Heart Of Stone by John Jackson is a historical romance based on the author’s ancestors. It’s set in Ireland between the years 1735-1752.
Robert Rochfort is the eldest of three brothers; a cold hearted and jealous man by nature, he is also a peer and member of Parliament. He is recruited by Stafford, a King’s man, to keep the peace in County Westmeath whilst mustering troops for the British army.
When Robert’s father dies, he feels the pressure to remarry (his first wife died) so that he may produce a legitimate heir. Spurred on by the fact his brother George already has a son, Robert pursues Mary Molesworth. Mary’s generous dowry would also help Robert to build a residence to rival George’s new household.
To Robert, Mary is a means to an end and an item he owns. He shows her no affection and leaves her alone for long periods, using his work for the army as an excuse. He keeps a series of mistresses, returning to the marriage bed only to produce the longed-for heir.
Robert’s younger brother Arthur is also an army man. He meets Mary at her wedding and instantly feels affection for her. For years his love smoulders until he can hold back no longer. Mary’s loveless marriage has her eager for attention, but when Robert discovers the lovers, his anger and jealousy have no bounds.
I was very interested to read about the years that covered the famine in Ireland and its repercussions; the plight of the people and the devastation was terrible. I also thought the sections featuring the court case between Robert and Arthur showed so well the few rights that many individuals had at the time. Arthur’s time in prison was also very enlightening.
The author’s style of writing did feel rather clinical and passionless, tending towards ‘telling’ rather than ‘showing’; perhaps it was intentional, reflecting the book title? The information was all there, it just did little to excite my reading experience.
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Genre: Historic Fiction
Release Date: 24th October 2017
Publisher: Crooked Cat Books
When young and beautiful Mary Molesworth is forced to marry Robert Rochford, widowed heir to the earldom of Belfield, she finds that her idea of love is not returned. Jealous, cruel and manipulative, Robert ignores her after she has provided him with a male heir, preferring to spend his nights with his mistress. Power-hungry, Robert builds up a reputation that sees him reach for the highest positions in Ireland.
Caught in an unhappy marriage, Mary begins to grow closer to Robert’s younger brother, Arthur. Acknowledging their love for each other, they will risk everything to be together. But Robert’s revenge threatens their lives and tears them apart.
Will Mary and Arthur find a way to escape Robert’s clutches?
Based on real events, Heart of Stone is a tale of power, jealousy, imprisonment, and love, set in 1740s Ireland.
ABOUT JOHN JACKSON
Following a lifetime at sea, John Jackson has now retired and lives in York and has now turned his hand to writing fiction.
An avid genealogist, he found a rich vein of ancestors. They included Irish peers, country parsons, and army and navy officers. They opened up Canada and Australia and fought at Waterloo.
John is a keen member of the Romantic Novelists Association and graduated through their New Writers Scheme. He is also a member of the Historic Novel Society and an enthusiastic conference-goer for both.
He describes himself as being “Brought up on Georgette Heyer from an early age, and, like many of my age devoured R L Stevenson, Jane Austen, Edgar Allen Poe and the like.”
His modern favorite authors include Bernard Cornwell, Simon Scarrow, Lindsey Davis, Liz Fenwick and Kate Mosse.
Goodreads Author Page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17103004.John_Jackson?from_search=true