The Story: Unhappy with her life as it stands now, thirty-something Kate Donovan travels with her grandmother from their home in Dallas to Redbud Pennsylvania to restore gran’s ancestral home. After heartbreak with her work as a social worker, Kate is ready for a break – and she is realizing that despite two “serious” relationships, she still seeks “Mr. Right.” Is God telling her that there is no one “right” for her? Or did she miss her chance at happy-ever-after?
Matt Jarreau is broken. Once a popular, decorated hockey star, Matt walks away from the spotlight following his wife’s tragic death. Now he is returns from New York to his small hometown of Redbud. Working as a contractor, he’s a hermit who likes his “space.” That is all about to change. Matt is hired by Beverly to see her family home put back to rights. He quickly realizes that he cannot shake Kate so easily. Will Kate’s stubborn heart break Matt’s cynical one? Or will the two of them never realize what they have is more than friendship?
REVIEW: I’m the sort of reader who usually is willing to try a book even if it has an unfamiliar name emblazoned across the cover. That was my keen interest in this novel; I saw the cute cover, read the synopsis, and thought, “it sounds good.” Debut author Becky Wade does indeed create a sweet, engaging romance that is not just a romance but also an affectionate piece of writing that blends a fairy-tale (of sorts albeit not in the “traditional” sense) with realism perfectly. In my humble opinion, there is a fine line in crafting that balance but it seems to be something that I crave in authors – and Wade captures it skillfully.
In more depth, here are the things I really like, and those I wish came across differently.
The Pros of My Stubborn Heart:
- The characters; I just love Wade’s leading couple. By definition, they are “ordinary,” and by that, I mean they’re “real.” Both are likable but flawed human beings who we could easily imagine being friends with. Matt’s broken past is a reminder of favorite literary man; his good looks and brooding manners aren’t all that make us fall in love with him (but it isn’t a hindrance, either *wink*), but it’s his protectiveness and eventual redemption are what makes him a good man. Kate likewise isn’t hard to like. She is quirky but lovable; and is a woman we long to see take her happy ending.
- Wade is definitely a “fresh” voice in the Christian fiction scene, and overall, I love her style. The prologue and epilogue were unique to the books I’ve read previously and it was refreshing way to start a novel while creating a different perspective than the typical he/she switch off of the character’s mindset.
- The pacing is fabulous. I love what Wade does within these pages – and by that, the characters. For once, I’m delighted that an author takes care with the budding romance. Although Kate is immediately attracted to Matt, there is no “love at first sight,” instead the characters grow individually and together as friends, nothing more. Their friendship was solid long before they saw themselves as romantic counterparts.
- The fact that nothing resembles even a hint of a “mystery” enters this novel’s pages is a fabulous “change.” A lot of books that aren’t even categorized as “suspense” usually draw from something that has potential to ruin the happy-ever-after in the last push to the end. This book did not. I am a fan of a good thriller but in novels like this, it rarely works really well.
The Cons of My Stubborn Heart:
- Most of the book is witty and I love the humor but…periodically (and for lack of a better word), it borders on the edge of crude. It’s not to the can’t-believe-this-is-a-Christian-novel point (not by a long shot) but it is… awkward.
- Kate’s bemoaning of her love life. It’s more in the opening and near the end when prospects look grim but it is a bit tiresome to hear the moping, and the attitude she has about not being married or in a serious relationship.
When it comes right down to it, cons or no, this novel undeniably charms. It’s a tender, romantic, boy-meets-girl scenario that is, in my humble opinion, all-around one of the best I’ve read in a while. But, I couldn’t help but feel some of the books flaws were unmistakably “awkward.”
I see a lot of good potential in Wade’s storytelling. I appreciate what the author does with the characters, how she “eases” them into a relationship as opposed to defaulting to that “one moment” in which characters, suddenly, inexplicably realize they are (surprise!) actually in love; it has been forever since I felt so happy with a romantic-comedy set in novel form that I could be so enthusiastically pleased with. The hints of realism and probable conversations are an additional plus that I appreciate having been able to applaud, unlike a series by Karen Kingsbury I recently read, this book had an excellent handle on it.
Undeniably, I am happy with the decision to read My Stubborn Heart, and will be anxiously awaiting any additional titles by Becky Wade: a 4-out-of-5-star read!
Did you or would you read this novel? What were your impressions of My Stubborn Heart? Comment below, readers.My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade – Contemporary Debut with Sass. A review of the 2012 debut of author Becky Wade. #Romance #Fiction #MustRead Click To Tweet
ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Find the Book Elsewhere: Goodreads
Find the Review Elsewhere: Goodreads
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5
*Many thanks to the publisher for providing this copy for reviewing purposes