Jackie's Reviews > This Heart of Mine

This Heart of Mine by Brenda Novak
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Sep 24, 2015

it was ok

Another anti-feminist romance from Booklist's Top 10 Romances of 2015. Wrong-side-of-the-tracks Phoenix Fuller has spent the past decade in a half in prison, serving time for running down the girl for whom her former boyfriend, town golden boy Riley Stinson, dumped her when they were teens. Oh, and she was also pregnant with his baby at the time. The novel opens with Phoenix's return to Whiskey Creek, when she's going to meet her son, Jacob, for the first time since giving birth to him. Phoenix has only come back to her hometown to try and connect with her son, and to take care of her psychologically challenged mother, not to try and reconcile with Riley. But of course, since they were both the loves of each others' lives, the two end up being drawn back together.

Because of course Phoenix really didn't do it. Riley's attraction to Phoenix lies in her ability to be self-effacing and grateful for any crumb of kindness, and to demand nothing for herself. And of course, for not being angry or bitter that she had to spend years and years in jail. Some key quotes:

"And with time, he'd managed to forget the incredible chemistry they'd shared, how unassuming and real she could be, how delighted she was with the smallest kindness" (138-39).

"Most people in your situation would have let resentment and bitterness eat them alive. But you've managed to avoid that. As far as I'm concerned, someone like you will win out in the end" (283).

"And you are the most forgiving, unassuming, generous person I've ever met. What man wouldn't be happy with someone like you?" (333)

What man wouldn't be happy with a doormat? Quite a few of my acquaintance, I'd argue.

A book for women who conform to stereotypical gender norms, and who feel like martyrs, and who want to be celebrated for both. Definitely not for me...
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 17, 2015 – Finished Reading
September 24, 2015 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Golfmagic I agree. I really disliked this book. I'm about to post a full review, but I HATED how little she thought of herself, how hard the author had to work to make sure Phoenix NEVER expected ANYTHING for herself--her entire character was built on the adjective "undeserving." HATED her, HATED Riley for being attracted to her. Blech.


Jackie Golfmagic wrote: "I agree. I really disliked this book. I'm about to post a full review, but I HATED how little she thought of herself, how hard the author had to work to make sure Phoenix NEVER expected ANYTHING fo..."

Double blech from me!


Kristina I hated this book too for all your reasons. It was cringe worthy. I even wrote the author and she responded it was about forgiveness and retaining a pure heart...seriously? What a load or crap! She then listed the "awards" she got for the book, yeah alright trying too hard to justify this sexist crap.


Jackie Kristina wrote: "I hated this book too for all your reasons. It was cringe worthy. I even wrote the author and she responded it was about forgiveness and retaining a pure heart...seriously? What a load or crap! She..."

Wow, interesting that you wrote to the author! I think it must be hard for writers to be confronted with the implicit and explicit anti-feminism in their own writing, especially if they consider themselves pro-woman.


Kristina The author's response was sadly predictable and defensive, rather than having an open dialogue about it she was more interested in saying how she'd written 60 books and had received awards blah blah blah. Deflection doesn't work with me.


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