Book review: Heart Like Mine
Heart Like Mine
by Amy Hatvany
Washington Square Press, $15.00
Available on various e-readers
Blurb from the publisher:
Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?
At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.
But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.
Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life.
My thoughts :
Heart Like Mine, such a simple title, yet...who's heart is like mine? Ava's, the grieving and angry teen? Grace's, the instant "mom", almost wife and struggling career driven woman? Or Kelli's, relating to her daughter's, her hard nosed mother, or her daughter's soon to be step-mom? I started this book thinking I'd have a clear answer when I finished. You know what? It really doesn't matter who the title references. I'm one of those readers who likes to find the truth behind the title. And while my truth may be different from the truth you find? They're both truthful, and both right.
Hatvany has created such real people! I know we often hear and read things like that, but I really mean "real". No matter what character is speaking, you know them! They are in your world. I think one of the hardest things for an author, is to accurately speak for different ages and to have it be honest, and most importantly, believable. One of the most honest scenes for me was between Grace and Victor, (her fiance and Ava's dad). They are discussing the incredibility of Kelli's parents not wanting to have anything to do with their daughter and grandchildren. OK, that's a pretty strange thing on its own, but the scene quickly turns to Grace being hurt because her fiance was remembering what traits he liked in his ex-wife, Kelli. Smartly, Hatvany quickly gave Grace the humility and love to realize that Victor, at one time, loved his ex, just as he loves HER now. That Victor is human.
Hatvany's Heart Like Mine is scattered FULL of these quiet moments, where the characters are clearly defined, where she wants you to feel for each of them, and when you do? You struggle with the events of this story even more. You're pulled in the direction of the three women, and also pulled by the two main guys, Victor, and his son the adorable, Max.
Hatvany has made the women the focus and also the characters who hold and also solve the mysteries. We don't get too much from the males, Victor, Max or Kelli's father. While Victor and Max figure in the stories, we hear little from them, but what little we hear is powerful. Kelli's distant father is around, but her mother's is the voice that we, as readers, have the most interaction with.
For me, the author wrote a fast paced and engaging book, you wanted to read faster to keep the pages turning. Her dialogue for all of the characters is spot on and the voices clear in your head as you read. You quickly get to know these people and have no problem at all keeping up with the story, as Hatvany's superb story telling propels you forward.
I won't give you too much more, as I don't want to spoil the ride that the author gives you.
I give this 4 out of 5 stars, I really enjoyed Heart Like Mine, and recommend it highly. My only little quibble, so to speak, is that it all wrapped up pretty quickly. The ending is believable and satisfying, but it happened oh-so-fast! Now, if that's the only complaint I have? This is one fine book!!
Heart Like Mine is in stores and for sale online today!
**This e-galley was provided to me, in exchange for an honest review, by the publisher through NetGalley.
Visit Amy Hatvany's official site here.