Lately, I have realized that my thoughts are free-flowing when I am listening to Korean soundtracks. So, every time I am writing a post, I listen to those soothing and relaxing Korean drama OSTs. It doesn't matter that I have no clue what the song is, as long as the melodies and the feelings of the singers are always heartfelt. My mind is transported into a calm state and allows me to come up with just the right words to make my posts coherent enough. The best thing of all, I am not at all lulled to sleep. In fact, my thoughts are most alive.
I read Nefertiti's Heart (free on Kindle) about a month ago. I am not really into historical thrillers that are purely set in the past. Most that I love to read like the works of Clive Cussler, Steve Berry and Dan Brown, always have an effect in the present time. So, I wasn't expecting to be able to appreciate Nefertiti's Heart by A. W. Exley since it was all happening in the past. I devoured up the story as much as I am reading my three favorite authors.
Cara Devon is a twenty-one year old who was scorned by society. She is a noble whose father is an avid, bordering on obsessive, collector of ancient artifacts. When she was fourteen, her father used her as payment for a debt he owed to Lord Clayton just so he can't be parted with any of his ancient treasures. She was abused by Clayton and fortunately escaped. She went back to her father only to be whipped for escaping. Her grandmother took her away from London. Now, she's back and her father is dead, murdered. After she put his affairs in order, find where the artifacts are hidden and then sell them all, she will leave London for good. But as she was in her father's library, with Lord Devon's journal in his hand, two armed men came and forced to get the journal from her. Good thing, Cara is armed, he shot one man in the shoulder and the other in his palm. The men were sent by no other than the Villainous Viscount Lord Nathaniel Lyons. Why would the Viscount want his father's journal? This encounter with Lord Lyons men would lead Cara back into the snares of London, the life she so wanted to get away from.
I love Cara, she is strong and her tragic experience in the hands of Lord Clayton and his father Lord Devon, did not break her. Instead, the experience has motivated her to learn to protect herself and be wary of her trust. She can take care of herself and has grown into a very smart woman because her grandmother has loved and doted on her. She loves to travel and treats it as a great way to learn. She doesn't care what society thinks of her. She was the victim yet they viewed her as if it was her fault that tragedy had befallen her. She refused to conform to whatever the society wants from her. She doesn't owe anyone. She's going to live her life as she sees fit.
Enter Lord Nathaniel Lyons. Also known as the Villainous Viscount. He is a very wealthy man and has businesses all over London. He owns airships. Some of his businesses are known to be shady. Both his and Cara's characters are alike in some ways. And I love that he has taken a strong interest in Cara and her father's affairs. I thought that he was just after the artifacts but I was so elated to know that he has far better reasons for wanting to be around Cara. He just appears to be a toughie but he has a real soft spot for Cara and all those that have been taken advantage of.
About the real villain in this story - I am giving myself a pat in the back for figuring out the murderer of Lord Devon and the person responsible for all the other killings in the story. The moment he came into the picture just out of the blue, I was already suspicious to me. I know he will have an important part in this story. And as soon as I knew that Lord Lyons genuinely cared about Cara's well-being, I knew then that he was not the villain he was supposed to be. And true enough, the real culprit of all the murders was the same person I thought. Yey! It was not obvious but since I have read a lot of this genre plus crime, mystery and fiction, I sort of know to pick up clues that lead right to the guilty's doorstep.
I love everything about the story. The ancient artifacts and their secrets, tough and shady characters but turned out to be darlings, persons who purport to be sweet but are really dubious. This has all the elements I really enjoy in historical thrillers. Even the lack of present day relevance did not bother me. This is really a great find. The title alone has gotten me ensnared.This book has blown me away. Now, I will be stalking Exley. I will be hunting her books so I could get a hold of them. I am glad to meet your acquaintance Miss Anita W. Exley. Welcome to my life.
I give the story four and a half mechanical hearts. I think Exley has the prowess of Cussler, Berry and Brown. I wonder why I have not met her sooner. I am glad that I now have a woman in my favorite genre to watch out for. I would just need to read the rest of her works. I am quite sure, she will end up in my favorite author's list.
Crowbars are great for working out parental issues.
- A. W. Exley, Nefertiti's Heart -