Monday, April 15, 2013

Review: "Heart Like Mine" by Amy Hatvany

Grace McAllister isn't one of those women who has always longed for children. Fulfilled in her job she has yet to feel a maternal pull towards creating offspring of her own. When she meets Victor Hansen and discovers that he has two children with his ex-wife she feels like she could be a decent step-mom. The kids only visit with their father every other weekend so Grace feels prepared to handle them in that capacity.

Several days after Grace and Victor get engaged, Victor's ex-wife Kelli dies under mysterious circumstances. Grace finds herself instantly thrust into parenting two children who are going through a traumatic time, including wise-beyond-her-years, thirteen-year-old Ava.

Ava didn't mind Grace before, although she always harboured the hope that her mom and dad would get back together. Now that she is forced to co-habitate with her, Ava hates Grace, and resents her for being alive instead of her mother. As Grace and Ava begin to uncover more about Kelli's mysterious past the two find themselves coming together in search of the truth in ways that they had never anticipated.

I really appreciated the central theme of this book, which was step-parenting in my opinion. There are certainly a lot of other things going on in the book, all of them relevant, but this is what stood out the most to me. I'm sure that I related the most to that particular theme because my husband is a step-parent to my eldest son, and a lot of the complicated situations were relevant to me. I'm not a step-parent myself but I imagine that it can be one of the hardest jobs in the world, because I certainly find parenting difficult at the best of times! I love that Hatvany addressed some of the issues that step-parents face, and even took things one step further by complicating the dynamic with a death.

Anyone who has read Hatvany's books before know that they can often pull at your heartstrings, and Heart Like Mine is no exception. There was so much raw emotion present , with an underlying feeling of hope for the future and hope for better days to come. Hatvany touches on several difficult situations in this book with grace and skill.

I really enjoyed the fact that this story was told from three different perspectives. We hear from Grace, step-daughter Ava, and even Kelli (from the past). Those three perspectives were welcome ones, and I can even admit that I started the book not liking Kelli but I ended up liking her because I got to discover her side of the story.

If you are looking for a story that will resonate with you, make you think, and make you feel I highly recommend reading Heart Like Mine. The story of this broken family looking to heal will stay with you long after you've read the final pages. My thanks for the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

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