Book Review: Armored Hearts by Pauline Creeden & Melissa Turner Lee

This is a fantasy/steampunk story taking place in England. A cripple named Gareth is bound to a wheelchair and detests his lack of mobility. As a child, however, he saves a girl in a moment of panic. She was falling from a tree, and without thinking, he was suddenly flying through the air to catch her. Of course, he kept his mobility a secret except for his “aunt” (his grandfather’s daughter, though she is younger than Gareth—the result of an affair), Tabitha.

His whole life, Gareth has been grumpy and solitary, a defense mechanism to protect him from the way people treat the handicapped. Only Tabitha, and the girl he saved and met for just a moment, treat him like a normal person. Bound during the day and in public, he spends his nights as a “Superman”—he puts on a suit of armor and flies around, scaring criminals away and protecting the innocent.

As Gareth grows, he learns that his grandfather, an aristocrat, is now penniless, and the only chance at salvation is for Gareth to marry a wealthy American girl who has insisted on marring him. Thinking she only wants his title, Gareth agrees grumpily—doing it only so that his beloved Tabitha can travel to America and find a husband who will make her happy.

He soon learns that his new wife is actually the girl he saved as a boy, and she’s been searching for him the whole time. But he remains grumpy—he has never been used to sharing his secrets with others, and he prefers a solitary life. Still, he’s torn by Jessamine’s beauty and the feelings she evokes in him. He doesn’t have time to dwell on any of this, though, as there’s an attempt on his life, and the mysterious servants who have been with him since childhood reveal a secret about his mother—and her link to the fairy world.

This was a fun, quick read. It took me only three settings. The pages passed without me realizing I was reading, and I easily cared about the characters. I also enjoyed the “bonnet club,” which Tabitha, Jessamine, and other women have joined. This is a union of female thinkers rebelling against the stereotypes of the time and building innovative machines to improve society of the time. Exposed to them, Gareth changes his opinion on the female gender as the story progresses. At the end, I was watching my Kindle rush toward 100%, and I found myself not wanting the story to end. In fact, my only complaint about the book is that it ends on a cliffhanger and makes me want to jump right into book two!

This review is part of a book tour with Juniper Grove. As such, there is a Rafflecopter giveaway you can enter!
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