Although not as brilliant as Red Red Rose, nonetheless, Jack of Hearts merits 5 stars for me. Other reviewers seemed not to like it because of the fact that the themes this book explores are somewhat superficially divergent. Rather, I think, the themes run parallel and the author explores some interesting ideas and some not often used historical events.
This is the story of a younger son, Jack Belden, first met in Red Red Rose who, like many younger sons in those days had a choice of church or army and he found purpose and meaning in his life by choosing the army. Rather than a front line officer, he became, because of his Spanish heritage, a fighter behind the lines with the Spanish guerrilleros - unusual for a fictional regency hero. After the end of the war, Jack is at loose ends, and has recently inherited a title and a load of debts and responsibilities. He has always found it easy to charm women although there is nothing malicious in how he does it.
Anne Heriot is the daughter of a deceased mill owner, fabulously rich but commonsensical and down to earth. To fulfill her father's most passionate wishes, she seeks to buy a title for herself. Nothing unusual here - it happened frequently and still does in the British aristocracy! As she evaluates her options, she learns much about herself and grows into a likeable and loveable woman.
However, neither Jack nor Anne are what they seem. He is, in fact, quite a romantic and she, for all her apparent strength and common sense is painfully in need of love and reassurance.
Wanted: The Perfect Husband... Anne Heriot, the daughter of a wealthy mill owner, already possesses a sizable fortune - she just needs a title to make her life complete. So when her quest for the ideal husband takes her to London, Anne draws up a list of eligible bachelors who can provide her with the future - and the social clout - she longs for...
Notorious womanizer Jack Belden is not on Anne's list. He's a titled charmer who needs money to resurrect his impoverished estate - and although his distinguished lineage perfectly suits Anne's requirement, his sullied reputation stands in the way of a mutually beneficial marriage.