Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Constant Heart” as Want to Read:
A Constant Heart
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Constant Heart

(Against All Expectations #1)

3.43  ·  Rating details ·  2,069 ratings  ·  211 reviews
What Is the Cost of Love and Beauty?

Marget Barnardsen has always been fortunate. She was born with the face of an angel. Her father is a knight, and a small fortune has been lavished upon her. And now she is to be married to an earl. Her security is fixed, her destiny guaranteed. At least, she hopes.

The Earl of Lytham has already been married once. But the beautiful woman
Paperback, 384 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Bethany House
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,069 ratings  ·  211 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Margaret Chind
Apr 18, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: someone wanting to read some harsh history
Blog Post Review Updated in honor of one day freebie:

I give this book three out of five stars, but in a split manner. If I were to rate the book solely upon my enjoyment and escape into it's historical aspects, it would be two stars; yet if I were to rate this book on the detail and descriptions of this historical journey at hand it would four stars. Thus, I settle at three. Starting out reading this book, I was quite distraught and not at all drawn in. T
For once I wish I'd paid more heed to the reviewers who clearly pointed out that this book is great if you're looking for a historical account of court life in the Elizabethan era, but pretty much sucks if you're looking for a good romance full of court intrigue and mysteries. Because here's the thing; I am one of those crazy historical freaks who enjoys reading textbooks for fun, and who isn't bothered by lavish period details and endless descriptions of the ways and manners of the time. But, w ...more
Lindsey (Books for Christian Girls)
This is a mini ‘Books For Christian Girls’ review. It is not a full content review and will not receive one. These mini-reviews are years old and just for clarity on the rating the book received on Goodreads.

“Stopped at page 90. sigh I loved “Like a Flower in Bloom”, but I can’t say I’ve enjoyed all the books by this author. I knew their would be some Sexual content due to the time period, however this was more than I was expecting (due to it being an arranged marriage) and it’s
Jan 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I love a pure and endearing love story. And call me strange, but I love a love story where two people are thrust into a marriage they don’t want and falling in love despite that fact.
I was skeptical about A Constant Heart when I started it. I wasn’t sure if the premise could hold up a 380 page book. Love and beauty being a curse? Would it drag? I am so thrilled to say, I was blown away! This novel evoked so many different emotions in me. Fear, love, anger, sympathy. I learned so much about 16th
Jan 20, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book went around in circles. Lytham and Marget blamed each other for their own issues, then reassured each other of their love, then acted out in jealous anger, then reassured each other of their love, then didn't listen to each other's opinions about the Queen, then reassured each other of their love...and on and on. I was very frustrated with the two main characters throughout the majority of the book. It was only made worse by the constant switching between point of view (after every par ...more
Anne Osterlund
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Marget is pretty.

Lytham wasn't prepared for that. He married her for her dowry--to save the estate in which he was born. But she wasn't supposed to be pretty. For Lytham, pretty means inconstant and untrustworthy. Like his previous wife who forced him into an annulment.

Marget enters marriage with an open heart, prepared to be a good courtier's wife. But the demands of a courtier turn out to be . . . everything that Marget is not. Beauty, constancy, love--they are all shunned at court.

For success
Lord Lytham has no wish to marry again. Because of his first wife’s behaviour, he does not trust women anymore. But he needs a wife. Or better, he needs a wife’s dowry to regain his family’s home, and a wife’s help to win the Queen’s favour. So when a merchant offers him his daughter, Marget, the Earl thinks he can easily achieve his purposes by marrying the girl. But he has not considered Marget’s beauty...

How would you describe a book that you loved in the beginning and almost hated in the end
Kellyn Roth

I guess I'll just go with 4 stars. I mean, in some ways it's a five star book, but in others it's a three, so ... there you go.

Okay, let's see ... rushed ending. No epilogue (what the what? How do I know if? ... and if? ... etc.) The rest of the story was pretty good.

The content is probably not best for younger teens. In fact, I'd maybe say "PG-13" would be a good rating for t
Jan 26, 2009 rated it did not like it
I desperately wanted to read this book. I love the setting (Elizabethan England) and what I read, it was described very well.

However, I couldn't connect with the characters. It's done from two POVs but each POV is done in first person, and it often got confusing who was talking. I thought after each chapter or chapter break it would be the next person talking, and would often assume such...and then I'd get a paragraph in and find out it was the other. I didn't think that the characters were fles
Vannetta Chapman
Oct 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was my first Siri Mitchell book. I'd seen her name numerous times and wanted to give her a try.

The book was really interesting to me - while the characters were frustrating at times (WHY could that girl not mature a little faster and WHY was her husband so stubborn) ... the setting and historical details were spot-on.

I'd recommend this book to anyone interested in the Elizabethan era, and I'd also recommend it to any teachers out there who teach Shakespeare.
Paula Vince
Jun 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
This authentic story set in the court of Queen Elizabeth I shows up this era as one of the most undesirable times to be alive, not just for destitute peasants but for the gentry too. Marget, the daughter of a knight, finds herself in an arranged marriage with the Earl of Lytham. I found it heartbreaking to see her coerced into doing things as fashionable society dictated, to her detriment and harm. She was just a good-intentioned, kind-hearted girl compelled to ruin her spirits and health in the ...more
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 10, 2011 rated it really liked it
I almost think one needs a constant heart to finish "A Constant Heart" - not because it's poorly written but because it's so well written and there is so much angst that it was hard for me to read it straight through. The characters were so believable that you could feel their pain, their struggle, their demise, there frustrations... I wish the end had been extended a bit so we could see a bit more happiness without the constant struggles of the court they escaped. Just one more short little cha ...more
Siri Mitchell is one of those spectacular authors with well-written, well-researched stories. For the historical information, I love her books... She captures what it was like to live in whatever period of time she is writing about. As in A Constant Heart, I learned what it was like in Queen Elizabeth's court... and was completely appalled. I can't believe women would paint their faces white and friz their hair (in other words, destroy their beauty) to fit in with the court!
This story was very
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favs
absolutely usual she writes a heartwarming page turner..
About the book:

Born with the face of an angel, Marget Barnardsen is blessed. Her father is a knight and now she is to be married to the Earl of Lytham. Her destiny is least, it would seem so. But when her introduction to court goes awry and Queen Elizabeth despises her, Marget fears she's lost her husband forever. Desperate to win him back, she'll do whatever it takes to discover how she failed and capture the love of a man bound to the queen.

My review:

First, let me say that the
Shari Larsen
Jun 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Marget Barnardsen is blessed, she is beautiful, and her father is a knight. At 17, she to be married to the Earl of Lytham, and she will be a countess. She seems destined to live a happy life. But her introduction to court and to Queen Elizabeth goes awry, the Queen clearly despises her. Now Marget fears losing her husband forever. Desperate to win him back, she does what she feels she has to do in order to keep in, and to fit in at court in order to help him gain the Queen's favor, even if that ...more
Bluerose's  Heart
May 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, christian
Marget has trained to be a countess for twelve years, and her chance has come to put into practice all she has learned. She is to be married to the Earl of Lytham, who is a courtier to Queen Elizabeth. Marget saves her best friend, Joan, from an unwanted marriage and brings her to be a maid.
Lytham’s first marriage was annulled due to infidelity, so he automatically distrusts Marget, and acts as if he hates her. When Lytham brings her to meet the Queen, she is so jealous of her beauty that she ca
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Christine McIntosh
I really enjoy well written and researched historical novels. This is the first Elizabethan era novel I've read and it was a real introduction to that time period.

The back and forth relationship between the main characters was quite frustrating at times but the trials Marget and Lytham had to go through was a vivid portrait of courtier life during the English Renaissance.

The imitation of and devotion to the Queen was fantastic in its reverence. The painting of the face, the dyeing of the hair,
Started out strong, but then sputtered out. There was not much of a plot or character arc. I didn't see much reason why the characters fell in love. It's very meh all around. Only read this if you are a freak for Elizabethan court historical fiction.

Read Kissing Adrien instead. It's by the same author but you would never guess it. It's not historical fiction but it's a much better romance and a much better read in general.
Dec 20, 2010 rated it it was ok
This book had good qualities definetly a historical fiction on make-up, it just seemed slow. went on and on about the bad side of bing in court with the queen, but not in a light way. The point of the book seemed to be how all the women wore make up that was killing them and their unborn children. I thought it was depressing!
Best for ages 18 and up for marital themes.

This book was amazing! The historical details were both fascinating and accurate. There personal struggles of the characters were so heart tugging a real. A very good story.
Jan 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Siri Mitchell continues to be one of my favorite historical fiction authors. This one is no exception to her long line of wonderful books. It's interesting, it's terribly sad and gripping and fascinating for a history fan.
Sandi *~The Pirate Wench~*
Really enjoyed this one. Review to come
May 23, 2013 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 08, 2009 rated it liked it
I think this is supposed to be a Christian historical fiction with a strong romance theme, but all it really shines at is giving a comprehensive historical look at court life under Queen Elizabeth I.

The main characters occasionally make a vague reference to God, but that's about it. God certainly doesn't impact their lives at all.

As for the romance, the 'hero' is self-centered, childish, ambitious, cruel, emotionally abusive of his wife, and a few other unflattering things. I was rooting for him
May 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
The earl of Lytham wants nothing more than to please the Queen and earn a good place in her court. But in 1590, Queen Elizabeth is not a woman whose favor is easily granted. Deciding to marry in order to use the dowry for improvements on his property, Lytham hopes for nothing more than that his new wife is homely and will not divide his attention away from the queen. On his wedding day he meets his bride and is beyond dismayed that she is a beautiful young thing, too much like his treacherous fi ...more
Mar 14, 2010 rated it liked it
In the Provo City Library, Constant Heart is found under the Romance section of the library. It's a forbidden area of the library, at's supposed to be, and yet I've probably checked more books out from that section than anywhere else. Mostly because Provo's library doesn't require much to be considered a romance. I would have never put Constant Heart in the romance section... It is more general, historical fiction.

My main problem with the book isn't really fair. I wanted Marget to be
Stormi (BMReviewsohmy)
Sep 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Mitchell's book was a different sort of read for me. I like historical fiction, but usually they have more of a romantic theme in them. Mitchell's book to me was just historical fiction with a bit of romance.

A Constant Heart was about the courtier's during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Marget is a beautiful woman in a world where beauty is not allowed. She marries a courtier, Lytham, who thinks that beauty is a curse not a blessing and despises his wife for her looks. Marget encouraged by her
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Sinopsis en Español // Synopsis in Spanish 1 1 Nov 21, 2014 12:41AM  
¿Por qué no una traducción al Español? 1 1 Oct 23, 2014 12:54AM  
Translation into Spanish, why not? 1 2 Jul 02, 2014 07:26AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • An Unlikely Suitor
  • Threads of Silk (The Silk House, #3)
  • Surrender the Night (Surrender to Destiny, # 2)
  • The Colonel's Lady
  • Words Spoken True
  • The Rose of Winslow Street
  • Prize of My Heart (Sea Heroes of Duxbury)
  • Ransome's Crossing (The Ransome Trilogy, #2)
  • The Falcon and the Sparrow
  • Lady of Milkweed Manor
  • The Doctor's Lady
  • Making Waves (Lake Manawa Summers, #1)
  • Fairer Than Morning (Saddler's Legacy, #1)
  • Bees in the Butterfly Garden (The Gilded Legacy, #1)
  • Snow Angel
See similar books…
also published under the name Siri L. Mitchell & Iris Anthony

Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of

Other books in the series

Against All Expectations (7 books)
  • Love's Pursuit
  • She Walks in Beauty
  • A Heart Most Worthy
  • The Messenger
  • Unrivaled
  • Love Comes Calling
“Love is not some tool for manipulation. Love is a gift - love is from God. Love means everything.” 9 likes
“I do understand! I understand what they do not, and that is you can only do with what you have. What God has given you. If you try to be anyone else, it is the worst thing that can happen because you cannot ever be them - and then you give up being you” 2 likes
More quotes…