☆☆➹⁀☆ 3 stars☆➹⁀☆☆
Heart Stronger, an all-new emotional romance from Rachel Blaufeld is live!
What it’s about:
“Sometimes, I feel like I’m watching a movie . . . that it’s not really me, Claire Richards, getting this second chance at life.”
“Open your eyes, it’s you, and I’m damn glad it’s with me.” ~ Aiken
Single mom and college professor Claire Richards only wanted a few hours of me time to soak in her tub, read a book, and drink wine.
But tragedy struck, and Claire found herself with a lot more me time than she bargained for.
Three years later, Claire is still mourning her losses when Aiken Fordham—who looks young enough to be one of her college students—moves in next door.
Forcing Claire to face her fears, Aiken almost forgets his reason for moving to Small Town, Pennsylvania. Falling for the sexy, smart, and strong professor next door was never in the plan.
But now it is . . . until their future intersects with their pasts.
Heart Stronger by Rachel Blaufeld is about healing and second chances. Both the main characters, Claire and Aiken, need closure to losses, and they aren’t looking for love, but they do find it.
Since the death of her daughter four years ago, Claire has just existed. The once vibrant 36-year-old woman avoids life by overloading her schedule with work. Her loss is heart breaking, and it makes her easy to empathize with her. When 32-year-old Aiken moves in next door, she barely acknowledges him, but Aiken’s patient persistence wears her down. How could she resist his good looks and kindness for so long?
I enjoyed the pace at which their relationship develops but I didn’t buy into Claire’s immature responses (relative to the relationship). She is probably supposed to be seen as gun shy, but it read more like a YA/NA angsty romance. I also struggled with Claire’s histrionics about their age difference since she is only four years older than Aiken.
The story is told in a first-person narrative from both Aiken and Claire’s perspective. The pace is leisurely, and that lends realism to the pace of their relationship. The characters and scenes are adequately developed, but Ms. Blaufeld use of secret keeping to build plot tension and angst didn’t work this time. Heart Stronger is wrapped up with a very quick “about face” change of heart by Claire, but the epilogue is nicely done and provides readers with a satisfying HEA. However, the abrupt cliffhanger leaves much to be desired in terms of being a tantalizing segue to the obviously planned second book. Overall, Heart Stronger is a nice, easy-to-read romance.
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