to pick up. For me personally, the relationship was too quick to develop, it needed a plot, and the villain was not at all a proper villain.

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