Untie My Heart
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Untie My Heart

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  996 ratings  ·  67 reviews
Stuart Aysgarth, the new Viscount Mount Villiars, doesn't know he's playing with fire when he inadvertently runs afoul of Emma Hotchkiss. True, the exquisite Yorkshire lady is a mere sheep farmer, but she also guards a most colorful past that makes her only more appealing to the handsome, haunted lord. Emma has come to him seeking justice -- and Stuart is determined that s...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published November 5th 2002 by Avon (first published 2002)
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Tammy Walton Grant
Here's what I wrote in April, 2011 after finishing this book:

3.5?? 4??? I'm stuck. Liked the story, liked the ending (another big AWWWW one) but I didn't really connect with either the H/h.

Like I'm finding with lots of books I inhaled read last year, it has definitely benefited from a re-read. Judith Ivory's writing is beautiful; her prose is so descriptive, her phrasing so witty and her grasp of the period - especially in terms of the vernacular - so precise, it's difficult to come away from...more
Corrine
I had a very hard time finishing this one. I like the concept of the book: con artist heroine has to help hero regain personal property, but it was not executed well.

Emma Hotchkiss is a vicar's widow, a sheep farmer, and a reformed confidence girl. She and her now-deceased husband once ran con games in London, until a close-call made them rethink their ways and retire to the country. In the intervening years, Emma's husband Zach began to embrace a gin bottle more than her, and she began to resen...more
Kathleen
In Yorkshire, where lambing is life, Emma cooks Stuarts' books -- just a little -- because his crazed stallion killed her ram and when she complained, he made light of it. She only wants fair recompense, and pretty much hates every high-brow heartless hair on his head when he withholds. The smug miserly monster.

However, the villainous viscount (Stuart) has proof positive of her fraudulence. So, the blackguard blackmails her: Go to prison or run one of your clever confidence tricks against my un...more
Zumbagirl
4.5/5 stars
April has been my month to read humorous books that cause me little or no stress - and Untie My Heart was a perfect match! I absolutely love the way Judith Ivory writes - she won me over with the Proposition - and this was almost as good (I hate to compare but I always do, can't help it). She has such a wonderful sense of humor and had me cracking up many, many times. She also has a way of writing the heroes in such a way that we really get to know them - somehow with other authors it...more
Kinley
At this point in my reading life, I am incredibly picky about romance novels. The list of what they can't be is long and exacting, and I can't tell you how many I've started just to put them down half way through with a sigh of, "I will never be able to finish this drivel."

Judith Ivory is one of the best romance novelists out there. I just re-read both Untie My Heart and Black Silk and was amazed - AMAZED - at the depth of character in each.

Her writing makes the people, and the places, simply l...more
Keri
Beautifully written book. The chair scene was unforgettable. This is my first Judith Ivory that I finished and won't be my last.
Denise
I am muddled if I should give this a 3 or 4, but after sleeping on it I might still change my mind.

I absolutely loved Stuart, Viscount Mount Villiers. Emma, not so much. But for the most part I liked them together. Emma however could get on your nerves with her vacillating ways.. I want him, I don't want him, he excites me, I am afraid of him (The being afraid of him part was ridiculous, he was sexy and adorable!) Then there were too many lines. Like this. Annoying.
I did like the plot itself...more
Amanda Westmont
This was my second Judith Ivory book and man, does this author deliver. She can WRITE. There were scenes in this book, specifically some of the dialogue between the hero/heroine, that literally made my stomach drop, made me swoon like I'd just gone over a cliff. A feeling I can find only one word for and it's a frothy, romantic one at that: rapture. Reading this book filled me with a sense of rapture.

It's the way she writes her scenes - they can take dozens of pages - but you don't mind it becau...more
Wicked Incognito Now
Judith Ivory!!! Where have you been my whole life? This was fabulous. Just when I thought I couldn't truly enjoy romance novels anymore...I get to read something that tickles me through and through.
Julia
I love the plucky heroine, with her audacious past and unique skill-set. I love the hero, with his unexpected weaknesses and deliberate speech. A favorite quote:


"A bit odd, are you?" She was being sarcastic, trying to taunt him into a sense of guilt. While perhaps bursting any bubble in herself of misguided, soft-hearted concern for a man with sad eyes and complicated wealth.

Though his sexual inclinations were perhaps not the wisest of barbs to do either. he looked down at her, speculative. "Dif...more
Melowin
Oh, I liked this one a LOT. I'd have to say that Stuart (despite the terrible name) is one of my favorite leading male characters out there. Thanks to him, the sex is slightly kinky and hot - good stuff. And the interplay between the wills of the two characters is great fun to watch develop, there is a lot of ground covered in their relationship. I'd say this is my favorite novel by Judith Ivory.

I had to re-read this. Judith Ivory's language is so beautiful, it is impossible not to fall in love...more
Janet
People always ask what books would be part of your romance conversion kit: this one. This one for sure, because of the incredible hero, the poetry, the sensuousness of the writing ... I could go on. And a sheep-farming heroine. Yes, surely the only one in romantic literature. The plot is absorbing but it's Stuart and Emma's story, all the way.
Miranda Davis
Okay, since I may not finish, I just want to note for myself what's derailed me. The premise, so far, rests on the idea that the heroine has used past skills as con artist to gain just compensation for a lamb killed by the Viscount hero's coach while barreling through Yorkshire. Though anxious to remain law-abiding, she faces a man who has used the legal system to avoid fair compensation and her frustration drives her to seek redress by scamming his bank, forging checks and collecting the exact...more
Crystal
There's a lot to like here. Judith Ivory is a very capable writer, and she told an interesting (and slightly kinky!) story while dodging most of the more annoying romance cliches. I wasn't sure I could like the hero after the awful way we were introduced to him, but he won me over with his honesty and self-awareness. The heroine made some decisions that seemed to make no sense, but she was so lovable that I'll forgive it. The last third or so lost me a bit, with some forced angst and an ending t...more
Opal
I read a Judith Ivory book for the first time and was stunned to have missed an author of such a caliber - since I read a lot of Regency era novels. This is not Regency though, but much later - 1890s.

The characters were novel and interesting- an English aristocrat who is foreign, with a lovable stammer and a local sheep farmer who is fighting to get compensation for the lamb that the wicked aristo killed.

The book moves through incidents not usually found - like a legal discussion inside of a ban...more
Arnarn
4.5 more or less.

The story isn't flawless. The headers (??) before the chapters allude to the fact that Emma has become (view spoiler), but the story didn't get to that. I wanted badly to know what happened after the last scene, and the author could've been given a fan service of sorts and added more details. There are issues that could have been tied neatly. And seriously I can't understand the title. It should have been something about sheep or swindling o...more
Jenny
OMG---Judith Ivory books are so good. The book started off kinda slow, but just at the very beginning. Then I could NOT put it down. I love the comraderie that the couple have. She writes so good, that you are just in love with the couple. I LOVED Stuart. I loved how he stuttered when he got nervous. I cried so much at the end..... soooooooo sweeet. I wish there was a sequel to the book.
Rosina Lippi
Ivory pushes some boundaries here, experiments with defintions of consensual sex and other hot button topics. It should be no surprise that she pulls those scenes off beautifully. She has a masterful command of dialogue, and of her time period and setting, and she knows how to tell a story. Nothing boring here, or predictable.
Julia ♥Duncan♥
This was a fun read. I found both characters unique and likeable. Stuart especially was different from many heroes I've read. Occasionally I was a bit bothered by what I felt was dubious consent, but on the whole I liked the romance a great deal. I'm glad I finally got around to reading it.
Ilze
Highly enjoyable. The antics of the hero and heroine are just jaw-droppingly outrageous and funny. Judith Ivory writes so beautifully and her plots and characters are always unique and original. Wish she was still writing ...
Susan
Did I mention the chair scene? Oh, man. The chair scene! This book would rate ten stars if the second half had been as fabulous as the chair scene.
Ruthie Knox
I loved this book So. Much. Totally unique hero and heroine, wonderful character development, hot sex, great plot. Really fun, really satisfying. *happy sigh*
Nakita
Historically, culturally, socially, geographically and linguistically inaccurate. I'm usually not a stickler for that kind of thing if the story has any kind of redeeming factors. This book I did not finish.

I may be biased because I live in and love Yorkshire, however there are many things I'm very sure would NEVER happen - demonstrative quote: referring to a bank draft, the viscount tells the protagonist in a letter to "cash this draft, eat it with mung beans, or stuff it up your very nervy bum...more
Cynthia
Edit: Pretty sure I gave this a 3.5 ish rating the first time I read it. These days, I love this book. It definitely has flaws, but I love rereading it. It's very entertaining, and both characters have endeared themselves to me for good.

I mean, it has a great h/h pair, sheep, lawsuits, scams, disguises, more sheep, and an overall romping good time.

Emma just has so many amusing, adorable, admirable, and other "a" adjective sides. She's the stubborn, fun, independent friend you're always a little...more
Evie Byrne
Judith Ivory is my favorite romance author and I do believe this is my favorite of hers. Does that make this the best romance ever?? ;) maybe. It's very good. The heroine has grit and intelligence and independence and truly (not supposedly) comes from the lower classes. The hero is the epitome of the luscious dandies that Ivory does so well. And he's pleasingly kinky. It's a con plot, a smart one, which is a very welcome change from the typical "oh noes, I'm being blackmailed/stalked/kidnapped"...more
Karen Wilson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amber
I would have given this book a solid four stars with no second thoughts if it weren't for a problematic element. (view spoiler)...more
(Eirene) Sleepless Romantics

Rating: 4/5
Steam: 5/5

What I Liked:

This is my first Judith Ivory book and aside from the reviews on Goodreads, I didn’t know what to expect. I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how much I liked Untie My Heart. The premise of the story was incredibly amusing and quite interesting. Who knew a wayward lamb could cause so many things?

I enjoyed Emma Hotchkiss a lot. She’s incredibly funny and resilient and knows exactly what it is that she wants from life. Emma definitely takes the initiative in rea...more
Princessjay
I am of mixed feelings about this one.

While it is exceedingly well-written, emotionally authentic with hints of lyricism and humor, and the two main characters are charming individually, I somehow do not like them TOGETHER. Perhaps it's because I utterly loathe those tropes where, as in here, the dude just knows better than the chick about her innermost desires, while she would struggle--and I'll give it this, that it was a sweet struggle with sweet surrenders--but nevertheless there are surrend...more
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Judith Ivory "accidentally" acquired two degrees in mathematics, then sold her first novel in 1987 and closed up the math books for good. She lives in Miami Florida, with her two children, two cats and a dog.

"Judith Ivory" is the pseudonym of author Judy Cuevas (real name).
More about Judith Ivory...
The Proposition Beast The Indiscretion Black Silk Sleeping Beauty

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“On the roof, on the duvet under the steam vent, with the planets overhead, he let her scream all she wished. She screamed into the night. To the stars. At one point, with his lying atop her, he said, “Look over my left shoulder. Venus is visible tonight.” Then he pulled the covers away from her, wrestling her for the duvet, as he called, “Here she is, all you Venusians”—he lifted out his arm, using it to span the celestial horizon-—“and the rest of you planets out there: the most beautiful woman on Earth, spread-eagled for your pleasure!” He laughed. “At my disposal, mm-m-m!” He bent down, nibbling, kissing her neck with his teeth, his lips, his mouth.” 2 likes
“Tied up a lot of women, have you?" He raised one eyebrow, whatever that meant. "A bit odd, are you?" She was being sarcastic, trying to taunt him into a sense of guilt. While perhaps bursting any bubble in herself of misguided, soft-hearted concern for a man with sad eyes and complicated wealth. Though his sexual inclinations were perhaps not the wisest of barbs to do either. He looked down at her, speculative.

"Difficult to say." He actually answered the question seriously. "Legally? Decidedly. But then British laws on the subject are so guilt-ridden I'm surprised we've propagated as a race." He mad a small, grim smile. "How delightful we're having this conversation. And what is it you like?”
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