- Title: Heart Like Mine
- Author: Amy Hatvany
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Published: March 2013 – Washington Square Press
- Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Synopsis: When a young mother dies under mysterious circumstances, those she leaves behind begin looking for answers in the past—and find a long-buried secret they could have never imagined.
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. (Publisher)
My take: Heart Like Mine is a compelling novel about a family that has gone through divorce and what happens when the mother dies. Amy Hatvany’s characters are completely believable and that made the book an emotional read. The children carry the grief from the loss of their mother as they move in with their father, Victor, and his fiancé, Grace.
Victor and Grace had just become engaged and then Kelli, his ex-wife, died. They were hardly prepared to be parents – in fact they’d agreed they didn’t want to have children together. Victor didn’t want to add to his family and Grace had never wanted to be a mother. That all changed when Kelli died. It was easy to feel the tension between all four of the main characters. Life hadn’t been easy before Kelli died and now it was difficult to move forward. But Grace does her best because she feels badly for the children and she loves Victor. The challenges seemed to stack up as both kids began to act out. That’s when it got really believable and I wondered if Victor and Grace’s relationship would survive.
Heart Like Mine is a story about a family overcoming tragedy to become even stronger moving forward. I liked it. A readers club guide is included at the end.