Thursday, 28 March 2013
Book ~ "Heart Like Mine" (2013) Amy Hatvany
Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?
At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother - she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.
But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances - and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.
Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life.
Grace is 36 and never wanted children. She is living with Victor, who owns a restaurant, is divorced and has two kids (Ava who is 13 and Max who is seven) who live with their mother, Kelli ... they have his kids every second weekend. Victor proposes. As a head's up, Victor lets Kelli know the week before he is going to tell their kids.
Kelli has always regretted asking Victor to leave and as his relationship with Grace got more serious, Kelli got more depressed because she felt no one would ever love her again. As such, she leans a lot on Ava.
When Kelli suddenly dies, everyone's world is flipped upside down. Ava and Max go to live with Victor and Grace. Ava and Max are grieving for their mother. Grace and Victor respectfully hide the news their engagement. Grace is now a full time stepmother, something that was not part of her master plan. Victor has to deal with running his restaurant, having his kids living with him now, and settling Kelli's affairs and packing up her house. Plus did Kelli kill herself or did she die naturally?
This is the first book I've read by this author and I really enjoyed it. I liked the writing style. It is written from the perspectives of Grace, Ava and Kelli ... each chapter is dedicated to one of them (their name is at the beginning of the chapter so you know who's head you are in). When it is written from Grace and Ava's point of voice, it is in the first person; it is written in the third person when it is Kelli's point of view. It was an interesting style and I liked it. Through flashbacks, we discover why Grace, Ava and especially Kelli are the way they are.
I liked the characters. I could relate to Grace ... I've never wanted children for the same reason as Grace. I felt for Kelli given her upbringing. And as frustrating as Ava was at times, she was still just a kid dealing with things the best she could. I found the interactions between Grace, Victor and Ava very honest and what I would imagine would be true-to-life.
I would recommend this book. I look forward to checking out others by this author.