Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Book Review: Heart Like Mine

by: Amy Hatvany

Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

When a young mother dies under mysterious circumstances, those she leaves behind begin looking for answers in the past—and find a long-buried secret they could have never imagined.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 step-mom. 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.

The only thing that really bugged me in this story was that the main character dated a man with children, when she adamantly wanted none of her own. But on the other hand, I loved that the author put the reasoning behind it into the story. At a certain age it's really hard to find a man who hasn't been married and had children. But he didn't have full custody, so she felt she could enjoy them in small doses.

But what happens when that mother dies? Now he has the children full time, they are all mourning the loss and they all count on Grace to help them through it. Does she have the strength to help the man she loves, and can she figure out how to become the step-mother the children now need?

I didn't think I would connect with this character. When I hear about women like this in the real world, I can't help but wonder why they'd date a man with children if they really didn't want children. Yes, he might not have them much now, but you can't predict that. And it's wrong to lead a guy on when you plan on checking out if circumstances change.

But better to be honest. He knew she didn't want kids, and had no desire to be a mother. He tried his best to limit her responsibility. And God love them, they actually communicate. It does get rocky, but how could it not? All of a sudden she's playing step-mother full-time when she never even wanted part-time. He's under pressure from his restaurant and his kids and his ex-wife's death. It's bound to be bumpy.

Fantastic story, but it is not a happy tale. Read it for yourself and see, it won't let you down.

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