Friday, April 28, 2023

A Heart Worth Stealing by Joanna Barker

Synopsis (from the publisher)
Little Sowerby, England, 1802 
 Miss Genevieve Wilde—a magistrate’s daughter and independent heiress—is determined to meet life’s challenges all on her own, just as her late father had taught her. So when her father’s pocket watch is stolen, she will do anything to get it back, especially when the local authorities prove incompetent. 

Upon reading an advertisement in the paper, she takes a chance and contacts a thief-taker to find the watch. It’s a choice Ginny regrets when former Bow Street officer Jack Travers arrives on her doorstep. He is frustratingly flirtatious, irritatingly handsome, and entirely unpredictable, and Ginny wonders if she’ll be able to resist such a man. 

But after Ginny discovers that the missing watch is just a small part of a larger, more frightening plot against her, she needs Jack’s help more than ever. To protect her home and her reputation, the two enter into a risky charade—pretending Jack is her cousin so he can begin his investigation, starting with the household staff. As they work together to unravel the mystery, Ginny finds herself falling fast for her charismatic thief-taker, leaving her heart in just as much danger as her life.

About the Author
JOANNA BARKER firmly believes that romance makes everything better, which is why she has fallen in love with writing Regency romances. When she’s not typing away on her next book, she’s listening to podcasts, eating her secret stash of chocolate, or adding things to her Amazon cart. Joanna’s books have received praise from Publishers Weekly, the Historical Novel Society, Readers’ Favorite, and more. She thinks being an author is the second-best job in the world—right after being a mom. She is just a little crazy about her husband and three wild-but-loveable kids. For author interview requests, please contact Callie Hansen at 

Advance Praise
“Opposites attract in this adorable Regency romance. When the authorities refuse to believe Miss Genevieve “Ginny” Wilde’s claims that the watch bequeathed to her by her late father, a magistrate, was stolen, not misplaced, Ginny hires thief-taker Jack Travers to investigate. To preserve Ginny’s reputation, they’re forced to pretend to be cousins while he’s residing at her estate—but their lingering stares and obvious attraction threaten the ruse. Jack proves easy to crush on: he’s witty, sweet, and thoughtful, with just a touch of a bad boy persona. Unique characters and a fast-paced mystery add flavor to this sweet romance.” —Publishers Weekly 

“Barker does an admirable job conveying Jack and Ginny’s passionate chemistry without revealing too much, while the side cast, including a disapproving butler, an unconventional set of friends, and a rival suitor for Ginny’s affections, are all thoroughly enjoyable. An excellent choice for readers who love both traditional Regencies and detective mysteries.” —Library Journal

“Beguiling. Pairs an unusual, independent young woman with a compelling investigator to captivating effect.” —Foreword Reviews

Upcoming Appearance 
Saturday, May 6 
Layton Deseret Book 
754 N Main St, Layton, UT 84041 
1-3 PM 
Games, Giveaways, and more! 
 With authors, Arlem Hawks, Heidi Kimball, Esther Hatch, Jennifer Moore, and Nancy Campbell Allen

A Heart Worth Stealing is the 50th installment in the Proper Romance® series, a collection of award-winning, clean romance novels written by 13 authors across a wide spectrum of genres, including Regency, Victorian, and Contemporary. These stories feature relatable heroines, handsome heroes, obstacles to overcome and happy endings. Learn more at

My Review
Oh my goodness, I loved this book so much! I seriously smiled so much as I read it. It just has it all--great writing, a compelling plot, a great setting, amazing characters, and fantastic banter. Oh man, I love characters who are intelligent and witty and have good banter, and Ginny and Jack both fit the bill. Ginny is my favorite type of heroine--she's smart and independent and not about to sit by while Jack does all of the work. And Jack is my favorite type of hero--he's got a little bit of the bad boy element to him but has a good heart and tries to support Ginny rather than hold her back. The only thing that might have made this book any better is if we had some chapters from Jack's POV. It is adorable as it...but man, even a few scenes from his POV would have been amazing. (Actually, I'd love to see ALL of the scenes from his POV as well as Ginny's. I'm sure that wouldn't ever happen, but maybe the author will give us a bonus scene sometime in the future...I can only hope!) Easily one of my favorite books of the year and one I definitely want to re-read soon!
5 stars and one of my picks for Best of 2023.

I read an ARC provided by the publisher. All opinions are own.