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This Wandering Heart (Madison River Romance) Mass Market Paperback – May 5, 2020
"Devoted" by Dean Koontz
For the first time in paperback, from Dean Koontz, the master of suspense, comes an epic thriller about a terrifying killer and the singular compassion it will take to defeat him. | Learn more
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"In this debut novel, high school sweethearts are reunited in a tender second-chance story that takes the reader on a journey of self-discovery. Up-and-coming author Janine Rosche deftly uses a dash of humor to balance out weightier issues in This Wandering Heart. Romance readers are sure to fall in love with this adventurous heroine and swoonworthy hero!"—Denise Hunter, bestselling author of the Bluebell Inn series
“A heartwarming novel that embraces all the wondrous elements of romance: love to last a lifetime, family values, loyalty, forgiveness, and second chances. Janine Rosche has crafted an amazing book that will remain in your memory long after you turn the last page.”—Catherine Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Huckleberry Lake
"A tender look at how the wounds of the past impact the present. It delves into spiritual aspects of forgiveness, second chances, and refocusing our priorities on a God-centered view instead of a fear-centered view. The dialogue is fun, the growth is sweet, and the hero...well, he's just absolutely wonderful."--Pepper Basham, author of the Mitchell's Crossroads series and My Heart Belongs in the Blue Ridge
"The characters pulled me deeply into a romance I wanted to happen even as the obstacles seemed insurmountable. This book is perfect for readers who love romances filled with heart and characters you can’t quit rooting for. And traveling vicariously through the heroine? An added bonus in an already heart-warming book."— Cara Putman, award-winning, best-selling author of Delayed Justice and Shadowed by Grace
About the Author
- Item Weight : 5.6 ounces
- Mass Market Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0593100506
- ISBN-13 : 978-0593100509
- Product Dimensions : 4.19 x 0.93 x 6.81 inches
- Publisher : Berkley (May 5, 2020)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #225,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Keira and Robbie's story drew me in immediately, and kept me turning the pages. I love second chance romances, and this tops them all. Keira and Robbie were very relatable characters - both have parts of their pasts they must wrestle with so they can heal and move forward. This book does tackle some very difficult topics (like a learning disability and domestic violence), but does so delicately. I enjoyed seeing the characters work through their pasts so they could heal. There were numerous things that stuck with me in this book, one being, "You've only got so many heartbeats. Use them well." I felt so many different emotions during this book, and will definitely re-read it, probably numerous times.
I've already pre-ordered a paperback copy of This Wandering Heart to add to our church library.
I am a member of the author's launch team, and received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I was not required to submit a positive review at all.
I really liked the characters. Keira Knudsen, as Kat Wanderfull, hides a traumatic childhood while following her dream to travel and explore new places. Robbie Matthews is a fantastic hero...a tender hearted, faithful man raising his adorable daughter Anabelle. This is a moving second chance romance where the grace of forgiveness can make treasured desires come true. And the touching conclusion left me teary eyed, with a thoughtful mind and a happy heart...the best emotions for the end of a book.
This Wandering Heart is the debut contemporary romance for talented author Janine Rosche. Fortunately, there will be other novels in her Madison River Romance series. I’m truly anticipating another visit with these small town characters. Plus I always love afternoon tea, so let’s celebrate at Lady Audra’s Tea Shoppe with Unicorn tea and treats!
“I’ve learned that courage isn’t something we’re born with. It’s a choice.”
“That’s the thing about grace. It’s most appreciated by the ones who deserve it the least.”
So, what do I like so much? First off, the characters are wonderful (or wander-full, perhaps)? Kiera Knudsen is the kind of character I love rooting for, someone who has had a horrible start in life but isn't a victim. I loved the mix of capability and vulnerability with her, as well as the mix of timidity and desire for travel and adventure. The second pairing especially is one you don't see a lot in fiction. A heroine is usually a shrinking violet and a homebody, or an adventurer who's completely extroverted and/or brassy. I also liked how up front Kiera was about how growing up in an abusive home influenced her experiences with men. Most women aren't that honest, in fiction or real life, about stuff like that.
Robbie, too, is a jewel. He's the kind of hero I could easily fall for. He's sensitive, compassionate, and a great dad--I absolutely swooned over the fact he would let Anabelle give him makeovers and play princess games with her. But, he's also as manly as it gets. As a high school student, I was the academic girl who could not care less what the quarterback was doing. But if that quarterback was Robbie Matthews, well, crush alert! I also loved how Janine explored Robbie's dyslexia and how that influenced him for good and bad. Of course, he would've been underestimated because of the disability and that's never right. But I like how his choice to be charitable toward his neighbors was turned into a strength, not just, "Oh, well, of course you do that because you have trouble reading and calculating finances."
The plot line works great, weaving in a sweet romance with some unique threads. I know I said earlier that it can get a little Hallmark-ish, but overall, I liked the cozy feel. Kiera's travels add the unique thread and flavor I was talking about. I enjoyed seeing her work with Robbie, and seeing her get to know Anabelle in different locales than her hometown. Some of the best scenes are when the trio is on the road together, like when Robbie coaxes Kiera to jump on the hotel bed, or they all play Patty Cake Land together and talk with a pregnant woman and her husband. I especially liked that scene because it showed Kiera how protective and solicitous Robbie could be and had always been.
I also enjoyed some of the more serious scenes, because they provide relief from the sweetness without crossing into melodrama. The final scene between Kiera and John, while early in the book, was a favorite because I wasn't expecting him to be that big of a jerk, and rooted for Kiera to dump him flat, which she did (you go, girl)! The same is true for the Denali scenes, and even the scenes where Kiera had to face her father. I absolutely cheered when Kiera and Claire got out, for good, thanks in part to Robbie but also thanks to their own courage.
There are some weak points throughout the book. For instance, Kiera and Robbie are both Christians, but that doesn't get a lot of page time. There's a place where Robbie's introspection shows he could not marry Kiera when they were first together, and it sounds as if that was because she wasn't a Christian at the time. But then it seems like Kiera was a Christian throughout the entire book, including the past. Well, okay, how does a girl from the background she has, come to faith? When? And what's with Robbie deciding not to marry her because the Holy Spirit told him not to? Because yes, absolutely, the Spirit can and does tell us things and we'd do well to listen. But there was no background for that, no buildup, no depth, so it came off as weird.
I found it odd that Kiera and Robbie were alone together so much, and regularly making out, sometimes in hotels, without being married. I get why this would happen, because they have a long history of trust and complex emotions. But if they're Christians, shouldn't they be a little more careful? Not that I'm a prude, because I'm not, but I do appreciate when characters take their faith seriously.
Finally, I felt like the custody dispute subplot was a little thin. I like how it ended up, especially Vivian's redemption (she gets a second chance, but no sugary conversion, thankfully). The problem was, this plot thread would appear, then get dropped for a bit, then appear again. I felt like there were stakes, but they weren't quite taken seriously enough.
All that said, a lot of these issues are personal preferences; I like my reading to go deep, so sometimes I have to reorient myself to a different style. Not that The Wandering Heart is shallow, though. I thoroughly enjoyed it and want more from the series. With just a touch more depth and shading, this book would've been perfect, and as it is, it gets my hearty recommendation.