Well, what can I say? Illuminations of the Heart by Joyce DiPastena is one amazing book. I have heard nothing but praise for this book, but I’m always a “read it to believe it” kind of person. I fully recognize that not every book is going to strike the same chord with every reader, and that’s just fine. Still, every reader loves it when they come across those titles that leave them breathless to the last page. When Illuminations first arrived I looked at the size and thought, “Yikes! That’s a lot of mush.” (Incidentally, what is it with all the stunningly beautiful women and breathtakingly handsome heroes, anyway? Okay, don’t answer that. . .)
First impressions can be deceiving and the many positive reviews turned out to be well deserved. The book turned out to be wonderful stuff. I couldn’t get enough of it. I will admit that some of the monologue and diatribes could have been pared back a little but all in all I was so caught up in the excellent story that I didn’t mind.
At first, Illuminations of the Heart seemed to give me a reading flavor reminiscent of the classic novel Rebecca. It involves a young woman living in the shadow of another whose past is a little muddled and unclear. But, I have to say the execution and time period of Illuminations of the Heart were much more fun. Not that that I’m saying Rebecca isn’t good, just, you know . . . a little depressing.
This is one that you want to make sure you have a good chunk of reading time carved out before you start. Or, it can potentially take over your life until you reach happily-ever-after. Not only is it beautifully, and cleanly, romantic but the historical backdrop and storyline were excellent as well.
I had to laugh when the male characters could tell the difference between the two floral scented perfumes and name them correctly, though. It was sweet, but I don’t know that it’s all that accurate. All I get out of my husband is, “Why do you smell weird?” Then again, maybe other men pay better attention to such things. Now, if my husband walks in the door and I have a crazed look in my eyes or he finds out I haven’t written anything that day- that he notices and that’s good enough for me.
Giggles about perfume aside, you’ll find plenty of excellent smoochies, damsels in distress, trickery, and sword fighting, to satisfy just about any historical romance reader.
Here’s my personal whine about it though: the character Clothilde. I’m sure no one but me will have a problem with this, but every time I read her name it came out “cloth hide” in my head. I’d have to back up and re-read it to give her a proper name. Sadly, about halfway through the book I was too caught up in the story and got tired of re-reading it. Cloth Hide she became. Poor girl. As if she didn’t have enough problems. ;)
If you are into historical romance, Joyce Dipastena is definitely someone to look up. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Illuminations of the Heart and Joyce’s other title, Loyalty’s Web are both available through Walnut Springs Press. Don’t forget to leave a comment on this post to be entered in Joyce’s drawings for a copy of Illuminations and gift certificates to several book stores. Stop by multiple review spots from her route and leave more comments to up your odds! You can find the complete list of links in my side bar or on Joyce’s blog.