Author: Luna Jensen
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: Maria Fanning
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Mason returns to Sweet Valley, Montana, with nothing but a backpack full of rejections. After nearly a decade in the big city experiencing the highest highs and lowest lows, his heart and spirit are shattered. Fire robbed him of cooking—the only thing he’s good at—and now he’s out of options.
Thrust into instant fatherhood, Dean struggles to find a balance between getting to know his young son and building his business. Meeting Mason again after many years apart just adds another element to the juggling act. Dean’s vision for his ranch give them a chance to work together—to find each other and to heal—but it’s no easy feat for a grief-stricken little boy, an overwhelmed loner used to focusing only on his work, and an insecure chef. Can they find the path to healing and happiness?
Mason and Dean were teenage lovers. They were separated for years after their homophobic families meddled in their lives. Letting Hearts Heal is the story of their reunion and second chance at love.
Honestly, I am not sure how I feel about this one. It had potential. It had a bit of mystery surrounding Mason and Dean’s son, Wyatt. It had some character development where Mason was concerned. I was never bored, and wanted to know how things would progress.
However, there were a bunch of things I struggled with. First, there was Wyatt and the way he was described. I could really see him and his behaviors clearly. I loved his pea addiction and the way he unfailingly ate them one at a time. But, I wonder how much of his “too well behaved for a real child” and “too well spoken for a child that age” mannerisms were because the author just wanted him to be there but not be in the way? Or how much was due to the fact that the child had gone through a trauma and the cautious and perfect behavior was a side effect of that? It was hinted at, but was never really made clear.
Also, Dean remained a mystery to me. We were not really given much of his history other than the few facts pertinent to the story. His motivations were not clear and as such I felt Dean was not a fully developed character. I liked him, but did not really understand why he seemed to just accept things so easily. I also struggled to understand how Dean had enough money to fund a full service ranch, open a small business (that I assume was successful), increase hiring, buy additional livestock, raise an up-until-now unknown child. This would have been included in his history, I guess, but I was constantly curious about his ability to throw around money without a thought.
I also struggled with the overall consistency of the novel. Often I felt like the timeline did not match with the words. The author would have the character make introspective statements indicating that great development had happened after some time spent struggling. I would get the impression weeks must have passed and this was the author’s way of letting the reader know that fact. But then the actual timeline of the book would be revealed and only a day or night had passed. It was almost as if the author wanted to make this story feel rich and developed but struggled on how to accomplish that. The end result felt rushed and artfully manufactured to achieve some planned path of completion.
I struggled the most with Mason and his emotions and growth. He started out as this really likable character. He was charming and there were hints that he had some issues to work through. The author slowly revealed the details of Mason’s time away and as the story progressed, Mason grew and his thoughts and motivations were made clear. I had a good feel for him as a person. But then, he went over the top and threw this horrendous temper tantrum. For me, it felt like a huge over reaction to the situation and Mason turned into this whiny “poor woe is me” character. He became a completely different person. He could no longer function, he pushed everyone away, he started questioning and over analyzing everything. I didn’t like him anymore and honestly, I started skimming to just get this story over with.
In the end, the author manufactured the perfect scenario to push Mason into this instant moment of clarity. Mason became the hero and Mason turned back into the man he was at the start. A man who understands that dealing with an issue has to blend with the rest of life. It was too easy. Like the author had a path for this story mapped out, but didn’t quite know how to execute the journey. The ending was all happy and wrapped up neatly, but for the life of me, I could not figure out why. I am still working through the back and forth and up and down and randomness of the path these men took to their HEA. I guess some folks will enjoy this one. It was two damaged men getting a second chance at love. It has a really adorable 4 year old who acts like a little adult. It has the token glimpses of the past and the periods of character introspection and growth. For me though, it needs something more to tie it all together and make it work.
I would like to thank the publisher for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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