Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany
I was looking for something uplifting after reading a very somber memoir when I discovered Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany, a nicely blended combination of chick lit and domestic drama. In her latest novel, the popular author tells a tale through alternating voices and flashbacks spoken by the key players in the story.
Grace McAllister is a 30-something career woman who meets Victor Hansen, a handsome restaurateur, while on the blind date from hell. Grace and Victor start dating and soon become very serious. They are anxious to make a permanent commitment but at the same time want to be cautious when presenting the news of their engagement to Victor’s two children, Max and Ava.
On the big day of the announcement Victor receives the unsettling news that Max and Ava’s mom Kelli has suddenly passed away. Without giving it a second thought, Grace rushes to the aid of Max and Ava and tries to comfort the children without stepping out of bounds. Grace’s narrative tells of a young woman who loves her man very much, but has no idea how to deal with his kids. Max takes a shine to Grace, but it is Ava the rebellious teen who is the constant challenge. Devastated by the loss of her mother, she rebuffs Grace’s sympathetic efforts at every turn and even acts out in a very shocking manner.
Reading Ava’s entries gives us a glimpse into the mind of the teen who is struggling to cope with her Mom’s death and the inevitable blended family that would soon ensue. Ava cannot believe her Mom is dead. She wears her Mom’s favorite red sweater thinking it will somehow bring her back. Day after day she tries to figure out what went wrong or if the tragedy could have been averted. She knew her Mom was not feeling well….could she have prevented her death?
Interspersed throughout the novel is also the story of Kelli. Background snippets of her life growing up paint a story of a troubled young mother and the hardships she endured while being raised by parents who never loved or understood her. Secrets of Kelli’s past life come to light and explain her tortured existence and the marriage to Victor that seemed doomed from the start.
Even with all the different voices and flashbacks to keep track of the author manages to weave together a wonderfully cohesive tale of family drama, heartache, and forgiveness. I became engrossed in the book not only to hear everyone’s side of the story, but also to find out the secrets Kelli kept hidden from those who loved her most. Hatvany fans are in for a real treat and those who are new to her work will also enjoy this heartwarming domestic tale.
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