My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade



About the Book: 
Author: Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Fiction, Christian
Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

The Story: Unhappy with her life as it stands now, thirty-something Kate Donovan decides to travel with her grandmother from their home in Dallas to Redbud Pennsylvania to restore gran’s ancestral home. Following some heartbreaking cases in her work as a social worker, Kate is ready for a break – and she is realizing that despite two “serious” relationships, she is still seeking “Mr. Right.” Is God telling her that there is no one “right” for her? Or did she miss her chance at happy-ever-after?

Matt Jarreau is broken. Once a popular, decorated hockey star, Matt walked away from the spotlight following his wife’s tragic and painful death. Now he is returned from the city lights of New York to his small hometown of Redbud. Working as a contractor, he is a hermit who likes his “space.” That is all about to change. Matt is hired by Beverly to see her family home put back to rights. He quickly realizes that he cannot shake Kate so easily – her bubbly personality is persistent and she doesn’t take silence as an answer to his not wanting to be bothered.

Will Kate’s stubborn heart break Matt’s cynical one? Or will the two of them never realize what they have is more than friendship?

My Thoughts: I am the sort of reader who usually is willing to try a book even if it has an unfamiliar name emblazed across the cover. That was my motivation in taking a keen interest in this novel – I saw the cute cover (that usually is what draws your eye), read the synopsis, and thought, “it sounds good.” Debut author Becky Wade did indeed create a sweet, engaging romance that is not just a romance but also an affectionate piece of writing that blends a fairy-tale (of sorts – not in the “traditional” sense) with realism perfectly. In my humble opinion, there is a fine line in crafting that balance but it seems to be something that I crave in authors – and Wade captures it skillfully.

In more depth, here are the things I loved, and those I wish had been handled differently.

The Pros:
  • The characters; I just loved Wade’s leading couple. By definition, they are “ordinary,” and by that, I mean they are “real.” Both are likable but flawed human beings who we could easily imagine being friends with. Matt’s broken past might remind readers of a favorite literary man. His good looks and brooding manners aren’t all that make us fall in love with him (but it isn’t a hindrance, either *wink*), his protectiveness and eventual redemption are what makes him an admirable, good man. Kate likewise isn’t hard to like. She is quirky but loveable – and is a woman we long to see take her happy ending.
  • Wade is definitely a “fresh” voice in the Christian fiction scene, and overall, I loved her style. The prologue and epilogue were unique to the books I’ve read previously and it was refreshing way to start a novel while creating a different perspective than the typical he/she switch off of the character’s mindset.
  • The pacing is fabulous. I loved what Wade did within these pages – and by that, the characters. For once, I was delighted that an author took care with the budding romance. Although Kate is immediately attracted to Matt, there is no “love at first sight,” instead the characters grow individually and together as friends – nothing more. Their friendship was solid long before they saw themselves as romantic counterparts.
  • The fact that nothing resembling even a hint of a “mystery” enters this novel’s pages was a fabulous “change.” A lot of books that aren’t even categorized as “suspense” usually draw from something that has potential to ruin the happy-ever-after in the last push to the end. This book did not. I am a fan of a good thriller but in novels like this, it rarely works really well. 
The Cons:
  • Most of the book is witty and I love the humor but… periodically – and for lack of a better word, it was bordering on the edge of crude. It isn’t to the point of making the reader drop their jaw at what you are reading in a Christian novel (not by a long shot) but it was… awkward.
  • Kate’s bemoaning of her love life. It is more in the opening and nearer the end when prospects look grim but I grew a bit tired of the moping she did and attitude she had about not being married or in a serious relationship. Perhaps it is “realistic” and girls do ponder it to that extent but I found it… tiresome. Fortunately, it doesn’t linger long. 
When it comes right down to it, cons or not, I was undeniably charmed by this novel; it is a tender, romantic, amusing boy-meets-girl scenario that is, in my humble opinion, all-around one of the best I’ve read in a while – both in its sub-genre and by a debut author. But, I couldn’t help but feel some of the books flaws were unmistakably “awkward.”Few as they may be, the unpleasant bits of the novel made me almost disappointed in the writing because I saw a lot of good and potential in Wade’s writing. The moments that weren’t uplifting or seemed unpleasant to a Christian novel were few and for that, I cannot criticize too much. I appreciated what the author did with the characters, how she “eased” them into a relationship as opposed to defaulting to that “one moment” in which characters, suddenly, inexplicably realize they are (surprise!) actually in love – it has been forever since I felt so happy with a romantic-comedy set in novel form that I could be so enthusiastically pleased with. The hints of realism and probable conversations were only an additional plus that I appreciated having been able to applaud, unlike a series by Karen Kingsbury I recently read, this book had an excellent handle on it. Undeniably, I was happy with the decision to read this sweet-natured paperback, and will be anxiously awaiting any additional titles by Becky Wade: a 4-out-of-5-star read!

Did you or would you read this novel? What were your impressions of this story? Comment below, readers. Find out what fellow reviewers thought about My Stubborn Heart

*Many thanks to the publisher for providing this copy for reviewing purposes 

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Rissi
15 Comments

15 comments:

  1. Thanks for the heads up on the giveaway! And what a great book -- I will definitely add that one to my list.

    xoxo,
    Jessica

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  2. Sure, Jessica! Best of luck with it - I never win anything. =D

    This novel was charming - it was definitely the best debut novel I've read in... forever! Loved it. =)

    Thanks for commenting. =)

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  3. Sounds like a good read to me! I love your reviews!

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  4. This sounds like a good book! I'm definitely going to check it out. PS - to what Karen Kingsbury series did you refer toward the end of your post? I like her stories but I have a few issues with her writing style. So I'm just wondering which series you're thinking of and if we possibly have some of the same issues!

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  5. Brooke - do! It is a great read!

    (Only thing I did forget to mention is, there are a couple of instances of crude dialogue - nothing terrible though.)

    Glad you stopped in! Happy reading!

    Jennifer - it was. I was completely charmed by it. =)

    Thanks - I appreciate that. Enjoy if you read it. =)

    Annie - I thought so. There was something "different" about Becky's style even though there were the typical rom-com cliches that we still love. =) Enjoy!

    Karen Kingsbury: It was actually her most recent, the "Bailey" books. I liked a lot about the series but some things were just TOO realistic for me. Realism in novels is something I crave but not to the extent that Karen writes about it. Plus for whatever reason, Karen seems intent, or "afraid" of letting her characters be... happy! Or that is how it can come across.

    ::Great comments everyone (I love each of them). Any others are most welcome: I am curious fellow, readers, what did you think of this debut novel?

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  6. what a great story. and so relatable to all those stubborn hearts. *mine included.
    might just have to give this a read ;)
    xo TJ

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  7. WOOO!! Such a great giveaway! I entered!

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  8. TJ - it really is! This was one of the best debut novels I ever read! Left me wondering when Becky's second novel would appear. =)

    Enjoy if you read it!

    Meredith - I know, right!? Best of luck in the giveaway and thank you bunches for stopping by. =)

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  9. I adored My Stubborn Heart. Will certainly pass it along and recommend it to others. After reading through several blog reviews, a few bloggers commented on the use of "crude" language. I am honestly confused ... I must've missed this. I don't recall any language or scenarios that were inappropriate or offensive. Can you help me out? I am genuinely interested in understanding this critique of Ms. Wade's debut novel.

    ~Su

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  10. Hello, Su! Thanks for stopping by - I am so glad you did. =)

    I really enjoyed this one, too - it was a very string debut novel. Now all I want to know is... where is Becky's second book!? LOL!

    There is nothing terribly "crude" in the novel but she does use a couple of minor profanities/crudities (p*ss), and there are a few too many anatomy references for my taste. I don't have a problem with most of the content because it is "life" but it just seemed out of place (awkward) most the time, and honestly, it wore a little thin. All in all, that was the only thing keeping me from giving it a five-star rating. =)

    Hope that helped!

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  11. Ah, I see. Thank you for helping to clarify. I understand your point and now the critiques make sense to me.

    And yes, I agree ... I will be waiting anxiously as well for a second release from Becky Wade!

    :-) Susan

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  12. Sure, no problem, Susan. =)

    I already am anxious to read about a 2nd novel by Becky - hopefully she is already hard at work on one. =)

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  13. I LOVE THIS BOOK! I just HAD to share my review FIRST, so that, as you are looking at the book cover, because hey - let's face it, we ALL look at the cover and decide if this is a book we might want to read ;) Let me just tell you guys This is MUST READ! I absolutely fell in love with Kate! She is smart & sensitive, puts people at ease, and is adorably quirky in a good way! She has prayed and prayed for a husband and has yet to find that perfect Man, God has made just for her.

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  14. So did I. =) It was one of the best debut novels I've read in a loooong time. Loved it! Cannot wait for whatever Wade has next. =D

    Thanks bunches for stopping by, Portugal. I hope you do again sometime. =)

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