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Heart Like Mine: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Amy Hatvany
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.73
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Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc

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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

When Kelli dies unexpectedly, she leaves behind two children and a secret. The kids move in with their father, Victor, formerly an every-other-weekend parent, and his brand-new fiancée, Grace. But Grace, compassionate as she is, never wanted to be a mother, and her interactions with grieving 13-year-old Ava are often fraught. Independently and, later, together, the two work to unravel the mystery of Kelli’s troubled youth and the reason for her deep depression (“Kelli didn’t set out to lie about her past. At first, she thought she could just outrun it.”). Narrated alternately by Grace and Ava in the present, with flashbacks to Kelli from age 14 until the day she died, the novel explores myriad themes sure to appeal to fans of women’s fiction: love and loss, parenthood, grief, friendship, and complex family dynamics. The ending, which wraps up as cozily as a 30-minute sitcom, is somewhat unbelievable, but Hatvany’s compassion for each female character is evident throughout, and readers will find their hearts, at times, breaking in three. --Ann Kelley

Review

"Beautiful and deeply moving, Amy Hatvany writes about the tangled web of family in a way that makes you laugh, cry, cheer and ache. This book has so much heart." (Sarah Jio New York Times bestselling author of Blackberry Winter)

"A heartfelt, moving story about the lasting effects of grief amidst family bonds and breakups, and the healing powers of love, honesty, and acceptance. Hatvany writes with such wise compassion for every one of her characters." (Seré Prince Halverson author of The Underside of Joy)

"Heart Like Mine fearlessly explores men and women desperate to measure up to the rigors of parenthood, but still failing their children. Hatvany bring sympathy and compassion to the page, while never losing sight of the damage children suffer when their parents make bad decisions." (Randy Susan Meyers bestselling author of The Murderer's Daughters)

“A palpable love story, emotional search for and acceptance of a lost parent, and a bittersweet ending make for an enveloping, heartfelt read.” (Publishers Weekly)

“There are no storybook perfect endings here, but this compelling novel raises the possibility of a hopeful way forward.” (The Seattle Times)

“Will delight readers…vivid and written with a depth of feeling.” (Library Journal)

“Like a gorgeous dark jewel, Hatvany’s novel explores the tragedy of a mind gone awry, a tangled bond of father and daughter, and the way hope and love sustain us. It does what the best fiction does: it makes us see and experience the world differently.” (Caroline Leavitt New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You)

“I’m telling everyone about Best Kept Secret. It’s the realistic and ultimately hopeful story of Cadence, whose glass of wine at the end of the day becomes two…then…three…then a bottle. I love that Cadence feels so familiar, she could be my neighbor, my friend, or even my sister.” (Jennifer Weiner #1 New York Times bestselling author)

“I was transfixed by Cadence and her heart-wrenching dilemma. The writing is visceral, the problems are real, and there are no clear solutions. You won’t want to put it down.” (Emily Giffin New York Times bestselling author of Where We Belong)

"By turns gripping and revelatory, Heart Like Mine is a sympathetic exploration of blended family dynamics. In her affecting new novel, Amy Hatvany pulls no punches; her characters grapple with life's big moments—marriage, parenthood, death—but she renders each of them with compassion and understanding. Heart Like Mine tells an honest, hopeful story that resonates in all the best ways." (Jillian Medoff bestselling auhtor of I Couldn't Love You More)

“The voices are so down-to-earth and familiar and the events so much like real life that readers will feel like they know the characters…An uplifting and heartwarming experience.”
(Kirkus Reviews)

“The novel explores myriad themes sure to appeal to fans of women’s fiction: love and loss, parenthood, grief, friendship, and complex family dynamics. Hatvany’s compassion for each female character is evident throughout, and readers will find their hearts, at times, breaking in three.” (Booklist)

"An insightful look at the complexities of modern family life." (The Toronto Sun)

“Readers of Amy Hatvany know that in her books, they will encounter stories that are a cut above most popular fiction…There are no easy answers here, but the engaging characters find their own way forward.” (Seattle Times)

Product Details

  • File Size: 2180 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Washington Square Press (March 19, 2013)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008J4E29O
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,695 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
My Review: I have to admit I picked Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany, based on the cover. Amy Hatvany is a new author to me, but one I plan on reading more of. On Sunday, I decided to start my day leisurely with a bit of reading time. I started Heart Like Mine and found it very gripping and ended up finishing the entire book in one day. This is very unlike me as I have a house and family to take care of on the weekends! Heart Like Mine is a story of love, marriage, parenthood and grief. The struggles of a blended family are amplified by the recent death of the children's mother, Kelli.

The story flows very well, even with the transition between times and narrators. What really kept me reading this book was how well the emotions of the characters were developed. The tense relationship between Victor and Grace (stepmom) and the emotional roller coaster of the grief, feeling of betrayal and loss of the teen daughter Ava were spot on. I just wanted to wrap in my arms around the youngest child, Max.
I loved the ending and being able to see how each character came to terms with each other, the past and the future.

My Rating: 4 - I would have lost sleep to finish this book, if I hadn't finished it before bedtime! If you enjoy books by Jodi Picoult or Women's Literature you will LOVE Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany! This is the first book I have read by Amy Hatvany, but it will not be my last.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars follows the lives of three women March 20, 2013
Format:Paperback
Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany follows the lives of three women: Grace McAllister, Ava and Kelli Hansen. Grace is newly engaged to Victor Hansen, divorced father to Ava (and her brother Max) and ex-husband of Kelli. Grace doesn't want children, but finds that after falling in love with Victor that she might be willing to try being a part-time stepparent to his children. Suddenly Victor's ex-wife, Kelli, dies and he and Grace now have full-time responsibility of his two children.

This novel is told through the three different voices of Grace, Kelli, and Ava. Kelli's passages are looking back at her life and answering the questions everyone has about her life. Grace and Ava are both dealing with this new relationship and struggling to determine what their relationship to each other will be - or if they even want one.

I appreciated the three different point of views Hatvany uses to tell the story. She gives the reader real insight into what her characters are thinking and why. Even when you want to tell them that they are making a bad decision or to at least reconsider that choice, it all comes across as very real. This made the book extremely readable. The fact that I was rooting for Grace and talking back to her (in my mind) tells you that I was invested in this novel and her character. I didn't like Victor at all, by the way.

However, there were a few places where the story seemed to lag a bit or the character's choices just didn't make sense to me. My main "What's up with that?" question came when Grace took time off work and seemingly set her career aside way-to-easily to take over picking kids up from school and doing the job of a parent. And Victor expected her to. Hello?
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding! My New Favorite Author List! August 17, 2013
Format:Paperback
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.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars She lost herself June 27, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Man. I really wanted to like this book, because I am so fond of Ms. Hatvany. But seriously, this book made me angry. So this Grace never wanted kids. Became a stepmom of sort, and basically sacrificed her career while the father continued his busy schedule.... He refused to hire a nanny....And she just went along with this? Her cell is ringing during the day, and she's driving carpool.... And her fiance seemed like a jerk. Bizarre. I was disgusted. Sort of reinforced the stereotypes that a mans' work is more important, and an woman's place is in the home. With the children. Even though the beginning of the book was all about how Grace didn't want that life. Not realistic, and not cool.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I thought this was well done and very touching.
Published 5 days ago by Canella E. Henrichs
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book
I have been in that situation before of being a step mom. Most kids don't like step parents at first.
Published 1 month ago by Sherri Ranae Gallegos
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read. I liked getting to know each character
Easy read. I liked getting to know each character. The never did develop the character of the father like it did the women. All in all a good read, nothing too deep.
Published 1 month ago by Elaine Tetreault
5.0 out of 5 stars another one I couldn't put down
This story was told with the depth of someone who had been there. Telling the story from each characters point of view was done with a great deal of thought. Read more
Published 1 month ago by steem
1.0 out of 5 stars well intentioned but boring
Cliche after cliche, well intentioned but boring
Published 1 month ago by Bernadette Deamico
4.0 out of 5 stars well done
I really enjoyed this book! The storyline is interesting and realistic. The character development is well done and the writing style a pleasure to read. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Spatzel
1.0 out of 5 stars Not so great
The story was just okay and the storytelling fell short. I was waiting for more excitement but it never came. Read more
Published 1 month ago by dragonfly
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it!
Published 1 month ago by Laurie Moriwaki
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart like mine
I thought this was a really good book. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something a little different.
Published 2 months ago by sheri henderson
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
it started good but just kind of ended and was a bit disappointing.
Published 2 months ago by remy
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More About the Author

Amy Hatvany graduated with a degree in Sociology only to discover most sociologists are unemployed. Soon followed a variety of jobs - some of which she loved, like decorating wedding cakes; others which she merely tolerated, like receptionist.

In 1998, Amy finally decided to sell her car, quit her job, and take a chance on her passion: writing books. Her background in sociology inspires and informs much of her writing as she tackles timely and controversial issues in her novels including mental illness, domestic abuse, and alcoholism. She is the author of BEST KEPT SECRET, OUTSIDE THE LINES (a Target book club pick in 2012 and a Costco Pennie's Pick in 2013), THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS, and HEART LIKE MINE. Her next novel, SAFE WITH ME, was released March 4, 2014.

Amy lives in Seattle with her husband and children. You can learn more at www.amyhatvany.com.

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