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A Beholden Heart by [M. L. Steinbrunn]
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A Beholden Heart Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Length: 186 pages Word Wise: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews


-The emotionalweight of this story took me by surprise as M.L. Steinbrunn explored love,loss, and what it means to truly live. ~Prisoners of Print

-This is truly aremarkable story that will leave you in awe. ~Amazon Customer

-There are booksthat you read in life and no matter what you will never forever them becausethey has such an impact on your life, heart, or emotions and this is definitelyone of those book. ~Saints and Sinners Books

-Beautifullywritten and deeply developed, this novel spoke to my soul. ~Amazon Customer

Product Details

  • File Size: 1332 KB
  • Print Length: 186 pages
  • Publication Date: January 15, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B019VYG0P4
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #623,827 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have a confession. When I found out ML was putting out a new novel, I was excited. One, because I read her Redemption series and loved it. And two, I'm a YA reader. I did, however, assume I knew exactly the story I would get - high school kids, guy meets girl, a little angst, happily ever after, the end. And that was okay with me.


A Beholden Heart is told from both Gwen and Matt's POV. ML's characters speak in such a way that they give you just enough information to keep you guessing. What is the big secret between Spencer, Matt, and Sam? How can Matt's dad get away with being such a douche? Why do Gwen's parents have issues with Grandma Marnie? The answers to these questions are revealed, but in little bits and pieces that make you speed-read. I think what surprised me most is that A Beholden Heart isn't a high school love story. There's definitely love there, but it's a love of friends. Of family. Of accepting the things you cannot change, but finding a way to make them better.


I loved all the main characters. Spencer and Grandma Marnie are a hoot, Sam is a great friend (although I wanted to shake her a couple of times for shutting down in the info department), and Matt, while still the stereotypical smart athlete, has more depth to him than most male teen protags I've read. Gwen is pretty, smart, and wise beyond her years which normally bothers me, but not here. She has to live with one flaw that she cannot change, and she's been through enough to warrant her behavior and views on life. That said, I did struggle with a few things, such as Matt's dad's sudden 360 in behavior after one confrontation with Marnie and how almost every situation was wrapped up with a bow.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a beautiful and emotional read!

In A Beholden Heart we meet Gwen, who hasn't really lived life, and is entering her senior year of high school. When she starts a new school, and has some freedom to finally live, and not be cooped up in the house, she embraces it fully. She's never really gotten to experience high-school, so her happy go lucky attitude doesn't help her with the cliques at her new school. She instantly befriends Sam, who I adored, and also becomes friends with Matt and Spencer.

Matt is "Mr. Popular" and lives behind the facade that he's happy being the football hero, but he wants so much more out of his life. When he becomes friends with Gwen, she helps him see he can realize his dreams and make himself happy. I loved watching Matt grow in this story and seeing how much he changed from when we first met him.

Sam, Spencer, and Matt were all really good friends growing up, but something happened a long time ago that tore Spence and Matt away from Sam. With the help of Gwen this group of friends find one another again, and the school itself changes because of this spark of life that is Gwen. Her character is beautiful, happy, and always looking for the positive in life. I really loved how she was able to bring peace to a group of people that deserved it after so long.

This book really isn't a love story at all. It's based in high school and is really about finding yourself, being happy, and embracing life to the fullest. Gwen seemed to have changed everyone's life she entered in this book, and I loved her character dearly. I hated that she had the condition that she did, but instead of letting it bring her down, she continued to move forward and decided to be happy.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
4.5 Stars! - M.L. Steinbrunn’s foray into the young adult genre is a shining success. A Beholden Heart was sweet, hopeful, full of life, and incredibly poignant. The emotional weight of this story took me by surprise as M.L. Steinbrunn explored love, loss, and what it means to truly live. While Gwen and Matt were the main focus of the story, this book unquestionably also belonged to Sam and Spencer. These vibrant characters brought A Beholden Heart to life and made this story something truly special. I found myself effortlessly consumed by the world M.L. Steinbrunn has written; mesmerized by the familiar dynamics of life during the high school years and the teenage angst we’ve all experienced. M.L. Steinbrunn took this story in unexpected directions that pulled so many emotions from me, leaving me anxious for the next book in the series.

Gwen is the kind of character you can’t help but instantly love. Her fresh outlook on the world and enthusiasm for life is infectious. Her sheltered upbringing has left her feeling isolated and overlooked so when the opportunity to live like a regular teenager comes along, she jumps at the chance for a taste of normalcy. M.L. Steinbrunn allows readers to see the world anew through the eyes of the naïve and inexperienced Gwen, capturing the forgotten magic of football games, driving around with friends, and falling in love for the first time. As part of the popular crowd and a member of the football team, Matt’s high school experience was very different from Gwen’s but beneath the surface was that familiar feeling of no control. They connect in a way that is tangible to the reader, finding qualities in one another that allow them both to grow.
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