Lost Heart, by Robin D. Owens

October 27, 2023 Book Reviews 4 ★★★½

Lost Heart, by Robin D. OwensLost Heart Series: Celta's Heartmates #14.5
Published by self-published on April 16, 2016
Genres: Fantasy Romance
Pages: 224
Format: Kindle or ebook
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible | Chirp
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Also in this series: Heart Mate, Hearts and Swords

Celta, a place of magic, telepathic animal companions, and romance . . . Lost Heart, a story rife with hidden agendas and dangerous secrets.

Barton Clover, Chief of Security for his large and noble family, is deeply aware of his responsibilities. When two young relatives repudiate the family and later disappear, he's determined to find them and convince them to return. He has no time or inclination for love . . . but his family disapproves of his nothing-but-work life. They decree that he must visit a matchmaker or lose his position.

Enata Licorice, a respected librarian, has been doing research in a mysterious records vault . . . and is finding odd blanks in her memory. Lonely, she yearns for a good husband and arranges a matchmaking session of her own.

It's love at first sight for Barton and Enata, but both are crucial members of their families. Clans who practice opposite lifestyles. And both families demand the couple's time and attention, causing strife.

While trying to resolve their issues, Barton discovers Enata's secret and they must work as a couple to resolve the puzzle that includes Barton's missing relatives -- if they dare. And if they fail, more than their own lives are lost.

This book contains mature content and may not be suitable for younger readers.

Love at first sight, and a startling revelation

Enata Licorice and Barton Clover fall in love at first sight in Lost Heart, a novella of Celta. Enata is a dedicated PublicLibrarian. Barton is head of security for the newly ennobled Clover Family. On the surface, they have little in common: she is cerebral and highly Flaired (she has strong psychic magic), while he is physical, highly trained and skilled in fighting and tactics. Nonetheless, the premier matchmaker on Celta declares them a perfect match, and Barton and Enata enthusiastically agree. But when Barton learns of Enata’s intermittent loss of memory and the emotional distress it has caused, their joint investigation of the source leads them to a clue regarding Barton’s missing relatives… and a startling discovery about the nature of Celta itself.

If insta-love makes you cringe, you might be a little resistant to the depth and intensity of the love (and lust) Enata and Barton experience on first meeting each other. Although Enata and Barton are not Heartmates, there is another explanation for their instant bond, which comes to light in the second half of the novella. The first half deals with their initial relationship and marriage (including several steamy scenes), as well as their relationships with each other’s families. While that was fun, I found the mystery surrounding Enata’s memory loss and Barton’s missing cousins more interesting, especially because the early scenes gave me a little more information than Enata has. And I really didn’t expect the surprise revelation toward the end. I hope Ms. Owens will explore that further in future stories or novels. (So far, she hasn’t, and it has been 7 years since the last book came out.)

You could probably read this novella without a background in the Celta’s Heartmates series, but it will work better if you read it after reading (at least) Heart Fortune, the story of Enata’s sister Glyssa and her Heartmate Jace, which briefly includes Enata and Barton’s meeting and marriage.

3.5 stars, edging toward 4.

Challenges: The Backlist Reader Challenge 2023; COYER Upside Down, Chapt. 2


Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

  • COYER Upside-Down 2023: Chapter 2
  • The Backlist Reader Challenge 2023

4 Responses to “Lost Heart, by Robin D. Owens”

  1. Nicole @ BookWyrm Knits

    Insta-love often turns me off, BUT not in a series where the author manages to come up with an explanation for it that I can accept. And if both parties go to a matchmaker, the theory is that they are looking for love and a lot more likely to jump in all the way. So I think I’d be okay with it in this kind of situation. I hadn’t heard of this series before, though (at least, not that I remember). Is the psychic magic a big part of the book/series, or just incidental?
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    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Yes, the psychic magic is a huge part of the series. All the novels in the series are about couples who are Heartmates: they have a psychic tie that connects them even before they meet in real life. This does not always (or often) mean their eventual relationship or courtship is easy or uncomplicated, though! And there are societal rules to prevent one partner from coercing the other into a relationship based on the existence of the Heartmate bond. It’s an interesting world, a combination of SF and fantasy. I have mixed feelings about some of the novels, but as a whole, I love the world Owens has created.

      I woudn’t start with Lost Heart, though. I think the books are best read in publication order, though bear in mind if you read the first book, Heart Mate, that it’s a little murky in the area of consent, at least from an emotional standpoint. It’s one of those “wounded Alpha hero who has suppressed his ability to feel love or tenderness” novels, though to be fair, his childhood and young adulthood provide plenty of justification for that.

    • Lark_Bookwyrm

      Which one? I started her Ghost Seer series but haven’t finished it yet. (I suspect that’s the one you mean, since it’s PR/UF, and the other series are more fantasy or in the case of the Celta series, fantasy in a SF setting.) I haven’t yet gotten my hands on either the Summoning or Mystic Circle series, but they’re on my wish list.