Title: Heart Like Mine
Author: Amy Hatvany
Release Date: March 19, 2013
Publisher: Washington Square Press
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Grace McAllister accepted that children weren’t going to be a part of her life. After all, she never longed for them the way that most women did. So it’s a shock when she meets Victor, the man of her dreams, and discovers he has two children, Ava and Max. Adjusting to being a part-time parent isn’t easy, especially because Grace doesn’t really know her role with the kids as Victor’s girlfriend. But when their unstable mother, Kelli, dies unexpectedly, Grace has to step into the role of mother and full-time caregiver to two children she barely knows.
Heart Like Mine is a contemplative novel about three very different women: Grace, Ava, and Victor’s ex-wife, Kelli. Grace is a strong, confident woman who has her life planned out before her. Discovering that Victor had children wasn’t exactly a pleasant revelation, but she’s settled into the role of pseudo-stepmom well. All that changes after Kelli’s death, and what makes things even more difficult is that she doesn’t have a lot of help from Victor. He’s so busy at work that it falls to Grace to take care of the kids, but because she has no idea what her role is with them and Victor hasn’t taken the time to establish that, it makes things very difficult for Grace. Readers will sympathize with her from the beginning, as she makes her way through an impossible situation with little support.
Ava is definitely a difficult character in Heart Like Mine, so it’s nice that the reader gets to see what she’s thinking as well, rather than just seeing her from Grace’s point of view. She’s a teenage girl who not only has witnessed the break-up of her parents’ marriage, but has taken over the role of caregiver in her own home because her mother has sunk so deep into depression. It’s a lot for a teenage girl to handle, so it’s easy to see why Ava acts out at Grace.
Finally, there’s Kelli, and it’s nice to understand her past because she has a sad one, to be sure. However, this also means there is a lot of narration jumping between past and present, and among narrators. It doesn’t make for the smoothest read. That being said, the mystery behind Kelli’s death makes for much of the driving force behind the novel, so it’s interesting to see how everything comes together at the end.
If you’re looking for a compassionate women’s fiction read with strong characters, especially one that deals with difficult issues, Amy Hatvany is always a great choice. She deals with difficult issues and the messy realities of life, refusing to provide easy answers for the reader. This novel would make a great book club read, as it’s an effortless read but also a thought-provoking one.
Other books by Amy Hatvany: