Sunday, October 7, 2012

Guest Reviewer Brenda Margriet (@brendamargriet) reviews This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

This Heart of Mine 
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Molly Somerville knows she has a reputation for trouble. She did give away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance, but, hey, nobody's perfect. Still, if anyone has an almost perfect life, it's Molly. While her Daphne the Bunny children's books could be selling better, she loves her cramped loft, her French poodle, and her career creating the fictional animals who live in Nightingale Woods.She even loves her sister, Phoebe. True, it was a little tough growing up in her shadow. Phoebe is beautiful, blissfully married, and the owner of the most successful professional football team in America. But who other than your sister knows you're about to do something drastic every time you change your hair? Yes, Molly's happy about almost everything ... except her long-term crush on the daredevil quarterback for the Chicago Stars, that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember her name! 

One night Molly's penchant for running into trouble runs right into Kevin himself, turning her world upside down. Heartbreak follows, and just when she's certain things can't get worse, Kevin forces his way back into her life. If only the overpaid, Ferrari-driving, poodle-hating jock was as shallow as she wants him to be, she could get on with her almost perfect life. But Kevin's hidden depths and iron will propel Molly out of her comfortable existence into an unforgettable summer at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages and a charming old bed-and-breakfast, she and Kevin battle their attraction while trying to cope with an aging sexpot actress, a cranky world-famous artist, and a pair of teenage newlyweds.

Their careers and lives are in crisis ... yet they can't seem to stay away from each other. Before the summer is over, will they be able to learn one of life's most important lessons? Sometimes falling in love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes if you're very lucky it can heal in the most special and unexpected way.
(Goodreads description)

I have read more than 125 books this year (I just checked Goodreads).  I think I might be addicted. Oh, well, it could be worse.

In all that reading, the book that stands out most for me is “This Heart of Mine” by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.  I can't believe I've only recently discovered this amazing author.  She can touch your heart as easily as your funny bone, and she writes divinely.  It so much fun meeting all her wonderful characters.

Molly Somerville's life isn't perfect, but it's pretty darn good.  She has a great career as a children's book author, lots of nieces and nephews, and she loves where she lives. If only she could get over her crush on Kevin Tucker, the quarterback of the Chicago Stars. 

In a scene that should have been farce but instead is emotionally taut, Molly makes love to a sleeping Kevin, who is furious and horrified when he realizes what has happened.  Inevitably, Molly discover she is pregnant, and is fiercely overjoyed. But she knows Kevin will not feel the same, so she decides not to tell him. Her interfering brother-in-law does, with the result that Kevin insists they get married.

Bare hours after they are married, Molly suffers a miscarriage.  I have never suffered such a tragedy.  But when Molly loses her baby, I could barely read the scene.  It was gut-wrenching and heartbreaking, and  I can only imagine how it would have affected a reader who had gone through the experience herself.

I don't generally cry over the characters I read about. But I couldn't help it during my favourite scene in the whole novel.  Kevin and Molly finally talk about the baby they lost.  It's not a long scene, but it seems to encapsulate everything in prose that is sparse and yet uplifting.

Now, if you're thinking I should have warned you about spoilers, don't worry.  Everything I've mentioned happens in the first third of the book.  There is so much more, as Molly and Kevin learn first to be friends, then lovers, then partners.  Molly has to deal with a potential career disaster, and Kevin has to come to terms with his past.  There are great supporting characters, such as Kevin's estranged mother, Lilly.  But it is the two scenes above that made it so memorable to me.

About the Reviewer

Brenda Margriet is very excited about the release of her first novel, "Mountain Fire."  It is currently available on KDP Select for all you Kindle owners, and will be released in January 2013 by The Wild Rose Press for all other e-readers.  She lives in Northern British Columbia with her husband, three children (all of whom are taller than her) and various finny and furry pets. By day she is Creative Director at the local television station, and by night she pecks away at her works in progress.  Find out more at

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