REVIEW: Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

Published: 12th December 2016

Publisher: Harlequin Mira

Pages: 352

Format: Ebook courtesy of the publisher and Netgalley (have since brought paperback)

RRP: $29.99

4/5 Stars

A compelling rural romance, with a healthy sprinkling of suspense and family drama.

Jasmine Thomas should feel safe in her cosy cottage at Admella Beach after finally putting an end to an ill-advised romance. But her perfect sanctuary is shattered with the arrival of hand-delivered threatening notes. Someone has discovered her secret.

When the notes escalate to vandalism, Jasmine’s anxiety rises. But in such a small place, telling the police would mean the whole town finding out.

Digby Wallace-Jones is stumbling through the motions of life, wrapped in a fog of grief since his fiancee Felicity died. Withdrawn from his family, Digby doesn’t care about anything beyond his loss. But in a chance meeting with Jasmine, his sister’s best friend who he’s known forever, even he can see the tension she carries. Worried and feeling protective, he continues to drop by, but it’s more than that. Jasmine soothes him; and, unlike the rest of his family, he can talk to her about his pain without fear of judgement. But as much as he likes Jasmine, Digby’s enduring love for Felicity means he has nothing left to give and he pushes Jasmine away.

Jasmine knew they were supposed to stay friends ‘with excellent benefits’ but she can’t help her wayward heart from falling for this tortured, kind and sexy man. How can she ever loosen the grip Felicity’s memory has on Digby’s soul and remind him he still has a life ahead of him?

Wayward Heart is the third book in the loosely link Wallace-Jones series. First there was Rocking Horse Hill (Em and Josh’s story) which is alluded to a lot throughout this narrative, then there was The Fall (Teagan and Lucas’ story) and now Wayward Heart (Digby and Jasmine’s story).

I’m just going to start by saying that reading Wayward Heart was like coming home after a long trip away. I loved revisiting the stomping grounds of Rocking Horse Hill and the world these characters inhabit, but most of all I loved opening my arms to all the characters and enveloping them in a massive hug after all the hurts and trials they have been through so far. It felt like opening my arms to family members.

If you are a fan of a meatier romance novel, then Wayward Heart is the perfect book for you! When the book opens it reads much a like a romantic suspense novel as Jasmine is being targeted by unknowns for her affair with a married man. If only the perpetrators knew that she’d ended the affair months ago! If only her problems ended there however. Digby, the brother of Jasmine’s best friend Emily, is broken hearted and at a loss of where to go from here. With Jasmine in similar dire emotional circumstances the pair strike up an unlikely friendship and bond that will test not only their limits, but their own sense of self, right and wrong and the love of their family and friends. With past demons haunting the pairs every move, only time will tell if they are strong enough to overcome their differences and fully embrace life for what it is.

Wayward Heart is an emotional read. it’s a book that will capture your heart and crush it as characters are put to tests that are far bigger than any person should ever face. While it deals a great deal with grief and the process of surviving and withstanding the avalanche of emotions that it losing someone (whether through death, miscommunication and lies) entails, it’s surprisingly not an overly angst-y book, but rather one that offers hope and love in a time of black clouds and a maze of deceit.

What’s more despite the fact that the two leads develop an ‘alternative’ relationship and physical bond early on the book, Wayward Heart reads like a slow burn. Which when you think of it, is nothing short of an impossible feat for Hein to pull off! The chemistry between the pair is hinted at early on, and sizzles away quietly as they try to navigate the emotional land mines left behind. It reaches a physical point early on, and yet it’s the pair learning that love and sustainable and healthy relationships are more than a physical attraction and touch that gently courses through the book until the fiery climax at the end. Through this the characters grow tremendously and you get this sense of whole and peace emitting from the book. It’s kind of amazing.

All in all Wayward Heart is a book with so much going on that it’s kind of hard to describe. A little bit romantic suspense, a little bit emotional and with a whole lot of romance, it’s a book that will capture the readers heart and hold it close long after the last page has been turned. It’s a book about past wrongs and deceits, loss and life and learning to move on and love when the world is but a blanket of grief wrapped tightly around your shoulders. But most of all it’s a story about learning who you are as a person first on your own and then with someone, and learning to love yourself no matter how big or small your mistakes might have been. It’s a story filled with hope and love, and it’s well worth a read.

To purchase a copy of Wayward Heart, visit the following online retailers:

Harlequin Australia | Booktopia | Barnes & Noble | ibooks | Amazon (US) | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld

 

To learn more about Cathryn Hein, visit the following social media sites:

Cathryn Hein’s Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads  | Instagram | Google +

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