Monday, January 14, 2013

Revell Blog Tour: Choices of the Heart

Here's a description of the book from Revell:

"She thought she had left her old life behind . . .

Esther Cherrett comes from a proud line of midwives and was trained by her mother to take over the family calling. When a terrible scandal threatens all she holds dear, Esther flees, taking a position as a teacher in the wild western mountains of Virginia. But instead of the refuge she was seeking, Esther finds herself in the midst of a deadly family feud-and courted by two men on opposite sides of the conflict. All she wants is to run away again.

Yet could it be that her past holds the key to reconciliation-and love?

In this gripping story of trust, deception, and bittersweet loss, you’ll discover the true meaning of choices of the heart."

My Rating

Spring

My Review

The mountain setting, the family feud with the heroine caught in the middle, the love triangle - the basic elements of this story (despite being used time and time again), as well as the colorful cover, drew me in and begged me to give it a try. Similar to my experience with the first book in "The Midwives" series (Lady in the Mist), I discovered some great things about Choices of the Heart, even if it didn't completely captivate me as much as I initially hoped.

One aspect of the book that intrigued me was how much some of the characters surprised me. My first impressions were often mixed-up - a great reminder that there's much more to people than what we initially believe! And, as a romance aficionado, I appreciated that Zach and Griff - the two men vying for Esther's affections - are around often throughout the pages. There's quite a bit of romantic tension!

With all the tension and mixed-up first impressions, however, this story lacks a certain fluidity. While I hesitate to call the characters "over-dramatic," as many of the situations often warrant heightened emotions, I still felt adrift and sometimes annoyed by all of the flip-flopping feelings and uncertainty.

Even though the heroine goes to the mountains to teach the children, the story is centered more on her back story and her previous profession, rather than on the community. That isn't to say that Esther's students don't play an important, albeit limited, role or that there aren't some valuable give-and-take lessons in store for the feuding families and the heroine. But the emphasis seems to be more on Esther's healing process and her love story. I would compare this story (in regards to a mountain setting, the feuding, and the focus) to A Heart Divided by Kathleen Morgan. Although I personally enjoyed the characters in A Heart Divided more, I still found this particular plot to be interesting and this romance to be generally sweet.  

Choices of the Heart shows how dark the choices of our hearts can be, and how much we are in need of understanding and mercy - as well as how careful we ought to be in how we act on our heart's desires. The story ultimately comes together as a fitting end for "The Midwives" series.

*With thanks to Revell for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest opinion.*

 “Available January 2013 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

4 comments:

MiscMayzee said...

I think the three books in this series actually managed to rank themselves 1, 2, and 3 both in series order and in order of my preference.

I liked this volume okay, but know what you mean about all the back and forth. Intrigue is great but the way it was left ambiguous until the end did weigh the book down a bit. I'm interested in seeing how the third book in Eakes Regency series comes out after reaching the conclusion of "Midwives."

Kav said...

Great review, Amber! There is one part of the story that really bothered me -- and I can't say what it was without pointing spoilers....hmmm...let's see if I can be cryptic enough and see if you can figure out what I mean. I think that Esther blamed herself entirely too much and it really frustrated me that no one took that burden from her. It just seemed to be implied that she caused the outcome of her past. Does that make any sense?

Amber S. said...

MiscMayzee,

That's interesting! I haven't actually read the second book - just the first and the third. You preferred Lady in the Mist overall, though?

I'm glad to hear I wasn't alone in feeling that way about the flip-flopping. (It's always nice to know you're not alone!) I haven't read her Regency series... Did you prefer that series to this one, or did you feel roughly the same regarding both?

Thank you so much for stopping by to share your thoughts! :)

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Thank you so much! :)

Before I address your concern, I just have to say that when I was reading your comment earlier, my sister was reading over my shoulder, and apparently your comment made her think of this quote:

"You're being strangely cryptic as you wrap your magic hair around my injured hand..."
~ Flynn Rider (from the movie Tangled)

That made me laugh! ;)

OK, now back to your comment... Yes, I think I know what you're talking about! My mind is being kind of fuzzy on the details... But yes, while her emotions were very convoluted, it still in no way meant that she deserved what happened in the past. And you're right! That is sad that people didn't really help her work through that and stop blaming herself. In fact, the whole way she viewed herself and her actions was rather unhealthy, and the guys only made things worse in how they treated her, generally. Ugh! The messages did seem kind of mixed - hence the "adrift" feeling, I suppose. :(

There were some great things about this story, but there were a lot of unhealthy attitudes to muddle through, I think!

~Amber