Detailing how family dynamics, cultural diversity and past relationships shape who we are, debut novelist Hiatt subtly explores the cavern between a successful life and a meaningful one. Kate, a young idealistic American, and Ryoki, a wealthy Japanese businessman both divorced pair up professionally when Ryoki needs an assistant quickly and it just so happens that Kate's teaching position fell through. (Readers learn later that their mutually caring families have a hand in the coincidence.) Their two families deeply respect each other with a long-standing business partnership and friendship, though neither Kate nor Ryoki knows each other. Ryoki reluctantly accepts Kate into his office; he seriously doubts her capabilities and is concerned she'll negatively impact his big project and professional reputation. After all, he demands a grueling pace from his assistant and the responsibilities are enormous. Kate quickly proves that what she lacks in training, she makes up for with brains, intuition and hard work. In the office, she mothers and nags Ryoki for being a workaholic, and her quirks and eccentricities annoy him. Eventually, Ryoki notices that he feels differently when Kate is away. Hiatt uses interesting metaphors and visual descriptions as the love story slowly boils below the surface, though occasionally those unique metaphors are distracting. Ryoki's thoughts a surprising amount of self-doubt and hurt linger under his suit, but like Ryoki, we're never quite sure of Kate's thoughts. The reader and Ryoki want to know more about her, which keeps both pushing forward. He invites her to work for him in Brazil, arranging her quarters in a guest cottage outside his home. Kate wonders why he goes to such pains for a "temporary" assistant and Ryoki wonders why himself. In Sao Paulo, they remain platonic and professional but as intimate as a couple can be without sex. Each secretly cherishes this escape from the life they had been living before Ryoki especially but in their tense, tender connection, he's afraid to act on his emotions until another man threatens to swoop in and take Kate away from him. An exceptional first effort that captures the harmony of two beating hearts. --Kirkus Reviews
Book review: Secrets of the Apple I don't ordinarily write reviews, I just don't have time for it... but if I come across a gem, I just can't seem to help myself. This book is like discovering an Indie band, it's not widely read, in fact it's ranking on Amazon is incredibly low, but I don't believe it's due to a poor book... oh no, I read it and can only say this is the epitome of romance. It's because I just don't think enough people know about this lovely book... so I'm doing my best to help out a fellow author (which I don't even know by the way). I came across the ad on Kindle Deals and was so struck by the simplicity of the cover that I uploaded a sample, and the rest is as they say... history. Secrets of the Apple: Ryoki is comfortable in his custom-built hell, making money with both hands and slashing his path through the world of men. But there s something about Kate, something important dangling just at the edge of his consciousness. She can t read a map, she falls off her heels, and yet she saves his life with a button and a bit of thread. Terrified she s privately plotting to marry him, he studies her with hooded eyes, attempting to discover her secrets for himself. But understanding Kate will challenge everything he thought he knew. If you love Pride and Prejudice, if you love a long and very, very sweet and satisfying romance, than you have to try this. It's only 2.99, well worth the cost of admission. Happy reading, ~Marie --mariehallwrites' blogspot
Not enough words to say how much I loved this book. Paula Hiatt created a story that drew me into wanting to learn so much more about the Japanese and Brazilian cultures and to visit the locations described in her book. As someone who is from two different cultures myself I feel a natural affinity to stories and people who are multiracial. No one really gets the dynamics involved in trying to balance both worlds unless you are a mixed. It is both very rewarding and very difficult to relate to people especially in a minority culture as you are seen as not quite right or one of us but yet you are. Hiatt does a great job of creating the right vibe for Ryoki who tries to live up to higher standards and pressures. The story is also incredibly funny and has a great classic romance. Secrets of the Apple reminded me of a Hepburn or Bacall movie. Obviously I highly recommend buying Hiatt s book and have already added her name to my list of authors I follow, waiting for their next book. I have already bought a copy for the library as I am hoping many others will discover this wonderful author --Goodreads
About the Author
Born in Rexburg, Idaho, Paula Hiatt
has also lived in Utah, Pennsylvania, and California, as well as Brazil and China. She holds a master's degree in English, and when she is not writing, she is reading, traveling, or attending board game conventions with her husband and three children. Secrets of the Apple
is her first novel.