It's my turn on the TLC Book Tour to tell you all about THE HEART BETWEEN US by Lindsay Harrel! Keep reading for the synopsis and my full review...
SYNOPSIS: Megan Jacobs always wished for a different heart. Her entire childhood was spent in and out of hospitals, sitting on the sidelines while her twin sister Crystal played all the sports, got all the guys, and had all the fun. But even a heart transplant three years ago wasn’t enough to propel Megan’s life forward. She’s still working as a library aide in her small Minnesota hometown and living with her parents, dreaming of the adventure she plans to take “once she’s well enough.” Meanwhile, her sister is a successful architect with a handsome husband and the perfect life—or so Megan thinks.
When her heart donor’s parents give Megan their teenage daughter’s journal—complete with an unfulfilled bucket list—Megan connects with the girl she meets between the pages and is inspired to venture out and check off each item. Caleb—a friend from her years in and out of the hospital—reenters her life and pushes her to find the courage to take the leap and begin her journey. She’s thrown for a loop when Crystal offers to join her for reasons of her own, but she welcomes the company and the opportunity to mend their tenuous relationship.
As Megan and Crystal check items off the bucket list, Megan fights the fears that have been instilled in her after a lifetime of illness. She must choose between safety and adventure and learn to embrace the heart she’s been given so that she can finally share it with the people she loves most.
GENRE: Contemporary Fiction, Christian
RATING: ★★★☆☆/ 3 Stars
REVIEW: I liked THE HEART BETWEEN US but didn’t fall head over heels for it. That’s partly personal preference and part overall style, but I’ll get to all that, just keep reading.
THE HEART BETWEEN US has a certain quality to it that reminded me of the Amanda Bynes film “What a Girl Wants”. The stories aren’t necessarily similar, but the vibes just felt the same. The American in a foreign land with strained family ties and sightseeing montages…something about it just made me think that there was definitely a crossover audience in there somewhere. Cross that with a sweet and scenic made-for-TV movie, because that’s what the dialogue reminded me of, and I feel like I’ve pegged down the overall experience of this book.
While this all came together as a perfectly lovely book, it was also a little too on-the-nose for my tastes. Everything was just a bit too perfectly placed and magically coincidental. I think it was the Philosophy student at the Colosseum who suddenly just steered the conversation into a succinctly apropos deep moment with one of our leads that pushed me into that determination. The entire book from then on was too neat and easy.
Now here is where I want to shout, “Don’t let that reign as complete judgment”, because one of my best friend’s loves everything I’ve outlined above. Truly and seriously, once I finished the book, I knew it was something that I would recommend to her because it’s her type of story, from beginning to end. Just like I said at the top, it’s all about personal preference.
I did enjoy the two main characters for the most part. At times Megan was written more like a 20 year old, instead of 32. I know that she’s supposed to have been sheltered because of her illness but it was still a bit OTT. Aside from that, I think this book was actually more about Crystal’s growth. Sure it was Megan’s journey that we were following, but it was really Crystal who was the mystery and had the more compelling story to tell. It was great to see how she evolved from city to city and moment to moment.
There was a lot of travel that the characters had to get through, so it goes fairly quickly. The author bundled most sights and cities into short chapters that had our leads skipping across the globe. It made for a lot of situational storytelling and it kept the book moving forward fast. It could have easily been chapters and chapters of sights and sounds but I think the author edited it down in a very smart way.
I won’t spoil anything but the book wraps up neatly with several messages to take away. Overall, the book was okay but not entirely for me. Still, I know that this book would be the perfect escape for other readers. It’s sweet but also has deep moments, with the added bonus of wanderlust and romances new and old.
*I received a free copy of The Heart Between Us from the publisher to participate in the TLC Book Tour, and provide an honest review.*
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About Lindsay Harrel
Lindsay Harrel is a lifelong book nerd who lives in Arizona with her young family and two golden retrievers in serious need of training. She’s held a variety of writing and editing jobs over the years, and now juggles stay-at-home mommyhood with writing novels. When she’s not writing or chasing after her children, Lindsay enjoys making a fool of herself at Zumba, curling up with anything by Jane Austen, and savoring sour candy one piece at a time. Connect with her at www.LindsayHarrel.com.
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