Rosalie and Preston have the cutest falling in love with the boy next door vibe. It’s such a pleasant little trope, one that was enjoyable to go along for the ride with. The fact that it’s not even a neighbour, but the guy who’s renting a granny flat across the driveway? It just became all that much cuter and more convenient. Rosalie and Preston also just work together beautifully in that they start out seeking each other’s companionship, which then blossoms into something more.
Rosalie’s interfering mother is kind of hilarious. She has more game than I could ever hope to have. And such a great joy of life. I honestly could not stop giggling right the way through. I mean, we’ve probably all had that awkward moment of a friend or family trying to “help” in our romantic endeavours. I don’t know how many would go full out with Marvin Gaye and candles under a starlit sky…
Rosalie’s ex on the other hand, is terrifying in his manipulations. Where her mother is doing all of her nonsense out of the good of her heart, her ex is just horrifying. The bullying, controlling attitude is bad enough. But the way he tries to manipulate things to not only destroy Rosalie’s happiness, but extort money from it? That’s bad enough. The potential for financial and legal, ruin just capped it all off.
Like certain people in Rosalie’s past, Preston’s family truly sucks. Except for his sister. Like, I believable levels of not okay behaviour going on there. Yet, for someone so strong and happy to encourage Rosalie to take back her own life, he puts up with a lot of nonsense. Yet, eventually, he figures out how to stick up for himself. Something I greatly appreciated and loved. Enough to make me look, forward to reading more Rebecca Norinne books.
Belle and Ty are a fun couple, and I found this to be a wonderful, easy contemporary romance. Plus, Phoebe, Audrey, Zara and so many others were constantly reappearing in this story. Heartwood was great and introduced me to a wonderful new author who has now been added to my shelves.
I loved that throughout this story, Croix constantly highlights that we all have our crap. That everyone is bringing some complexities and difficulties to the table. And that fact doesn’t make us unlovable. Although on the surface Belle’s issues are pretty full on, it’s actually Ty’s which almost torpedo their whole relationship. Again, everyone has their own nonsense and it’s sometimes just a little bit difficult moving through it.
I think this is my first book that features someone with bipolar disorder. I did absolutely love that fact. However, it was a very brief and broad mention. Yes, it’s Belle’s biggest challenge throughout the book. But it was more of a challenge in the fact that it made her rethink her life and thought she was letting down her loved ones. The people I’ve known living with bipolar (and there’s been many) take years to figure out their new baseline, and years to figure out their medications. On one hand, I loved that Belle’s story was so happy, but on the other, I think it oversimplified things a little.
All in all, Heartwood was a fantastic romance with a great happily ever after (as they all do). I love that mostly it’s about two people figuring out how to accept themselves and that they are worthy of love. It’s sweet and an easy read, with some really great issues at its heart. I’m definitely looking forward to reading some more J.H. Croix in the future.
I have to admit, having Sam as the male lead was incredibly yummy. And I’m not normally all that interested in reading about hipsters. Or just hipsters in general. But, he’s Wiccan, so the hipster thing was forgiven, and I actually enjoyed getting to know this so very yummy man a little bit better… there’s just something about not only his characterisation, but also the gorgeous relationship he has with his grandmother and great-aunt that had me smiling and digging further and further into this story.
Although I’ve been reading a lot of contemporary romances lately, I actually haven’t read many that feature the internet. I love that this tale actually uses the internet and our current obsession with memes to drive the storyline. It’s kind of a cruel beginning – memes drive a woman out of her life and thrust her into a whole new one. But I do love that it is something that generally happens these days. Plus, I seriously can’t get the idea of Phoebe with a huge hunk of meat flung over her shoulder, righteously marching off.
I’ve never been to America, let alone Vermont (where I think this is set). But I love the feeling of this setting. It actually kind of made me think of the tiny towns scattered throughout the Adelaide Hills. That sense of greenery and seclusion is so peaceful as you’re travelling through the region. It’s certainly the feeling that I get when I’m journeying into this tiny town. A feeling that I look forward to returning to with the reading of Heartwood.
Not only did I really enjoy both Phoebe and Sam independently and together, I also really loved all of the cooking and food throughout. I’m definitely developing an obsession with any kind of romance that features food and cooking. It’s just too delicious and… yummmm. So I had multiple reasons to drool while reading this fantastic romance.