Heart of the Ocean by Heather B. Moore
A dark secret . . . a grieving ghost . . . a handsome stranger . . .
What more could Eliza Robinson want?
Except for maybe her life.
In Heather B. Moore’s enthralling 1840’s historical romance, Heart of the Ocean, Eliza Robinson has turned down the very pretentious Mr. Thomas Beesley’s marriage proposal. As a business partner of Eliza’s father, Thomas quickly discredits the family and brings disgrace to the Robinson name.
While her father scrambles to restore his good name in New York City, Eliza flees to the remote Puritan town of Maybrook to stay with her Aunt Maeve. Although relieved to be away from all- things-male and unforgiving gossip columns, odd things start to happen to Eliza, and she is plagued by a ghostly voice. Her aunt’s explanation? That Eliza is being haunted by a woman who died of a broken heart twenty years ago.
After Aunt Maeve is tragically killed, Eliza's life is put in danger as she tries to uncover the mystery of her aunt's death. She encounters Jonathan Porter in Maybrook, whose presence in the town seems suspicious, yet she finds herself drawn to him. When she discovers that Jonathan’s dark secrets may be the link between the dead woman who haunts her and her aunt’s murderer, Eliza realizes that Jonathan is the one man she should never trust.
The tension of this story begins right on page one when the main character Eliza hears a voice telling her to jump off a cliff. This creepy encounter is only enhanced by the setting of a small seaside puritan town complete with a creepy lighthouse and mentally unstable inhabitant. This historical novel takes place in the 1830’s though I often found myself a tad confused on what time period the story took place in, as any Puritan settlement puts you in bit of a time warp anyway, but the main character didn’t give much indication in her observations as to the time period. So, I felt a bit lost in the setting for a while until I got to more of the story. I found Moore’s ghost story to be more sad than frightening, as Eliza discovers the past of Helena Porter the mother of Jonathan Porter—Eliza’s love interest. Giving birth to a child out of wedlock in a Puritan community was enough of a trial and then she falls into an abusive relationship that ends really tragically. It made me very sad to read about her life and her experiences, and those parts of the books were hard to read. There is a love story wound throughout the books and Jonathan proves himself to be a wonderful hero that always arrives just in time to save Eliza, though I did wonder if she were rescued a bit too much for the liking of the modern reader. Still I enjoyed reading their story and hoped Eliza and Jonathan would find a way to be together in the end. I would sneak to the computer and read this book behind my toddlers back so I could get to the end faster. Overall, I found this to be an engaging historical mystery filled with both romance and tragedy.
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