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Heart Like Mine: A Novel

Heart Like Mine: A Novel

Scritto da Amy Hatvany

Narrato da Cassandra Campbell


Heart Like Mine: A Novel

Scritto da Amy Hatvany

Narrato da Cassandra Campbell

valutazioni:
4/5 (41 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
12 ore
Pubblicato:
Mar 19, 2013
ISBN:
9781442361881
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Descrizione

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 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 that 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, hopeful portrait of womanhood, love, and the challenges and joys of family life.
Pubblicato:
Mar 19, 2013
ISBN:
9781442361881
Formato:
Audiolibro

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Disponibile anche come libroLibro

Informazioni sull'autore

Amy Hatvany is the author of nine novels, including It Happens All the Time, Somewhere Out There, and A Casual Encounter. She lives in Seattle, Washington with her family.


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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    An interesting book about families coming together into something new. Grace has dedicated herself to her job at a battered women's shelter, and never had much time for relationships, until she met Victor. Victor owns a restaurant and has custody of his two children on weekends, but doesn't want anymore - which is a relief to Grace, because she's never wanted kids. Kelli, Victor's ex-wife, keeps the kids during the week and desperately needs their affection, and even their help with remembering household chores like paying the bills. When Kelli is found dead, the kids come to live with Victor and Grace full-time, something neither adult is prepared for. On top of that, everyone is trying to figure out how Kelli died, without telling the others what they know. Told from the perspectives of Grace, Ava, and occasionally Kelli herself, this book will make you re-think your views on all things motherhood and family.
  • (4/5)
    Grace McAllister has just become engaged to her boyfriend Victor, and they're planning to tell his children during their weekend visit, when a normal Friday afternoon is disrupted by the shocking news that the children's mother, Victor's ex-wife Kelli, has suddenly died. The couple are now full-time parents to two grieving children, with all the new stresses this introduces, for Victor, for Grace, and for the two children, thirteen-year-old Ava and ten-year-old Ben.

    Grace raised her much younger brother, and has never wanted children of her own. She's not sure she has the ability to be the parent the children need. Victor feels guilty for not having been as involved in his children's lives as he now thinks he should have been, and fears he is more like his father, who left when he was five, than he cares to believe. The cause of Kelli's death isn't altogether clear--she died of heart failure, but the underlying cause may have been an overdose of her anti-anxiety medication.

    We learn that Ava, at thirteen, had been taking on enormous responsibility for taking care of her brother, and helping her mother do basic things like paying the bills. She's been bearing the burden of being the emotionally strong one in her relationship with her mother. Now she's confused and guilty, afraid that her mother died because she didn't tell her father or a teacher what was going on.

    And then, gradually, Ava and Grace separately start to discover that Kelli's past is a mystery. There are no pictures of her after the age of fourteen until she's an adult. She talked a lot about being a cheerleader in high school, and captain of the squad, but the only yearbook she has is her freshman year of high school.

    There's a big, gaping hole in her history. Is that where the explanation for her death lies?

    We get the story in alternating chapters, Grace's viewpoint, Ava's viewpoint, and, in flashbacks, Kelli's viewpoint. It's a beautifully braided story, revealing events from multiple viewpoints, and building up a fuller and fuller understanding of Grace, Ava, and Kelli, and how all their lives have been affected by the decisions of adults around them as they grew, and their own choices flowing from those experiences.

    Highly recommended.
  • (3/5)
    This was just OK to maybe I liked it. It seemed a bit too sappy and chick litty for my taste. (I realize litty is not a word).

    If you are a person that is in to chick lit, then I think that this book will be quite enjoyable for you.
  • (4/5)
    Another book where you want to tell the author to keep a few issues back for next time.Of course, considering all the loose ends, she may want to start a series.
  • (2/5)
    I regret using my monthly audiobook credit for this book. It was an interesting enough story line, but the character development (or lack thereof) could have been written by am adolescent. I will definitely not be taking anything by this author again.
  • (4/5)
    Hang in there, it gets better after the first couple of chapters. I didn’t see that coming about Ava’s Mom.
  • (4/5)
    By: Amy HatvanyPublished By: Washington Square PressAge Recommended: AdultReviewed By: Arlena DeanRating: 4Book Blog For: GMTAReview:"Heart Like Mine" By Amy Hatvany was a wonderfully written story full with mystery, family drama, relationships and death. I enjoyed how the author gave us a story told from three different people. Victor and Kelli are divorced and he is dating Grace. The children Ava and her brother Max live with their mom, Kelli. Now, as the story moves along there will be a death and the children will now live with their dad. Now, will this present a problem for Grace? You will have to keep up with the story because it does jump around quite a bit. This is where I say you must pick up this read to find out what it is all about. Each one of these three ladies will have a story...and what a story it is. The characters were all well developed and normal real people that kept you interested in the read and turning the pages to find out what was coming next. "Heart of Mine" was a rather quick read but it has a 'lots of substance' and would I recommend this book? YES!
  • (4/5)
    Heart Like Mine is a story that revolves around Grace, Kelli, and Ava. Grace is a woman who is not very successful in the dating department. Kelli is the ex wife of Victor Hansen, who Grace is dating. Ava is Kelli and Victor's daughter. The day after Victor tells Kelli about Grace, Kelli is found dead. What follows is an emotional story that grabs at the heartstrings. I found this book easy to read, each chapter told alternately by Grace, Kelli and Ava. As the story goes on we learn the pasts of both Grace and Kelli. Ava is having a hard time dealing with her mother's death and learning to have a relationship with Grace. A story of love, forgiveness and faith in human nature...I enjoyed it.
  • (2/5)
    Maybe this book gets better as it goes along. I'll never know, as I applied the Nancy Pearl rule and quit after about 60 pages. Although I regularly read books that are probably targeted at women readers, I just found the characters in this book seemed like they belonged in an American television soapie...maybe Days of our Lives, or similar. I couldn't relate to them at all, even though the issues were nominally interesting to me. I'm taking a wild guess that it has a pretty happy ending, too.
  • (5/5)
    good read. very similar style to jodi picoult.
  • (5/5)
    I just plain like the way she writes--going from character to character as well as back and forth in time so you see where they come from and how they relate. The ending came a tiny bit abruptly but it was time for the story to come to an end.
  • (5/5)
    Did you really put 5 stars or there is a mistake ?
    No there isn't any mistake :)
    the book was great ! , all the feelings in it are right and true.
    the longing and yearning for her mother's warm hug to the way Grace is thinking are so right it's so close to real life
    how could a one-big mistake destroy a life of a family ?

    we all know and in all culture that it's a big and unforgettable sin that's hardly forgiven and almost impossibly forgotten ..
  • (3/5)
    I really enjoyed this book till the end. I was not satisfied with how it ended.

    I really liked that we heard this story from 3 different people. Victor's ex wife, his daughter and the current women in his life. (don't want to give too much away here)

    We start the story with Victor and Kelli already divorced and Victor dating. Their 2 children live with Kelli and as we read the chapter we learn a lot about Kelli's childhood, her marriage.

    There are not a lot of extra characters in this book - a few 'best friends' make small appearances.
  • (5/5)
    I received this as a goodreads giveaway. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The development of the characters was excellent. They felt true and you end up having
    a lot of empathy for these characters. I highly recommend this book. I will definitely pass this book along to family and friends so they get a chance to read it.
  • (4/5)
    Blurb from the publisher: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.My thoughts : Heart Like Mine, such a simple title, yet...who's heart is like mine? Ava's, the grieving and angry teen? Grace's, the instant "mom", almost wife and struggling career driven woman? Or Kelli's, relating to her daughter's, her hard nosed mother, or her daughter's soon to be step-mom? I started this book thinking I'd have a clear answer when I finished. You know what? It really doesn't matter who the title references. I'm one of those readers who likes to find the truth behind the title. And while my truth may be different from the truth you find? They're both truthful, and both right.Hatvany has created such real people! I know we often hear and read things like that, but I really mean "real". No matter what character is speaking, you know them! They are in your world. I think one of the hardest things for an author, is to accurately speak for different ages and to have it be honest, and most importantly, believable. One of the most honest scenes for me was between Grace and Victor, (her fiance and Ava's dad). They are discussing the incredibility of Kelli's parents not wanting to have anything to do with their daughter and grandchildren. OK, that's a pretty strange thing on its own, but the scene quickly turns to Grace being hurt because her fiance was remembering what traits he liked in his ex-wife, Kelli. Smartly, Hatvany quickly gave Grace the humility and love to realize that Victor, at one time, loved his ex, just as he loves HER now. That Victor is human.Hatvany's Heart Like Mine is scattered FULL of these quiet moments, where the characters are clearly defined, where she wants you to feel for each of them, and when you do? You struggle with the events of this story even more. You're pulled in the direction of the three women, and also pulled by the two main guys, Victor, and his son the adorable, Max. Hatvany has made the women the focus and also the characters who hold and also solve the mysteries. We don't get too much from the males, Victor, Max or Kelli's father. While Victor and Max figure in the stories, we hear little from them, but what little we hear is powerful. Kelli's distant father is around, but her mother's is the voice that we, as readers, have the most interaction with. For me, the author wrote a fast paced and engaging book, you wanted to read faster to keep the pages turning. Her dialogue for all of the characters is spot on and the voices clear in your head as you read. You quickly get to know these people and have no problem at all keeping up with the story, as Hatvany's superb story telling propels you forward.I won't give you too much more, as I don't want to spoil the ride that the author gives you. I give this 4 out of 5 stars, I really enjoyed Heart Like Mine, and recommend it highly. My only little quibble, so to speak, is that it all wrapped up pretty quickly. The ending is believable and satisfying, but it happened oh-so-fast! Now, if that's the only complaint I have? This is one fine book!!Heart Like Mine is in stores and for sale online today!**This e-galley was provided to me, in exchange for an honest review, by the publisher through NetGalley.
  • (3/5)
    Grace McAllister, a 36-year-old career-oriented woman, has not been successful in finding a good possible mate until she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome owner of a restaurant. He, however, is a divorced father of two, and Grace is determined not to have kids in her life. But Victor assures her that, with the children's mother having primary custody, Grace doesn't have anything to worry about, and they become engaged. Less than a week later however, Victor’s first wife Kelli is found dead, and suddenly Grace has a lot more on her plate than she bargained for.The story is told in alternating points of view by Grace, Kelli (via flashbacks), and Ava, Victor’s 13-year-old daughter. From the flashbacks plus some investigative work by Grace and Ava, we find out what happened to Kelli, and how Victor, Grace, Ava, and Max (Ava's younger brother) learn to cope with their jarring new circumstances.Discussion: I thought the stepfamily and adjustment-to-sudden-death dynamics were portrayed rather well by the author, at least until the All Better Now ending. Most of the story was incredibly predictable. Moreover, Victor was annoyingly self-centered, and Grace way too understanding of it. HELLO, Victor: Grace has been put in a WAY harder position than you, and you have practically no concept of it! While the author does show the difficulties faced by Grace, her emphasis is on Grace’s adaptation to the situation and her full (and career-impeding) embrace of “motherhood”, rather than on Victor having any enlightenment. This may be realistic, but it was also quite irritating.Some of Ava’s dialogue didn’t seem very thirteenish to me: “My anger was barbed and bitter in my mouth.” Really?I was also a little put off by the dialogue given to Grace’s gay brother. It seemed a little too evocative of gay stereotypes for me.I did like, however, the advice Grace received from her assistant about what love is:"‘...if I’ve learned anything over the past couple of years, it’s that any fool can learn to talk a good game about how they feel. It takes real strength to show up and prove it.’ She paused. ‘You hear me? You understand what I’m saying? Love is a verb.”Evaluation: Predictable, but not a bad beach read, and one that will especially appeal to those who have been in step-parenting situations.
  • (5/5)
    Wow! Amy Hatvany has just been added to my favorite author list! I love her writing style and cannot wait to start on her other books (I have ordered them all) and will pre-order her new one “Safe with Me – coming 2014 included as a sneak peak at the end of Heart Like Mine (already has me hooked).

    I am so thankful you wrote this book – I could so relate with Grace, as I was in the stepmother role (and it is not an easy task) – it makes you want to run back to your independent life without all the drama. I had two sons of my own and met a man with 3 sons – his all had dyslexia (all five boys from age 7-15) – boy, do you have to be thick skinned – there is always some sort of fighting, manipulating, other mother involved, power struggles, etc…and then to find they all want to come and live with you – it can be very overwhelming at times. It means a lot to have the husband’s support, sometimes Victor was not supporting Grace (so admire her for hanging in there).

    Both Grace and Kelli had similar backgrounds and was unable to live their childhood/teen years as a normal teen; however, Kelli and Grace turned out differently. Kelli was very weak and needy and looked to others to provide her happiness instead of creating her own. Amy did an outstanding job of speaking from Ava, Kelli, and Grace’s perspective and voice-- loved how she seamlessly tied it all together. It was brilliantly written (wish list) – Would love to see sequel in tracking down Kelli’s child, the new relationship between sisters and brothers, and possibly Grace/Victor with a child of their own, and more from Spencer/Melody – (this could fill at least another two books). Hey, I would buy them!

    Highly recommend this book and so look forward to reading more from this author. Her insight into the pitfalls of step parenting are so realistic, as I speak from experience.

    I tend to read the new ones first which hooks me on the author, and then I want to dive into everything they have written. Have read so many great reviews about Amy and lots of praise from my other favorite authors about her work. Great reading!! She speaks to the heart and does not miss a beat.
  • (4/5)
    I was given a free copy of this book to read and give my honest opinion. I loved this story. Its real and its poignant and compelling. The main characters could be your neighbours or your own family. Its a tale of blended families, and the impact of parents choices on their children. This is a must read book.
  • (4/5)
    Heart Like Mine is a story of families, love, loss, grief, and, finally, redemption told from the perspective of three women. These women have only one thing in common - a man named Victor. Kelli, his ex-wife, wants nothing more than to be loved and to be a good mother to their two children. Her untimely death is the catalyst for the story. Grace, his fiancee, is a strong career woman who, despite having a huge well of caring and compassion, has no desire to be a mother. With Kelli's death, she is suddenly forced to take over as full-time caregiver to the two children and is not sure if she can cope or if she wants to. Ava, Victor's thirteen-year-old daughter, is grieving for her dead mother and hates Grace for being alive while Kelli is dead. Although she has been more caretaker to her mother than daughter since the divorce, she had always hoped that her parents would get back together. The story is told in alternate viewpoints by each of the three. Grace and Ava speak in the first-person present while Grace's story is told in the third person with flashbacks to her past. Interestingly,Victor, the tie that binds the three, is absent for most of the story and he has no real voice in the narrative. How we see him depends on how he is perceived by each of the women.The story is about love, grief, and becoming a family but it is also about the power of parents to effect the lives of their children, the importance of friendships, and how even small decisions can change lives. It is beautifully written and, although the switching between alternate viewpoints at times feels like watching someone juggle dangerous objects and fearing that one must drop, author Amy Hatvany never loses control of the novel. The women always remain distinctive voices and the story never loses focus. If, like me, you like stories with strong women and good men, this book is for you.
  • (4/5)
    Grace McAllister is an accomplished woman. She worked in human resources and volunteered for charitable groups before becoming the director of a charitable agency that provides shelter, clothing, and training for victims of domestic violence. She has never had any desire to have children or be a mother and despairs that she'll ever find a man that understands her desire to remain childless. Fortunately she meets Victor Hansen. Victor is a divorced restaurateur with two children from his marriage. He's quite happy allowing his ex-wife to be the primary custodial parent and doesn't really have any desire to have more children. Kelli Hansen is Victor's ex-wife and is needy, dependent upon others for support and emotionally fragile. Ava Hansen is only thirteen years old but she's been forced to grow up quite fast and take over many of the household management responsibilities after her father left. She tries to support her mother as best as she can by helping around the house, watching her younger brother Max and even paying the bills. The lives of these three women intersect because of their relationships with Victor Hansen, but none of them know how the repercussions of one death will affect the survivors.Heart Like Mine is contemporary fiction read that addresses some major issues: what is family, teenage angst over boys, a teenage pregnancy, emotional instability, survivor's guilt, guilt over not wanting to experience motherhood, and more. Ms. Hatvany has taken a number of complex issues and carefully woven them into a story that has drama without being overly dramatic or trite. This story is told in three voices, those of the three primary female characters: Grace, Ava and Kelli. All three stories gradually reveal a tragic past that is adversely impacting the present. The reader is provided glimpses of Kelli's life that hint at depression as well as the idea that her death may have been a suicide. It was heartbreaking to read Ava's story and see her guilt at not being strong enough to see her mother's need for assistance. In many respects Ava had to grow up at age 10 and assume a lot of the responsibilities that her father had before her parents' divorce. Although Ava is angry at her mother leaving her by dying, she never expresses any anger about having had to be the caregiver rather than the child. Grace is able to understand just what Ava is going through to some extent as she had the responsibility of raising her younger brother while her mother worked and her father was just absent. All three ladies are looking for love and acceptance. Unfortunately Kelli was simply unable to provide the acceptance and validation she required. Heart Like Mine isn't a light read since it does deal with some heavy issues but it was a fast read. If you enjoy contemporary fiction and strong female characters, then you'll definitely want to add Heart Like Mine to your reading list.
  • (4/5)
    Sometimes you read a book that affects you in a way that you hadn't excepted. Heart Like Mine is one if those books. The characters are flawed, real and moving. The story takes you back and forth in history through several characters points of view giving you a well balanced and deeply engrossing read! From page one I felt the characters emotions and could relate to all of them in some way. This was a quick and enjoyable read!
  • (4/5)
    Life rarely goes as planned. In my house we are fond of saying "the best laid plans of mice and men..." as we try to roll with whatever life has handed out, good, bad, or indifferent. But sometimes what life hands out is so overwhelming that you just don't know how to get through it other than to put your head down and push even while you second guess yourself and consider running away. In Amy Hatvany's newest novel, Heart Like Mine, Grace McAllister is hit with one of life's huge curveballs and not only she, but every character in the novel, will have to adjust to the unexpected and unwanted for a chance to build a new, very different, but ultimately happy life and family. Director of a non-profit dedicated to getting abused women back on their feet, Grace has never wanted children. She helped raise her younger brother, is a caretaker in her work life, and has never longed for kids of her own. But when she meets and falls in love with good-looking, restauranteur Victor Hansen, she figures that she can be step-mother to his teenaged daughter and young son, especially since the kids live with his ex-wife Kelli. But just days after Grace and Victor get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly and unexpectedly, throwing their future and lives into turmoil. Suddenly, non-maternal Grace is at the center of a ready-made, full-time family and she has to step up to support children grieving the loss of their mother and resentful of her presence or decide that this isn't the life she signed on for and walk away. Victor can't be around for his kids as much as he'd like because the restaurant demands so much of him to stay successful but he and Grace clash over ways to parent his children, especially when Ava pits her father against her soon to be stepmother, adding more tension into an already fraught situation. And Ava, on the cusp of becoming a young woman, resents and needs Grace, alternately pushing her away out of loyalty to Kelli and clinging to her for emotional support and the understanding that only a mother or woman can provide. As they all try to come to an understanding of why Kelli died, long-held secrets from her past start to surface and help to explain more of her character to both Ava and Grace and help them come to an understanding of the person she was. Grace and Ava and Kelli are all the focus of a third person omniscient narrator here; Grace and Ava's perspectives are presented both in the present and the past, filling in their backstories, and in the chapters focused on Kelli, her past is explored. This technique gives the reader a way to know Grace and Ava's histories and see why they react the ways they do to Kelli's death and to understand what was going on in Kelli's head just before she died. Hatvany has done a good job capturing the mercurial grief of a teenager and the ways in which blended families face stressors that intact families can't imagine, especially when complicated by the loss of one parent. Ava is immature and realistic as a budding teenager, filled with rage and grief and confusion, pushing Grace away even as she needs the reassurance that Grace is there for her if she needs her. Grace hersef is floundering in a role she never chose and which has changed her life beyond recognition. She is so caught up in processing the fact that she's been thrust into parenting that she can't recognize the fact that her compassion and caring at work will directly translate to dealing with Ava and Max. Her frustration, hurt, and betrayal in the early days after Kelli's death as she and Victor not only figure out their changed relationship but also how Grace fits into the kids' lives now that they all live together is definitely authentic feeling although perhaps not explored as fully as it might be as the mystery of Kelli's past picks up steam. Heart Like Mine is very much a book about relationships, those we choose and those we don't and about the ways in which we adapt and change our relationships when life warrants. It is a quick read and the main characters are sympathetic and realistic. The mystery behind Kelli's long estrangement from her parents is easily guessed and the resolution between Grace and Ava is too easy and quick given the difficult emotions that preceeded it and the reality of life in a blended family. This accelerated pacing towards the end of the book, as the reason behind Kelli's despair is uncovered and the question of whether or not she took too many pills on purpose is revealed (but only to the reader, not to the characters), is a flaw but not one that will put off most readers. Hatvany tackles current social issues carefully and women's fiction fans will appreciate this tale of motherhood, relationship, family, and loss
  • (5/5)
    Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany please post on or as close to publication date as possible.This book starts out with the day she learns her fiance ex had died and the kids would be his responsibility. Then we learn their history of how they met and dated and became engaged.Grace McAllister works at the womens shelter and was dating with others she met on Match.com til the day Chad was being a jerk and the owner of the Loft saw what had happened and broke in to offer his assistance, Victor Hansen.Max and Ava are the kids and it's been over 3 years since their dad had left. Their mom Kelli works at a restaurant in the city. We hear from Ava's side in this book as well.Kelli also has some chapters and we learn what led to her married life and onward.Very easy to follow the characters but the order of events is all jumbled up-to me. Sometimes you are in the present, sometimes the near past, sometimes the far past.Some things about Kelli they will never know about as they go through photo albums...but there are many clues that some seek and try to solve together..
  • (5/5)
    I read a previous book by this author titled, Best Kept Secret. I enjoyed that book so much, that I definitely wanted to read Heart Like Mine.This was definitely another winner.The books are always easy reading, but just really good plots and likable characters. In this one, Grace finds herself dating a divorced man with 2 children. She really wants to spend her life with Victor, but never wanted children and is not sure she has what it takes to raise them. When Victor's wife, Kelli mysteriously dies, Grace is suddenly forced into a premature motherhood. She also begins to dig up hidden secrets from Kelli's past that could lead to the reason of her death. Meanwhile, Victor's children find it challenging to embrace Grace as the new mother figure in their life. The oldest daughter Ava, also starts to look into her mom's childhood when she is left with unanswered questions.Great writing, a storyline involving hidden secrets, a past life, a mysterious death and the reality of life with step children make this another must read book from an author on my "to-read" list!I received a complimentary copy from Netgalley.
  • (3/5)
    Amy Hatvany’s Heart Like Mine is a moving novel of grief, love and family. When Grace fell in love with Victor she was relieved to learn he didn’t want any more children, content with the fortnightly weekend care arrangement of his children from his previous marriage. But when his ex wife, Kelli, dies suddenly, Grace is forced to make room for his shattered thirteen year old daughter, Ava, and seven year old son, Max in their lives.Heart Like Mine unfolds through the perspectives of Grace and Ava, with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past. I feel the author’s strength lies in her honest portrayal of her characters. They are sympathetic as they struggle with realistic internal conflicts and attempt to cope with their confusion and pain.Grace desperately wants to support Victor and his children in their grief but is unsure of what her role is in the new family dynamic. She is wary of Ava’s hostility, even though she understands the girl’s behaviour and is prepared to make allowances, but it feeds into her own insecurities, especially when Victor fails to back her up. I think Hatvany handled Grace’s conflicting emotions particularly well as a woman who had no desire to become a mother thrust unexpectedly into the role of caring for two grieving children.Ava is shattered by her mother’s death, having essentially become responsible for her mother’s emotional well being for the three years since her dad left, she feels guilty that she couldn’t save her mother. Hatvany captures Ava’s pain and confusion beautifully, her impulsive bursts of hostility and poor judgement are believable as the teen struggles to cope with her loss. Ava’s curiosity about her mother’s hidden past is a way to connect with her now she is gone.It’s difficult to dislike Kelli, despite her weaknesses, when the secret she has kept hidden is revealed through alternating chapters. I could only find pity for a damaged woman that never really grew up and was unable to overcome early tragedy.Hatvany explores the pain of loss and the difficulty of change as the family adjusts to Kelli’s death and their new situation. While I think the author deals with the complex emotions of the characters the novel well, I didn’t feel the plot was predictable and the story failed to offer any unique insight.I think Outside the Lines was a stronger book but Heart Like Mine is a heartfelt, poignant story that is a quick, engaging read.
  • (5/5)
    This was the first book by author, Amy Hatvany, that I read. I was immediately taken in my the characters and found myself not wanting to put the book down. Such an enjoyable read that I am now beginning to read another book by the same author. In order for me to be drawn into a book, I have to 'buy in' to the characters. There has to be a connection. WIth this book, I completely fell in love with the characters. Real life 'people' with real life problems. Definitely worth the read!