There are times when I just crave an angst filled romance. I mean, angst is one of my favorite things about lesbian romance books. When I read the blurb for Healing Hearts I thought I was in for a big angsty, weepy treat. I’ve grabbed the blurb and copied it here for your convenience. Go ahead and read it, I’ll wait…
Christian Sutter is a broken woman. After the loss of her lover, she is plagued by survivor guilt and struggles to engage contact with others in the simplest relationships. Seeking refuge, she turns to the solitude of Willow Springs, an all-women retreat in the mountains of East Tennessee. When Christian meets a reclusive artist, her world is turned upside down again.
Elaine Barber is on the run. She is no fugitive but the victim of a vicious crime that keeps her in constant fear. A once renowned FBI profiler and psychologist, Elaine has turned her back on her career, her home, and her lover to escape the unbearable fear that someone is still out there waiting to finish what they started.
Both women will begin the journey toward healing, a journey that will take them on a collision course with the very person who can destroy them all. Can love heal all wounds? One thing is certain: the lives of the women of Willow Springs will never be the same.
Sounds pretty good, right? Maybe some thriller/mystery mixed in with the angst to make it even better! Woot! I was pretty pumped. Maybe too pumped.
The book focuses on three women: Christian, Elaine, and the artist, Alex. Alex works part time at the resort and there’s instant sexual tension between her and Christian. Oh, there’s also the lover that Elaine left after her shooting, Chasey.
Ok, so now that you know the who and the what, let’s get down to the book. First off, the author sets the story in a gorgeous area and she does a nice job of putting us there. The descriptions of the area around Alex’s cabin and the resort are my favorite parts of the book. The sex scenes are pretty good, too.
Most of the book, though, I found to be mediocre. The plot and mystery were very predictible which, to be honest, happens a lot in romance books. Most of us know and acknowledge that fact and we look to the author to make the journey to the predictible end engaging and enjoyable. That didn’t happen for me with Healing Hearts.
There were a few things that stood in the way for me. The author used the characters’ names so much that it became distracting. I wondered if I was being too harsh and started to reconstruct the sentences in my head and in most cases, the use was unncessary. Picky, maybe, but it was one of the things that kept yanking me out of the story. I didn’t notice it as much in the later parts of the book so that was good.
The dialogue was another thing that made it difficult for me to become immersed. I’m a lover of natural sounding dialogue and I found many of the conversations felt like they were scripted for a romantic scene in a soap opera instead of two real people conversing. Do you know what I mean? Words and phrasing that no one uses except on TV or in movies. There wasn’t all that much dialogue, though, and we had to rely on the author to tell us most of what was going on. My inability to connect with the women and truly feel what they were going through may have had something to do with that.
There was a lot of potential in this book. The concept, I thought, was great but the final product just didn’t do anything for me. This is the first novel by Ms. Ford and I’ll be interested to see how her writing changes if she publishes another.
If you like stories about loss and healing and don’t suffer from the same literary pet peeves that I do, you may enjoy Healing Hearts.