Selfish Is The Heart
by Megan Hart
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade
Available: October 5, 2010
Genre: Romantic Historical Fantasy
To escape an arranged marriage, Annalise Marony decides to become a Handmaiden of the Order of Solace. But she is thwarted at every turn by Cassian, a teacher of the faith, who must test her dedication. Older than most of the girls, Annalise knows that she will be expected to please a patron in pleasures of the flesh-and she is not shy about teasing Cassian. And as they both play out the game of master and student, the secrets in their souls will either tear them apart-or bind them together forever.
Pleasure and purpose. This is the ultimate goal of a Handmaiden who serves in the religious Order of Solace. A Handmaiden’s greatest desire is to provide absolute solace to the Order’s patrons – satisfying the needs of the mind, spirit, and body. Selfish is the Heart by Megan Hart is the third installment of the Order of Solace series and one that explores the story of a Handmaiden in training and a callous man who teaches the art of solace, but can’t seem to find it himself.
Annalise Marony is betrothed to her childhood friend Jacquin Kirkol and she is looking for an escape. While their love is mutual for one another as friends, Annalise feels no passion for Jacquin and he is far from being sexually attracted to her. Due to their engagement being arranged by both fathers, Annalise knows that she must find a clever way to remove herself from the impending nuptials and therefore decides to become a Handmaiden in training of the Order of Solace. Annalise is intelligent, feisty, bold both in thought and action, and well versed in the faith, but has not put it to practice in many years. However, she is certain she can play the part required long enough to be able to end her pending engagement. Former Priest, now master teacher in the Order, Cassian Toquin is a man living with many demons. The greatest being the death of his twin brother, Calvis. Words unspoken. Forgiveness unsought. These are the emotions that drive Cassian to carry on with life and also shield him from allowing anyone near his mind or his heart. During her travels to the Order, Annalise encounters a man in the forest to whom she asks direction. Thinking her a privileged fool, the man purposefully sends her on the wrong path. After finally arriving and settling into the Order’s Motherhouse, Annalise soon discovers that Cassian, the man who mislead her in the woods is her assigned teacher at the Order. Both her intelligence and boldness to speak up and challenge Cassian in class infuriates and ignites him beyond reason. And, Annalise soon discovers a tortured soul in Cassian which fuels her to know him better and furthers a simmering attraction between the two. Once the attraction is finally acknowledged, both of their pasts come back to haunt them.
Megan Hart creates an imaginative, mythological world in her Order of Solace series and while the beautiful covers imply the erotica genre, it is not always the dominant tone in this fantasy/historical series. Though I have not yet read any of Ms. Hart’s contemporary novels, I can see the allure of her style of writing. Rich in emotion and depth of character, Selfish is the Heart is my favorite of the three books in the series. The intense zeal and furry that is evoked from Annalise and Cassian’s interaction caused me to feel like a third wheel who should not be privy to their heated exchanges. I was, at times, emotionally overwhelmed with Cassian’s lack of self worth and Annalise’s pursuit of tearing down his emotional blockade. But once they succumb to an intimate union, it’s as if a dam breaks and they become uninhibited in their passion for one another. The strength of Selfish is the Heart is built upon its memorable characters which makes for an intriguing and emotional read.
“He was a discontented man. He was a brooding puzzle. He was, Annalise thought, watching him through the fringe of her lashes, delicious.”
Other books in the series:
- Pleasure and Purpose
- No Greater Pleasure
Other reviews on GoodReads
I have an extra copy of Selfish Is The Heart to giveaway. To enter, just leave a comment on Amy’s review. Open to all. Giveaway ends October 16, winner announced soon after.