If you like Jodi Picoult, you will love Amy Hatvanyís Heart of Mine, a heartbreaking story of love and loss, narrated by three female voices, Grace, Kelli and Ava.
Grace is an independent free spirit convinced that children are not for her, until she meets restaurateur Victor. She had at first balked at the fact that Victor came as a package deal with two children attached, but as their relationship blossomed Grace became more accepting, finally agreeing to marry Victor.
Grace had only just placed her engagement ring on her finger when the tragic news breaks that Kelli, Victorís ex-wife and mother to Ava and Max, has died under mysterious circumstances. Grace must now step up and become stepmother to two grieving children neither of whom want her in their life. What were weekend visits has turned into full time care.
Victor and Grace decide that now is not the time to announce their engagement to the children, so Grace slips off her ring and keeps it in her purse. She tiptoes around the family offering counseling and support, most of which is not accepted.
When one of Victorís staff suffers an injury Victor has to compensate by putting in more time at his beloved restaurant. This results in him being away from his children with the burden of their care left to the inexperienced Grace.
Tension begins to arise between Victor and Grace as they both juggle careers and care along with their own grief and guilt. Victor had only just told Kelli about their engagement and Grace is worried it could have been the precursor to her death.
As Grace begins collecting things form Kelliís house she discovers hidden secrets. Independently Grace and Ava dig deeper into Kelliís troubled past uncovering unexpected truths.
Hatvanyís tale shines the spotlight onto blended families, particularly the role of a stepmother in difficult circumstances. She explores the complexities of family life with honesty and depth of feeling. A heartfelt read that fills the reader with hope and possibilities.
By Sophia WhitfieldOn July 23, 2015
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