REVIEW: Hearts Awakened by Linda WinfreeThursday, September 4, 2008 22:00
I begged Sybil to let me read Hearts Awakened. I’ve been a Linda Winfree fan since Samhain published her first title, and her books are almost always good for a heart wrenching, soul cleansing cry. Masochist that I am, Hearts Awakened didn’t let me down.
Tori Calvert has survived both a rape and a short but ugly relationship. While she is very cautious around men, she’s come to realize that her feelings for Detective Mark Cook are more than just friendly. Mark’s been interested in Tori for years, but not only is he concerned about scaring her, she is his best friend’s little sister. Hearts Awakened takes Tori and Mark down the very complicated and dark path from friendship to possibly more.
Linda Winfree’s characters read very “real” to me. They have everyday concerns and little details are included that make up day-to-day life, and really bring the central players alive. I loved reading about Mark’s desire to cheat on his diet, and his nod to being almost 40 was a perfect touch of humor. Tori’s balancing act between work and school is a common struggle, and her give and take dialogue with her brother Tick reminds me of my own siblings. Tick and his wife Caitlyn, who were the protagonists of Hold Onto Me, are also featured prominently in Hearts Awakened.
This book has less mystery than any of the other Hearts of the South books that I’ve read, but the story didn’t need it. Mark has a big secret that he’s kept from everyone except Tick, and when Tori finds out it adds another layer of problems for the couple. Add in Tick’s overbearing attitude about Tori and Mark, Caitlyn’s pregnancy, and a major shocker involving Tick – there is plenty of emotion on the pages.
Hearts Awakened is a deeply emotional story about a couple who have already had to survive some very bad things as individuals. It’s also a story about families, complete with pain in the butt brothers who mean well. The author has a great feel for relationships of all kinds, and her dialogue shows it. Definitely have some tissue handy, but don’t miss out on this one.
(Oh, and props to Ann Cain for the very sexy cover!)
A lifetime ago Mark Cook’s pregnant wife vanished, taking everything and leaving an empty, aching hole in his life. Since then, as penance for his failure as a husband and father, he’s refused to allow himself to live. Refused to lay his sleeping heart on the line for any woman.
Enter Tori Calvert, his best friend’s baby sister. Suddenly, against his will-and against his better judgment-that same damaged heart seems determined to reawaken. And Mark’s not sure he can withstand the pain.
When she was a teenager, a vicious attack ripped away Tori’s very essence as a woman. Finally she feels ready to focus her existence on something other than her job as a rape crisis counselor. And to step outside the shelter of her loving, protective family. She trusts Mark more than any man, yet fear holds her back.
Fear that even the healing light of love may not be enough to banish the shadows of the past.
Read an excerpt.