Tuesday, April 26, 2011

"a heart most worthy" by siri mitchell

Italian immigrants Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana spend their days working in Madame Fortier's gown shop, and they spend their evenings falling for the wrong men. Feisty Julietta is pursued by a family friend, yet she is drawn to recent immigrant--and anarchist--Angelo. Dutiful Annamaria has always known that, as the oldest daughter, she must forgo her desires for a husband and family until after her parents' death, yet when she meets Rafaello, a Sicilian grocer's son, she longs to buck tradition and live a life full of love. Secretive Luciana, daughter of the assassinated Count of Roma, lives in fear that her father's murderer will find and kill her as he promised. When she meets wealthy Billy Quinn, son of Madame Fortier's most important (and most difficult) client, she longs to begin a life with him but fears her presence will put him in danger.

Intertwined with the women's stories, Siri Mitchell's A Heart Most Worthy also sheds light on two events long forgotten in American history--the Spanish Influenza epidemic and the Great Italian Emigration. I'm sure I knew about the influenza at one point, but I had no idea the Italians were so reviled when they first came to America. I greatly enjoyed this look into a time I knew little about. I also enjoyed the women's stories. These are not static characters; Mitchell created women who grow and change throughout the book, and each woman's story is compelling.

My one criticism is in the point of view Mitchell employed when writing this book. While reading, I couldn't quite put my finger on what was wrong; I just knew the narrative was difficult to follow at times. In the acknowledgements, Mitchell says she used an omniscient point of view--she was in various characters' heads at various times, and she even addressed the audience directly from time to time. I'm not used to reading things from that point of view (though apparently it was quite popular in the 19th century), and I found it jarring to leap from one person's thoughts to another's. After about four chapters, I got used to it and just enjoyed the novel.

A Heart Most Worthy is an enjoyable read, especially if you like historical romance. Don't let the point of view get in the way of experiencing this book--just keep reading, and I'm sure you'll like it!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free for review from Bethany House Publishers through their book reviewer program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


  1. I want to read this now, to check out the omniscient point of view. :)

  2. It was unlike anything I could remember reading--at times, it was like a voice-over narration in a movie. Jodi's husband actually wrote a blog about point of view a couple weeks ago that I kept thinking about as I read: http://christian-fantasy.com/2011/04/point-of-view-one-at-a-time/

  3. Well, apparently I don't know how to make hyperlinks work in comments, so you'll have to copy and paste if you want to read it :-)


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