‘The Breath of Dawn’: Engrossing Contemporary Fiction at its Finest


‘The Breath of Dawn’: Engrossing Contemporary Fiction at its Finest. Review of the 2013 contemporary novel. Text © Rissi JC

There is a delicate narrative required for any good love story. If an author wants to up the romantic tension, there is a fine line in writing something that will stir our senses and emotions in all the right ways vs. something that may read as if the story isn’t genuine.

Branded as a romance, in The Breath of Dawn, Kristen Heitzmann looks beyond this, and digs deeper into the (messy) meaning of love and life. She doesn’t just stop with the love story – which is exceptionally beautiful, she challenges the characters. Nothing this book does plays it safe. Already a familiar character to readers, Morgan Spencer is again at the center of the story, only this time he’s a single father whose life soon becomes entangled with that of Quinn Riley. Two strangers who form an unusual bond in one of the most unexpected fictional romances I have read.  

I am a sucker for love stories that truly cherishes love within marriage. Few authors give this satisfaction since most books end long before the “I Do’s,” which displays a “prettier” frame of love. That’s not to say that the first blush of love isn’t equally compelling, but there is respect for a story that looks beyond the surface of a relationship.

Both Morgan and Quinn are fragile after life knocks them around. One never fully mourns a loss, the other is running from a cult. The vulnerabilities these characters carry around make them more insightful as we wish the best for their benefit, holding onto a hope each will come to a fuller, more satisfying relationship – both with their families and with God.

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If all my years reading have taught me anything, it would be this; don’t judge a book by its cover. Despite my skepticism about reading Heitzmann’s books I did adore this novel. Knowing how to organize my thoughts befuddles me because this book is beautiful. It’s not all about fairytale leanings, rather it’s the skill and consideration that Kristen writes the book, giving us a story that leaves us breathless for what’s to come. The Breath of Dawn lays bare the soul of these characters, whether in the romantic story or in the trials they push through, every principle has a purpose; each one presents to make them better. Not just likable, truly, sincerely better as people. There is one minor plot I found to be more “nuisance” than substance involving a woman searching for her father; it seems more “tacked on.”

Irrespective of its genre, don’t mistake the branding of this novel – it’s more than a romance! There’s excitement in each thread; it’s in the heart-tugging romance (but never goes “too far”) and in the moments Morgan begins to live again. A slow start doesn’t (in the end) deter from the book. All praise aside, this isn’t a book for everyone. The presence of a cult (in someone’s past) may be a turn-off to many readers; it only enhances the experience because the topic is handled surprisingly well for something that’s taboo in Christian fiction.  

Heitzmann grips readers with this expressive story of love and loss, and the grace that heals all. Both subjects build off of each other, putting together a first-class narrative. It’s a beautiful book that’s got “everything,” which Kristen weaves together masterfully. It’s the sort of story, any reader is sorry to close the last page on. ♥

About the Book:

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Kristen Heitzmann
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance, Inspirational, Suspense
Find the R E V I E W Elsewhere: Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
SHOP THE BOOK: Amazon | Bookshop.org ǀ Goodreads
Rating: ★★★★ ½ 

With thanks to the INSPYs and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of The Breath of Dawn for reviewing purposes

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.


  1. Hey Rissi ~ fabulous review, my friend. I agree with all you said. I can't believe you haven't read much of Kristen's novels. I have them all and have loved them all, except one. Twilight never grabbed me but everything else has. At a push, Freefall is probably my favourite – you have some great reading ahead of you!

    1. Neither can I, Rel! It's just… a travesty! The only one I won't be likely to read is Morgan's first story because, well, I won't enjoy reading about something that eventually ends in tragedy. Other than that, I am curious about more of Kristen's books. :)

      Just looked up Freefall – now I am curious! Thanks for the recommendation. Now for sure it's going on my list! :)

      Always glad to see you stopping by. Thanks!

  2. I wanted to read this one when it first came out but with no luck. After reading your review I'm going to have to track down a copy! (Or just try to win it by entering your giveaway…. ;D)

    1. This wasn't one I ever looked into, Rosie – now I am SO pleased that I had opportunity to read it. Certainly, it was a unique read that creatively weaves a bit of EVERY genre into the plot; romance, suspense, Christianity. Very entertaining.

      Well… I am rooting right along with you to win this in the giveaway! :)

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