Heart of Gold by Jeanette Miller
My rating:4.5 of 5 stars
Source: Received from the Publisher to Review
Genre: LDS Contemporary Romance
Book Description: Ashlyn Carter feels as brittle as the lifeless roses that border her new house. A year after the tragic death of her husband, the young widow discovers a horrifying secret. Heartbroken and humiliated, she resolved that no one could ever know. Now, back in her hometown with her three-year-old daughter, she's ready for a fresh start. But Ashlyn is unprepared to find that an embarrassing memory, buried deep in her past, is about to resurface. . .
Ryan Anderson was the last person Ashlyn expected to see. After the unexpected kiss they d shared years earlier, she assumed she'd never see him again. Though she tries to avoid him at all costs, Ashlyn finds herself running into her former flame far more often than she'd like. Between her uncomfortable history with Ryan and the series of well-meaning suitors pursuing her, Ashlyn finds herself disenchanted with dating altogether. Yet as she and Ryan slowly become reacquainted, she feels her resolve to avoid a relationship slipping. But when moving forward with Ryan means revealing the secrets he's worked so hard to keep, will Ashlyn have the courage to leave behind her late husband's legacy of deceit and learn to love again?
My thoughts: The first thing I noticed about the book was the cover. I love it! I immediately fell in love with the skirt and boots. It's a girl thing, I know. I admit that if the cover is appealing, it helps me take a second look at the synopsis.
Ashlyn returns to her California hometown broken. Her husband was killed in a car accident a year ago leaving her with a cute daughter and emotional baggage. Her desire is to create a life with family nearby and without a man.
Little does she know that Ryan has also returned home. There was a brief attraction several years ago, when she was 20 and he was 16, that left her embarrassed and running.
This book was a very fun book to read. I loved the characters. Ashlyn is in an emotionally bad place and it takes awhile for her to warm up to neighbors, family, and men. I loved the persistence of Ryan. He is a genuine nice guy who has great qualities to offer. His interactions with Ashlyn's daughter were some of my favorite scenes of the book.
Ashlyn's emotional healing takes a while. It wasn't overnight, which was realistic to me. The author took her through the process.
My absolute favorite theme of the book was on gold. Finding gold. Looking for the golden attributes of others and keeping them close to you. This theme keeps presenting itself to me in various forms and I was thrilled to have the point reemphasized in a fictional story.
This story contains religious elements from the LDS faith.
About the Author: Jeanette Miller was born in northern California but spent most of her childhood in Guatemala, Puerto Rico, and Costa Rica, where her father worked. She cherishes her experiences of living in Latin America. In her teenage years, she dreamed of becoming a teacher and a published author. Jeanette attended Brigham Young University, where she earned a degree in Elementary Education. After graduating, she taught third grade for four years in the Spanish Immersion program. There, she enjoyed writing and directing plays for her students.
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Personal Note: I recently found this article in the February 2015 New Era Magazine that dealt with true friends and fools gold. I shared it with my family and found that I needed the message as much if not more than they did. It has helped me evaluate my relationships and the inadequacies I feel about not measuring up to some friend expectaions. Here is the link, in case you would like to see why I have fallen in love with the theme of gold nuggets vs. fools gold.