Review: Heart Like Mine by Amy Hatvany

Title: Heart Like Mine

Author: Amy Hatvany

Published: Washington Square Press March 2013

Listen to an Excerpt

Status: Read from March 19 to 20, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy Netgalley/Simon and Schuster}

My Thoughts:

Amy Hatvany’s Heart Like Mine is a moving novel of grief, love and family. When Grace fell in love with Victor she was relieved to learn he didn’t want any more children, content with the fortnightly weekend care arrangement of his children from his previous marriage. But when his ex wife, Kelli, dies suddenly, Grace is forced to make room for his shattered thirteen year old daughter, Ava, and seven year old son, Max in their lives.

Heart Like Mine unfolds through the perspectives of Grace and Ava, with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past. I feel the author’s strength lies in her honest portrayal of her characters. They are sympathetic as they struggle with realistic internal conflicts and attempt to cope with their confusion and pain.

Grace desperately wants to support Victor and his children in their grief but is unsure of what her role is in the new family dynamic. She is wary of Ava’s hostility, even though she understands the girl’s behaviour and is prepared to make allowances, but it feeds into her own insecurities, especially when Victor fails to back her up. I think Hatvany handled Grace’s conflicting emotions particularly well as a woman who had no desire to become a mother thrust unexpectedly into the role of caring for two grieving children.

Ava is shattered by her mother’s death, having essentially become responsible for her mother’s emotional well being for the three years since her dad left, she feels guilty that she couldn’t save her mother. Hatvany captures Ava’s pain and confusion beautifully, her impulsive bursts of hostility and poor judgement are believable as the teen struggles to cope with her loss. Ava’s curiosity about her mother’s hidden past is a way to connect with her now she is gone.

It’s difficult to dislike Kelli, despite her weaknesses, when the secret she has kept hidden is revealed through alternating chapters. I could only find pity for a damaged woman that never really grew up and was unable to overcome early tragedy.

Hatvany explores the pain of loss and the difficulty of change as the family adjusts to Kelli’s death and their new situation. While I think the author deals with the complex emotions of the characters the novel well, I didn’t feel the plot was predictable and the story failed to offer any unique insight.

I think Outside the Lines was a stronger book but Heart Like Mine is a heartfelt, poignant story that is a quick, engaging read.

Available to Purchase

via Booko

@Simon and Schuster@AmazonUS I @BookDepository

5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. laurelrainsnow
    Mar 21, 2013 @ 00:12:53

    I just got this one yesterday, and I can’t wait to read it. I love Hatvany’s characterizations and how she portrays the family dynamics. Thanks for your review!

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  2. Laura Fabiani
    Mar 21, 2013 @ 00:18:00

    I have this one too and can’t wait to read it. Great review!

    Like

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  3. Patty
    Mar 21, 2013 @ 06:43:21

    I just got this yesterday, too…can’t wait to get to it! Very lovely review!

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  4. Melinda
    Mar 22, 2013 @ 04:29:23

    I loved reading your review. This book sounds lovely. I haven’t read any novel in a while that deals with grief.

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    Reply

  5. Teddyree
    Mar 25, 2013 @ 11:32:48

    Great review, I have to agree I think Outside the Lines and Best Kept Secret were stronger books but I enjoyed this one too, Amy does ‘feelings’ and family dynamics so realistically.

    Like

    Reply

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