The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Hietzmann - Engrossing Contemporary Fiction at its Finest

Friday, June 28, 2013

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About the Book:
Author: Kristen Heitzmann
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2012
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance, Inspirational, Suspense
Find the R E V I E W Elsewhere:

Amazon ǀ Goodreads ǀ Wordpress
E L S E W H E R E:
Amazon ǀ Goodreads
Rating: ★★★★ ½ 

There is a delicate narrative required in every love story. If an author wants to up the romantic tension, there is a fine line in writing something that will stir our senses and emotions in all the right ways vs. something that may read as if love has been sugarcoated. 

Branded as a romance, in The Breath of Dawn, Kristen Heitzmann looks beyond this, and digs deeper into the (messy) meaning of love and life. She doesn’t just stop with the love story – which is exceptionally beautiful, she challenges the characters, placing them in situations that don't fall under the purview of being “safe.” Nothing this book does plays it safe – and it’s the lack of a haven that brings light to the book. 

Already a familiar character to fans, Morgan Spencer is again at the center of the story, only this time he is a single father whose life soon becomes entangled with that of Quinn Riley. Two strangers who form an unusual bond in one of the most unexpected fictional romances I have read.  

I am a sucker for love stories that truly cherishes love within marriage. Few authors give this satisfaction since most books end long before the “I Do’s” are vows are exchanges, which displays a “prettier” frame of love. That’s not to say that the first blush of love isn’t equally compelling and endearing in its getting-to-know stages, rather when fiction imitates life, there is a respect for a story that looks beyond the surface of being “adequate.” Both Morgan and Quinn are fragile after being knocked around by life. One never fully mourned the loss of a person he partnered with more out of a shared past than hope for a new future, the other is running from a cult background that should have controlled the idea they had of God. The vulnerabilities these characters carry around make them more insightful as we wish the best for their benefit, holding onto a hope each will come to a fuller, more satisfying relationship – both with their families and with God.

If all my years reading have taught me anything, it would be this – don’t judge a book by its cover, whether that’s literal (the design) or literary (the synopsis). Reading anything by this author gave me a sense of skepticism as my mother had an on/off feeling about Kristen’s novels and since usually, we share the same (general) opinion, these books never appealed to my literary sensibilities. Now, am I ever delighted to have discovered this author! What a book. Knowing where to begin organizing my thoughts befuddled me because this book is beautiful. It’s not all about fairytale leanings or staged before an opulent setting, rather it’s the skill and consideration that Kristen writes the book, giving us a story that leaves us breathless for what’s around the bend – and contrary to popular belief, it isn’t all because of pulse-pounding danger. The Breath of Dawn lays bare the soul of these characters, whether in the romantic connotations or in the trials they push through, every principle has a purpose – each one is presented to make them better. Not just likable, truly, sincerely better as people. 
There is one minor plot I found to be more “nuisance” than substance involving a woman searching for her father and Quinn befriending her. It ties into the history of Quinn’s home yet still seemed “tacked on” as if the author should have fleshed out a plot already taking up residence in the plot.  

Irrespective of its genre, don’t mistake the branding of this novel – it’s more than a romance! The excitement is present in each thread – it’s either the heart-tugging romance that gets our pulses racing (but never goes “too far”) or the moments Morgan slowly begins to live again, each is represented with care and enough “tease” to leave us wishing for more. A slow start doesn’t (in the end) deter from the book. All praise aside, this isn’t a book for everyone. The presence of a cult (in someone’s past) may be a turn-off to many readers; it only enhanced the experience because the topic is handled surprisingly well for something that’s taboo in Christian fiction.  

Heitzmann grips readers with this expressive story of love and loss, and the grace that heals all. Both subjects build off of each other, putting together a first-class narrative. It’s a beautiful book that’s got “everything,” which Kristen weaves together masterfully. It’s the sort of story, any reader is sorry to close the last page on. ♥

Synopsis: Morgan Spencer has had just about all he can take of life. Following the tragic death of his wife, Jill, he retreats to his brother's Rocky Mountain ranch to heal and focus on the care of his infant daughter, Olivia. Two years later, Morgan begins to make plans to- return to his home in Santa Barbara to pick up the pieces of his life and career. 

Quinn Riley has been avoiding her past for four years. Standing up for the truth has forced her into a life of fear and isolation. After a "chance" first meeting and a Thanksgiving snowstorm, Quinn is drawn into the Spencer family's warm and loving world, and she begins to believe she might find freedom in their friendship. But then the man Quinn put behind bars is released and she's afraid for everyone around her. Can she face her greatest fear or flee to find safety in anonymity? - Goodreads

With thanks to the INSPYs and publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes


  1. Hey Rissi ~ fabulous review, my friend. I agree with all you said. I can't believe you haven't read much of Kristen's novels. I have them all and have loved them all, except one. Twilight never grabbed me but everything else has. At a push, Freefall is probably my favourite - you have some great reading ahead of you!

    1. Neither can I, Rel! It's just... a travesty! The only one I won't be likely to read is Morgan's first story because, well, I won't enjoy reading about something that eventually ends in tragedy. Other than that, I am curious about more of Kristen's books. :)

      Just looked up Freefall - now I am curious! Thanks for the recommendation. Now for sure it's going on my list! :)

      Always glad to see you stopping by. Thanks!

  2. I wanted to read this one when it first came out but with no luck. After reading your review I'm going to have to track down a copy! (Or just try to win it by entering your giveaway.... ;D)

    1. This wasn't one I ever looked into, Rosie - now I am SO pleased that I had opportunity to read it. Certainly, it was a unique read that creatively weaves a bit of EVERY genre into the plot; romance, suspense, Christianity. Very entertaining.

      Well... I am rooting right along with you to win this in the giveaway! :)


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