by Joan M. Fox

April 2003
ISBN: 1-93174271-5
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Tame My Heart by Joan Fox is a historical novel set in Victorian England. I personally am not a historical reader, but chose to read this book in the hope that I might expand my reading tastes, and find a new author whose backlist I would have to search out. Unfortunately, for me this book fell far short of my expectations.

Itís the story of Lady Briella Thorndyke who is a rather unconventional member of the ton. Briella has had her coming out and should have come off the marriage mart but she has decided that a conventional marriage is not for her, so she will not marry at all. Lady Briella has a passion for horse flesh, and rescues a fine black from cruel treatment. Her decision to not only race the black, but to be the rider on his back is one that must be kept from her family because young women of that era did not participate in such antics.

Terence Landoon, better known as Terry is also a titled member of the ton. He is also part Irish, and his heart belongs more to Ireland than to England. When heís residing in England his heart belongs to his horses. Itís his desire to raise the finest stock of horses available. He is also passionate about the famine destroying Ireland, and the people starving in the streets there. He is fighting Parliament to help the people of Ireland, so is unfortunately not paying close attention to the goings on at his stables.

Lady Briella has decided to enter her black in a race at Newbury. When she is displeased with the way her jockey handles the black, she decides to ride him herself in the second heat of the day. Much to her pleasure the black wins the second race, and is entered in the third heat of the day against a bay mare from Landoonís stable.

The jockey that Lady Briella displaced is angry with his removal. He then helps to sabotage the last heat of the day. Lady Briella is forced from her mount, and potentially seriously injured. Landoon rushes out to the track when he sees the unconscious rider, unaware that the rider is indeed Briella. When he does realize this he decides itís his duty to protect the ladyís reputation.

Landoon takes Briella to his home to care for her. While there Briella believes that Terry has ruined her reputation. Based on this belief Briella makes plans to leave England, and move back to her native homeland of Spain, and to live as a spinster for the rest of her days. Landoon upon hearing of these plans has other plans, and goes to rather unorthodox means to carry them out. In the end alls well that ends well, and Briella and Terry do end up marrying.

Ms. Fox has written a story with many characters. I believe part of the reason I wasnít overly fond of the book was many of the characters werenít fully developed. This made me feel as though there might have been a book that should have come before this one, or after it to further tell about all the characters in Tame My Heart. I also had a hard time following the cast of characters as there were so many with whom Briella would have brief conversations, and then they would disappear, only to reappear many pages later like it was just yesterday when they were last together.

Reviewed in September 2003 by Sandi.

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