Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Starving Hearts by Janine Mendenhall

Posted September 10, 2016 by meezcarrie in Christian, giveaway, historical, mystery/suspense, romance / 4 Comments


book review RIMSP

about the book

Since her assault, Miss Annette Chetwynd has been plagued by nightmares and worries about an arranged marriage. But she yearns to find her anonymous rescuer. Unfortunately, her health and intellect prevent it. Both repel suitors and cause Annette to doubt God’s existence, at least until He answers her prayers in an unusual way…

Mr. Peter Adsley is joining the clergy, and he desires a godly wife by his side. After a failed attempt to obtain one, he engages in a clandestine meeting with the bewitching young woman who keeps crossing his path. But she is so unsettling.

Destined for disappointments, Peter and Annette both endure disgraceful situations. Will Peter’s faith sustain him through overwhelming setbacks? Can Annette overcome her doubts? Or will their starving hearts yield to the machinations of a mad man?

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SERIES: Triangular Trade Trilogy #1
GENRE: Historical Fiction
PUBLISHER: Heritage Beacon Fiction
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2016
PAGES: 300

…I thought He was supposed to prevent bad things from happening, but I have come to understand He uses them to help us grow.

First of all, I have to mention the cover. The guy? YUM. I may or may not have agreed to review this book simply because our eyes met I stared at him until my eyes crossed. Second… while we’re on the topic of aesthetics … the book was the prettiest delivery I’ve ever received, wrapped in pretty paper and tied with twine and flowers.  Books make me happy. Books wrapped in pretty packages – be they actual packages or just pretty covers – make me even happier 🙂

I expected Starving Hearts to be a Regency romance with a dash of suspense. In fact, it’s actually more of a Regency suspense with a dash of romance. That’s not necessarily a problem but I had to adjust my expectations fairly early on.  The back cover synopsis really doesn’t do this story justice, in my opinion, as it’s less about Peter and Annette than it is about their families. My heart stayed in my throat through most of the novel, at least when it wasn’t sinking back down to my stomach because of events that were… well… heart-sinking.  And while I never felt like I really connected with the main characters or their rather formal dialogue, Starving Hearts is a book that I also could not put down until I (and the remaining characters… ominous, no?) had made it to the last page.

This novel has its share of despicable characters and, while I heartily disliked them as expected, I also found them to be in many ways the most compelling characters in the story. You see, the title Starving Hearts can apply to nearly all the characters we meet in this book, in one form or another, and none have hearts as empty as the villain and his colleagues and accomplices. While Annette’s and Peter’s hearts are starving for purpose and for love, these other “despicable characters” are starving for much more – redemption, grace, restitution, and forgiveness to name a few. I am very curious to see where their stories take them as the trilogy continues.

Bottom Line: Starving Hearts is a bit of a dichotomy for me as a reviewer – while it might not be a book I would read again, it was also a book that I couldn’t put down and a series I will continue to follow. It grew a bit long-winded and slow for me in the beginning, but somewhere around the late middle of the book things really start picking up and I was completely engaged until the end. The issue of abolition and slavery (a topic I’m particularly passionate about even today) took me by surprise and wrenched my heart into pieces on more than one occasion, making this book an excellent springboard for discussion. And though I never connected with the main characters, the “villain” – though I despised him for a majority of the book – so intrigued me that I’m anxious to see what becomes of him in book two.

(I received a copy of this book in exchange for only my honest review.)

My Rating: 3.5 stars / It’s good!

KissingBook Level: 2 / Warm rosy glow of sweetness

Purchase a copy:

See what others are saying: Litfuse

about the author


Janine Mendenhall teaches teens English, of all things! Sometimes she sleeps, but most nights she reads, writes, or watches movies like Pride and Prejudice and claims she’s researching her next book. Splickety Love and Splickety Prime have published her flash fiction. She and her husband, Tom, live in North Carolina where they and their two golden retrievers help gratify the needs of their five children and two cats.

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Join in the search for love and acceptance with Janine and Starving Hearts by entering to win the Delightful Heart Gift Pack Giveaway.

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One grand prize winner will receive:

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Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 12. The winner will be announced September 13 on Janine’s blog.

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4 responses to “Book Review (and a Giveaway!): Starving Hearts by Janine Mendenhall

    • Carrie

      It’s a very interesting novel as a reviewer – usually I either love a book or don’t. This one was definitely somewhere in between.

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