It isn’t possible to love and part … I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal. – E.M. Forster
There’s nothing you might expect and everything you might imagine in Keira Andrews and Leta Blake’s Ascending Hearts, the story of a man named Jack who, by virtue of his red hair and his unnatural desires, is an outcast in his village and believed to be the spawn of the Devil. Jack’s mother even buys into the superstition, blaming him for his father leaving them when Jack was but an infant. Now Maura has sold their only cow Inga to the local butcher because it’s the only way she was going to see any financial benefit from the aging animal, not to mention Maura has manipulated her way into greener pastures and is leaving Jack to fend for himself in a world that doesn’t want him.
But there is a beanstalk in the village that withers each winter and resurrects each spring with the temptation to climb its heights and attempt to steal what the giant in the clouds so greedily hoards. It is in desperation to pay a debt that Jack risks the climb to gain the gold that waits at the top, but he ends up losing his heart instead and discovers a treasure far more precious than anything material riches could bring him.
Rion is the guardian of his family legacy, destined to live alone in his ancestral castle as he guards the gold he made a deathbed promise to his father never to leave. Jack’s intrusion upon Rion’s sedate and solitary existence delivers an unwelcome discord to Rion’s orderly life, though it’s not too long before the two men discover that they are each the completion of the other’s soul. That does not, however, in any way guarantee their happily-ever-after.
Mirroring prejudice and overcoming misperceptions, not to mention a case of serious mutual attraction brings Rion and Jack together, but it’s duty and a bargain that must be honored that tears them apart. There is betrayal in the end, a deadly enemy who must be vanquished, which leads to the abiding of the true love that will help these two men to overcome.
Once again, Keira Andrews and Leta Blake have teamed up to make a fairy tale their very own, with the slightest of fractures in the familiar to make the story new and altogether too exciting to resist. Ascending Hearts isn’t the first retelling of “Jack and the Beanstalk” I’ve ever read, but I can almost guarantee it’s the most erotic. And, if I’m being entirely honest, I would pretty much also guarantee it’s the most romantic version of the story I’ve ever got my hands on. At least, I think it is.
If you like a really good love-conquers-all story that will give you a bit of a tug at the heartstrings for a minimal investment, I’d definitely recommend giving this one a go.