All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Wayward Heart by Cathryn Hein

on December 19, 2016

wayward-heartWayward Heart
Cathryn Hein
Harlequin MIRA AUS
2016, 352p
Copy courtesy of the publisher via NetGalley

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

A compelling rural romance, with a healthy sprinkling of suspense and family drama.

Jasmine Thomas should feel safe in her cosy cottage at Admella Beach after finally putting an end to an ill-advised romance. But her perfect sanctuary is shattered with the arrival of hand-delivered threatening notes. Someone has discovered her secret.

When the notes escalate to vandalism, Jasmine’s anxiety rises. But in such a small place, telling the police would mean the whole town finding out.

Digby Wallace-Jones is stumbling through the motions of life, wrapped in a fog of grief since his fiancee Felicity died. Withdrawn from his family, Digby doesn’t care about anything beyond his loss. But in a chance meeting with Jasmine, his sister’s best friend who he’s known forever, even he can see the tension she carries. Worried and feeling protective, he continues to drop by, but it’s more than that. Jasmine soothes him; and, unlike the rest of his family, he can talk to her about his pain without fear of judgement. But as much as he likes Jasmine, Digby’s enduring love for Felicity means he has nothing left to give and he pushes Jasmine away.

Jasmine knew they were supposed to stay friends ‘with excellent benefits’ but she can’t help her wayward heart from falling for this tortured, kind and sexy man. How can she ever loosen the grip Felicity’s memory has on Digby’s soul and remind him he still has a life ahead of him?

This is the third in a set of books linked together by the Wallace-Jones family. In the first, Digby’s sister Em found her happy ever after. The second featured Emily’s friend Tegan and now this book showcases Em and Tegan’s friend Jasmine as well as Emily’s brother, who has suffered terribly. The foundations for Jasmine were laid in that first book as well as readers learned she was involved in a particular relationship, something that caused tension in her friendship with Tegan. I was interested in Jasmine’s story, because I wanted to find out her motivation for her part in the relationship and how she came to move on from it.

When this book begins, Jasmine has ended that toxic relationship and is suffering from some of the fallout. It seems unfair that someone has discovered her secret after everything is finished and they’re making her life a misery invading her privacy and leaving threatening messages. She doesn’t feel as though she can file a complaint because then the whole sordid story would come out, something she couldn’t bear.

Digby is a mess. It’s been about a year since his fiancee Felicity died in a terrible accident on a family property and he’s deep in depression and grief, to the point where some of his family are incredibly worried about him. He’s also struggling with how he feels about the role his sister Em played in the events that led to Felicity’s death as well and chooses to isolate himself from his family. As Jasmine is a lifelong friend of Em’s, he knows her well and a meeting in a park one day leads to the two of them beginning to spend some time together to just watch dvd’s and hang out. Digby doesn’t feel pressured to behave in a certain way when he’s with Jasmine and she in turn enjoys an easy, judgement free companionship. Their friendship escalates into the type with benefits, both of them filling a space for the other.

But things always get complicated and Jasmine knows she has developed feelings for a man whose heart belongs to someone else. Even though Digby has begun to find a little peace and happiness in his moments with Jasmine, he’s still tormented by Felicity’s loss. Digby’s grief is a very large part of this book. It consumes him and so does his conflicting feelings for his sister Em. It’s almost like Digby has a bit of post traumatic stress disorder. He finds being around people, even (especially) his own family difficult. He hasn’t really been able to come to terms with what happened and I think he’s twisted bits of it around in his mind to make his guilt even bigger. I had a lot of sympathy for Digby, because I think to go through something like that and the way in which it happened, would be terrible of course. But my sympathy began to wane around the time that he ended things with Jasmine for “her own good”. Digby was a bit slow in realising that what the two of them had was much more than a friends with benefits situation. It had morphed into a relationship between two people that knew each other well, cared about each other. But Digby was stuck in this rut where he didn’t believe he could ever move on or deserve happiness with someone else. He needed to do something to be able to finally let go of Felicity and look to the future….and hope that it wasn’t too late.

I think that Wayward Heart was a nice addition to these linked books and I loved that we got to see previous characters again. I’m always a big fan of revisiting past couples to see how they’re getting on and I think fans of Josh and Em, Lucas and Tegan and even Harry and Summer will be pleased here. Jasmine was a really interesting character….I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about her going into the book, given some of the decisions she’d made but I felt her strength and growth over the course of the novel was perhaps its strongest feature. She’s exactly the sort of woman Digby needs, especially after what happened with Felicity. She’s very understanding of Digby’s pain and seems to make a lot of effort into really trying to make him happy without freaking him out about her developing feelings. Digby is more a typical dense male who doesn’t seem to realise that his feelings have also evolved as well until quite a bit later.

A sweet summer read from an author who always delivers.

8/10

Book #210 of 2016

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