Monday, July 16, 2012

The Heart's Journey by Barbara Cameron (ARC)

I'm not sure if it's just me, but I've been seeing (and reading) a lot more Amish stories recently. It looks like where's there's a paranormal fiction wave, an Amish fiction wave is happening simulateneously (maybe it's because they're such opposites?) But I'm not complaining since I prefer Amish fiction to paranormal fiction (aka paranormal romance).

The Heart's Journey is, at it's core, about domestic abuse. Naomi and John should be happy together, after all, they're engaged to be married. But John has changed to be a suspicious person, and well, Naomi is confused. So, she jumps at the chance to go to Florida with her grandmother and their driver Nick.

Nick, on the other hand, has a crush on Naomi. But, he knows that it's impossible between them, since he's "English" and she's Amish. But still, on the trip to Florida, sparks fly.

So while there is a romance story, there's an underlying story of abuse. It feels like the author did a lot of research, to make things believable. And while the abuse was still in the begining stages, it's easy to picture what might have happened if Naomi and John continue their relationship.

John would have continued using physical and emotional weapons to gain dominence over Naomi.

Noami's self-worth would have sank lower and lower.

And since marriages are forever, there can't be a happy ending.

The author also stresses that abuse is not a uniquely Amish or English problem. It's a problem that happens everywhere. The abuser's can be any kind of person, although you can be sure they're not real Christians. They're people who like power. And the best way to protect yourself is to recognise when things aren't your fault and walk away.

Weaved in with this heavy message is the sweet love story about Naomi and Nick. Nick, in particular, seems almost too good to be true. Throughout the whole novel, he always puts Naomi's feelings first, and he knows how to act within the Amish community. He respects them and their traditions.

There are a host of other supporting characters, and all are well thought out. This book is part of a series, so I didn't have enough background to recognise some characters. And I suspect that's why Anna (one of the supporting characters of this book), felt annoying to me, because I didn't know her backstory.

Another well-written novel.

Disclaimer: I got this book free from NetGalley in exchange for a free and honest review.

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