Normally I’m one of the first people to wrinkle my nose at regency romances. To me, they seem like sappy, poorly-written attempts to be Jane Austen. However, I found myself singing a different tune when I read Josi S. Kilpack’s A Heart Revealed which was published by Shadow Mountain in 2015. This quality regency romance as an unexpected twist that shows how our worst trials and losses can bring out our best selves.
Amber Sterlington is the Rage of the Season, and she selfishly uses her entrancing beauty and charm to attract men, seeking only those who are the richest and have the highest rank. However, everything changes when she develops a condition that causes her to lose all of her hair. Amber becomes a social pariah, looked down on by even her own family as she is exiled to Yorkshire with only her maid as company.
Though Amber’s world seems to end, a new one is just beginning. Her isolation and trials cause a change of heart in Amber, making her a kinder, better person. A spark of hope even lights up in her life when Thomas Richards, a man she had scorned in London, takes interest in her. But can Amber reveal who she truly is to Thomas, and will he accept her for her character rather than her lost beauty.
Book Group Questions
- Amber’s trials made her a better person when, in contrasts, Constance Sterlington experienced the same trials but became a miserable, unhappy person. Why do you think the outcomes were so different? How can trials make people either stronger or weaker?
- Amber lived in a society where the expectations for beauty usurped the importance of good character. How do you think these expectations developed? How have they changed today?
- Amber had a seemingly perfect life in London, yet at the end of the book, she says that she wouldn’t want to return to that life because of her new perspective. How did Amber’s perspective change who she was throughout the story?
- Why do you think beauty could never be as important to Thomas as character?