In A Constant Heart, by Siri Mitchell, we are introduced to the beautiful Marget. Marget is very young and engaged to be married to an earl who was previously married but had his marriage dissolved due to the unfaithfulness of his wife. Marget doesn’t realize just how serious the Earl of Lytham’s distrust for beautiful women really is…until she marries him. When he seems more displeased with her then pleased, Marget is worried. And when her introduction into the court of Queen Elizabeth goes all wrong, she fears she’s lost her husband forever.
Lytham cannot believe that any woman who holds such beauty could possibly be constant to one man. Elinor wasn’t, so why should Marget be any different? Lytham is bound to the queen and pleasing her is all that matters. When Marget comes to court and the queen is displeased with her, then Lytham knows his new wife has done something wrong.
All Marget wants to do is please Lytham. But in the court of Queen Elizabeth, apparently beauty is of little value, friendship is fleeting, and true love is forbidden. All must love the queen and no husband should publicly announce his affection for his wife.
A Constant Heart is among my most favorite novels. This time period captured my attention and my heart. Marget’s loyalty to Lytham, even when he falsley accuses her of being unfaithful, is unshaken. She will do anything to please him. Even changing her appearance completely so that she would fit in at court and perhaps, finally, win the approval of the queen.
Lytham’s struggle is clear. He comes to love Marget, passionately. But he still has trouble trusting that she is fully constant. Even with the changes she’s made to her appearance, she is still so very beautiful. Love was bought and sold back then, and Lytham knows this all too well. But there are secrets concerning a certain Lady de Winter that Lytham does not know about…secrets that concern this lady and his first wife….
Marget sees only a friend in Lady de Winter. Her trusting nature could end her in ruin and this Lady de Winter thinks only of ruining the poor, beautiful and pure young woman who has come to the corrupted court of Queen Elizabeth.
The view of the queen’s court in this book took me so by surprise. I have studied this time period and read in several places that Queen Elizabeth was a protestant believer. But this book painted an entirely different picture of her then what I’d imagined. The book placed Queen Elizabeth in a rather selfish light. She wanted the attention and love of all men, married or not, and if she saw otherwise, that man could be in big trouble.
Lytham and Marget’s need to hide their love for each other in front of the queen was a huge struggle throughout the book. Marget rarely went to court, sometimes due to her pregnancies, and also because Lytham knew it would be better if she didn’t come into the presence of the queen too often. His loyalty to the queen is also a struggle for Marget, as she fears she will lose him completely to that place and to a queen who hates her.
This book was filled with the loyalty of true love, the sacrifices made by a loving wife and the trust that is built inside an untrusting heart. Marget’s sacrifices were many and painful. Lytham’s trust was well deserved in the end.
This book has to be one of the best I’ve ever read that was based in this era. It was factual, descriptive and very well written. You enter the lives of Marget and Lytham. You feel as though you are there with them, living their lives and feeling their pain.
If you love this era, and if you love Christian Fiction, then you are sure to love A Constant Heart!
Coming Soon: Guilt drove her away from home…but when home is at risk, will she return? Look for my review of Word Gets Around, by Lisa Wingate, tomorrow!!