Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When Kate’s grandmother asks Kate to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
Yet, she discovers a different kind of project upon meeting the man hired to renovate the house. Matt Jarreau is attractive and clearly wounded — hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Kate can’t help but set her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.
This is the first book review I’ve written in a long time for a book I read for “fun” only. Don’t get me wrong, I only offer to review books I think I’ll enjoy so it’s no chore to read them. But this book wasn’t on my influence or review lists, but when it was free for Kindle a while back, Casey Herringshaw told me it was one of the best books she’d read all year. That stuck into my TBR stack near the top of the “for fun only” books. Plus I found a paper copy for sale at my local Christian bookstore. So I have both.
And Casey was right.
My Stubborn Heartis well-written, witty, fun, yet poignant and nearly tear-inducing [only my faith in Casey – and by then several others like my dear Pepper Basham – and the genre promising me a Happily Ever After kept the tears at bay].
It’s one of those books I have a love-hate relationship with – which is unusual in a debut novel. Love in that I, well, love it. Hate in that I read it thinking “man, I could never write this well”. Not a good thing for an aspiring author to be thinking ;).
Becky [who I’ve since met online] does a wonderful job creating real, flawed characters who also exhibit traits we ourselves long to have. The romance is just right – not too much, but not too little. You know before these two do that they belong together. But at the same time, one is willing to put his/her dreams aside [including, by that point, the relationship] for the greater good of the other character, and because it’s what God wants. That’s something many of us have a hard time with.
There were a couple of things that surprised me a bit because of who the publisher is [Bethany House] and they tend to be pretty conservative in what they publish – or at least my impression of their reputation. It wasn’t anything bad – not at all – just not what I expected [but was glad to see as it made the characters that much more real].
I have to say, I hope Becky’s sophomore effort [May! Need any influencers, Becky?!] is a sequel to this one [though I don’t remember an obvious character to get one – well, maybe one] because I want to see more of Kate and Matt in the future. Otherwise, I’ll have to make up stories for them in my head.
And I’ve already got too many voice clamoring around in there.
It doesn’t take over the top spot of “Best Book I’ve Read All Year” [Still held by Tricia Goyer’s By The Light of the Silvery Moon], but Becky is now in my auto-buy list right next to Mary Connealy and Julie Lessman and Janice Thompson.
Overall rating: 9.25 out of 10