ARC Review: What the Hart Wants by Emily Royal

Title: What the Hart Wants

Author: Emily Royal

Series: Headstrong Harts (Book 1)

Page Length: 372

Publication Date: Sept. 29, 2020

Publisher: Dragonblade Publishing, Inc

Synopsis: Five lessons in pleasure. One lesson in love.

Fraser MacGregor, thirteenth Duke Molineux, seizes the opportunity to use the title he unexpectedly inherited, to further his whisky business. He leaves his Highland home and heads for London where he’s accosted by a feisty lass, who smashes a vase over his head.

Delilah Hart should be relishing her first London season. But she’d rather be a writer than a bland society wife. Her secret occupation of writing anonymous, inflammatory articles about the notorious Molineux family, is the first step to realizing her dream.

But when the new duke makes her an offer she can’t refuse—to learn about her cause for social justice in exchange for five lessons in the art of pleasure—she begins to question her beliefs and desires. Before long, Delilah realizes that her heart, as well as her career, is at stake. 

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LINKS:     Goodreads     |      Amazon     

My Review:

The first book in the Headstrong Harts series, What the Hart Wants follows Delilah Hart, a young woman determined to carve her own path in a male-dominated society. Published in a local paper under a male pseudonym, Lilah critiques the aristocracy, especially the detestable Molineux family, who has a history of corrupt behavior.

When Lilah meets the newest Duke of Molineux, sparks fly. Irresistibly drawn to each other, Fraser and Lilah begin to questions their beliefs, goals, and feelings. Can this couple have a future when secrets, lies, and other obstacles stand in their way?

Messages of empowerment, learning and growing, and fighting for what you believe in are strong in this story, as is the romance! Fraser and Lilah have so much chemistry, and as Fraser teaches Lilah the ways of love, their feelings intensify. Of course, secrets, prejudices, overbearing brothers, and jealous competition get in the way of a potential future, and the pair must decide if their feelings are worth fighting for.

Another aspect of the novel that I really like is the representation of strong, intelligent women who skillfully maneuver through an inequitable society to live their best lives. Delilah writes under a male pseudonym so that her ideas will be published. Though this leads to some heartache, Delilah learns how powerful her voice is. Delilah’s sister and Fraser’s mother also take leadership roles in their families, empowering themselves in a world that offers them less because of their gender.

A sexy enemies-to-lovers historical romance, What the Hart Wants is a great start to the series. I look forward to reading more about the Hart’s in future books. Thanks so much to Netgalley and Drangonblade Publishing for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.


Favorite Parts:

  • The romance, of course! 😉
  • The character development. Fraser and Lilah are well developed, as are many of the minor characters in the story.
  • Strong messages of female empowerment.

Favorite Lines:

A man should want me for what I am, not what he wishes me to be.

“Not all weapons strike a blow to the body, he said. “Hearts and minds can also be breached.”

“The most effective way to make a difference is to take small steps, her sister said. “A pebble, when dropped into a lake, causes ripples which extend to every corner of the surface. And if you make a difference to a handful of lives, then for them, you have changed the world.”

11 thoughts on “ARC Review: What the Hart Wants by Emily Royal

  1. Great review and I love that last quote! It seems to fit with the story and the women making good use of their circumstances and not letting them be a deterrent.

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