Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Alice's Review: Heart Like Mine

Summary: 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 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 that 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, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.

Review:  It was very prophetic to have heart in the title, this novel has a lot of heart.  Heart Like Mine is the remarkable new novel by Amy Hatvany about the aftermath of the sudden death of a divorced mother.  It is told in alternating chapters from the three very different points of view.  Kelli, divorced with two kids and a past she is constantly hiding from.  Ava, Kelli’s 13 year old daughter going through a time when she needs her mother the most.  Lastly, Grace, engaged to Ava’s dad and Kelli’s ex-husband Victor, living her ideal life with a man who isn’t pressuring her for kids.

I want to praise Ms. Hatvany for writing such a tremendous novel.  She excels at writing full characters and getting their points across without using a million words.  This novel is on the shorter side.  It’s a quick read but has a lot of substance.  Her words are chosen thoughtfully.  I would read her again in a second and will recommend Heart Like Mine to anyone who asks. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the three main characters in Heart LikeMine.  Each was very different, each brought something new to the story. Of the three, I related to Grace the most.  Her apprehensions were real.  I connected to her in that I am also a thirty plus year old with no children of my own and no desire for them either.  I am presently dating a man who is the father of a teenage girl.  I totally understood Grace and knew where she was coming from. 

When I first began the novel, I thought I wouldn’t like Kelli. I was wrong. I thought Ms. Hatvany did an exceptional job of writing her in such a way that I felt empathy for her. Kelli was nothing like I expected. Ms. Hatvany skillfully revealed Kelli’s truth and I was thankful for her part in the novel, she was the tie that held the story together.This is the first time I am dipping my toe in the Amy Hatvany novel pool. I really enjoyed her writing style. It was well rounded and well written. She writes from the heart for the heart. I look forward to reading more of her work. 

Look for Heart Like Mine on sale March 19, 2013.

Final Take: 4/5



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