Release Date: February 27th, 2011
More Info: Amazon All Romance
On a secluded beach in North Carolina, three lonely people find hope in each other.
Trish Evers is an artist and single mother, who has inherited her grandmother's Bed and Breakfast in a North Carolina coastal town. Though she must sell the house, she decides to bring her daughter to the beach for one last summer vacation in her childhood town.
Bella is a six-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. Rejected by her father, Trish, is the only parent she's ever known. Bella likes to explore the beach and has a tendency to wander off. One day, Bella goes exploring on her own, and Trish finds her in the company of an intriguing stranger.
Dan Conway is a U.S. Marine, who had been born into a family of Marines. Now blind as a result of combat injuries and unable to "suit up," he feels he no longer has a purpose in life. He's come home to the beach, where he spends his days in solitude. Dan must learn to believe in himself and to love life again, which he begins to do through his interactions with Bella and Trish. When a hurricane strikes, and Bella wanders off again, her only hope for rescue is Dan.
Working within the confines of his blindness, he must overcome his fear of failure and recall his training in order to search for the little girl and bring her to safety.
I was uncertain about this book when I started it. Although I had agreed to review it when the author asked, a part of me worried that I would find it too sweet or mushy. I didn't realize, until after I read it, that the publisher (who also put out another book I reviewed, "The Perfect Rose") specializes in non-erotic, wholesome romances. Still, I tried to go into it with an open mind. I'm glad that I took the chance.
"Heartsight" is sweet, and definitely plays to your emotions but it's also nicely written and enjoyable. I quickly got into it and was caught up in the story. I did get frustrated at the continual will we/won't we have sex. The back and forth, and constant pushing away of each other got old really fast. I am perfectly ok with a sex-free romance but there are ways to write it that aren't so annoying, in my opinion.
That said, Springsteen did a nice job of fleshing out most of the characters and making them real. Bella's biological father, Gary, felt cliched to me - rich, controlling, emotionally and verbally abusive, etc., too much the bad guy with no redeeming qualities. He perfectly fits the role of the bad guy in the story and is easy to dislike. I wish Springsteen had fleshed him out more, made him less stereotypical. One thing that rang very true though was his rejection of Bella and that he and her mother got divorced, in part, due to her condition. Sadly, both of those scenarios are all too common in real life. A child with serious health issues or who is not "normal" (and I seem to be reading a ton of book lately with characters who make you question what is "normal") often leads to one parent rejecting the child, or to stress which leads to divorce, or both.
Bella, her mother Trish, and Dan are all pleasant people who feel like they could be your next door neighbor or a co-worker. The romance was sweet, and the story doesn't downplay the difficulties in becoming blind, being a single parent, or having Down's Syndrome but neither does it romanticize them.
If you are in the mood for a sweet, contemporary romance, give this a try.
The author provided a PDF for review.