Friday, April 13, 2012

Review - Heart of Gold by Robin Lee Hatcher

Heart of Gold
by Robin Lee Hatcher
Paperback, 304 pages
Published February 14, 2012 by Thomas Nelson Publishers
E-Copy from BookSneeze for honest review

Premise: Ganked from author's site:
The truest treasure is found deep in the heart. 
Life in Grand Coeur, Idaho, is so different! Back in her beloved Virginia, Shannon Adair loved nursing injured soldiers back to health. But in this rough-and-tumble place where her father has been called to lead the church, she’s not sure where she fits in. Then a critically ill woman arrives, and Shannon knows her place at last: to care for this dear woman and ease her pain. 
Matthew Dubois is a stagecoach driver through and through. But his widowed sister is dying and he’s about to inherit his young nephew. So he takes a job at the Wells, Fargo express office in Grand Coeur until he can find the one thing he needs to get back on the stage: a wife! 
What neither of them knows is that someone is at work behind the scenes. Someone who cares for them both, and knows exactly what these two need: each other!

My Review:     

Incredibly CUTE – as in home-cookin’ comfortable. This book was like eating my childhood favorite comfort food.

For one, Shannon is NICE.  She means well, although she has a few faults, like stubbornness and independent thought – which was a “fault” for the time period. Her father was SO nice, he was almost unbelievably nice, letting his daughter grow at her own pace while seeking to fulfill his destiny, praying constantly to God and talking to his deceased wife out of familiarity. The wonderful Matthew is a wheelbarrow-full of NICE, too. His only fault is former thoughtlessness, which he repents of almost from page one.

So, there’s a lot of super-nice people tossed into a dusty, dirty town, which also appears NICE. Yea, there’s ruffians and some "fisticuffs" resulting in stitches and black eyes, but it’s all delivered so NICELY… because the writing style is NICE. Sometimes it was so cute, I paused and reread the line wondering at the confidence of the writer to just spit out such layers of cute on top of each other. Lol.

There's more. I found beautiful outfits, fine dancing, delicious fried chicken and pensive thoughts about the civil war from the perspective of the confederacy. Shannon has brilliant red hair and green eyes. Plus she's just coming to "marriageable age". Whereas dating was fun before, suddenly she feels heart throbbing. Too cute.

I found two nuggets of gold in this mining town historical Christian romance:

The relationship between Shannon and Matthew is absolutely delightful and skillfully unfolded. There’s no guessing with love triangles or confusion about what sort of struggles will come up, it’s all very laid out, clear from the beginning (with one small surprise, which doesn’t take away from the trail but for a chapter). But it’s adorably cute. Mashed potato with sour cream tastefully spiced CUTE. And plenty of butter. CUTE.  It’s worth reading the book, the romance is so darn cute.

The second nugget is Matthew’s sister, Alice, is dying from cancer, and I can’t call her progress “cute” but it’s heart-tugging. Oh yea, I cried… that delicious sort of “I know, but that’s sad” sort of cry.

If you’ve ever read a historical Christian romance that you liked – you’ll definitely like this one, too. If the idea of “historical” and “Christian” makes you hesitate, that’s probably a good call. Unless… you have secretly wished to be a southern belle transported to an old mining town shopping for totally CUTE dresses with lots of petticoats and falling in love with a tall, strong, broad guy with dark hair and brilliant blue eyes who steps into the middle of a fight to save a stranger from getting picked on, well, then you should read this book, too.  :-D

Cover Commentary:  Perfect. Looks like a Christian romance set in pioneer days - wala!!  The title is amazingly appropriate - like too cutely perfect for words.

My Rating:  Cute lands a solid, enthusiastic 3 in my world, but the romance was 4 without question, so I'm giving Heart of Gold a 3.5 - definitely worth the time.

The Author:

Best-selling novelist Robin Lee Hatcher is known for her heartwarming and emotionally charged stories of faith, courage, and love. She discovered her vocation after many years of reading everything she could put her hands on, including the backs of cereal boxes and ketchup bottles. The winner of the Idahope Writer of the Year, the Christy Award for Excellence in Christian Fiction, two RITA Awards for Best Inspirational Romance, two RT Career Achievement Awards (Americana Romance and Inspirational Fiction), and the RWA Lifetime Achievement Award, Robin is the author of over 60 novels. Her historical romance Catching Katie was named one of the Best Books of 2004 by the Library Journal.

Robin enjoys being with her family, spending time in the beautiful Idaho outdoors, reading books that make her cry, and watching romantic movies. She is passionate about the theater, and several nights every summer, she can be found at the outdoor amphitheater of the Idaho Shakespeare Festival, enjoying plays under the stars. Her main hobby (when time allows) is knitting, and she has a special love for making prayer shawls. Robin and her husband make their home on the outskirts of Boise, sharing it with Poppet, the high-maintenance Papillon, and Princess Pinky, the DC (demon cat).

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 From The Christian Bookstore:
544889: Heart of Gold, Women of Faith Series Heart of Gold, Women of Faith Series
By Robin Lee Hatcher / Thomas Nelson

Wells Fargo driver Matthew Dubois isn't sure the lovely Shannon belongs in Idaho Territory, but he is a desperate man. His widowed sister is dying and leaving her young son, Todd, in his care. If Matthew ever wants to return to driving coach for the express company--and he does mean to return to it--he'll need a wife to look after the boy when he's away. Shannon is determined not to lose her heart to a man who is neither a Southerner nor a gentleman. But love stakes its claim. Now, will her heart survive learning the truth behind the courtship?