Paper Hearts

Paper HeartsPaper Hearts by Courtney Walsh
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Tyndale Publishing on December 18, 2014
Pages: 416

 

Abigail Pressman’s dream is to expand Book Nook, the beloved store she inherited from her father. In Love’s Park, a town obsessed with love and all things romantic, being single is an anomaly, so her dreams for her store are her salvation. When the owner of the building sells the entire space to a doctor new to town, she fears her dream will never come to fruition. In a secret match-making scheme, the Valentine Volunteers, the ladies who keep the tradition of stamping mail with the city’s postmark, attempt to pull Abigail into their fold. Despite herself, Abigail is drawn to the stringed paper hearts that she discovers among the Volunteers letters, even as she is drawn to the handsome doctor next door. This doctor doesn’t match the “dream-killer” she wanted to picture in her mind, and Abigail begins questions if her dream is her dream at all or just a crutch to stop her from reaching for what she really wants. A new string of paper hearts appears, leading Abigail to believe that something tragic happened to the couple who wrote them. As she uncovers more of the mystery couple’s story, Abigail fears that it will confirm her worst doubts about love, or even scarier, set her life on a path to a new dream entirely.

I loved the setting. The town almost felt like a character in and of itself and was so well-established on the outset of the story.

Paper Hearts is a charming story. Walsh’s writing flows really well from scene to scene, and I loved the setting. The town almost felt like a character in and of itself and was so well-established on the outset of the story. I loved the small-town, everyone-know-everyone vibe that stayed through the entire story. I really related to Abigail’s character, and I think most readers out there will. Not only is she a reader herself, she is artsy and quirky – someone I’d love to meet in real life. I could easily understand and empathize with her frustrations about the dreams for her store, and I wanted to see her succeed despite the obstacles she was facing.

Personally, I cared more about her personal struggles than the romantic aspect of the book, which may not have been the intention. While I found Jacob, the male lead, to be a genuine, empathetic character, I couldn’t entirely get behind their relationship. For me, it was hard to come to terms with the way it progressed; they were supposed to be enemies, yet they were falling for one another. There were times that it just didn’t work for me. When the conflict didn’t center on the external conflict keeping them apart, but rather their internal conflicts, I enjoyed the story more. They were more solid characters apart than they were together, and for romantic reads, I want the couple to be complete as individuals, but also believable as a couple. Even so, the later scenes between them are sweet, but not in a syrupy way at all. My heart was definitely smiling at those scenes.

There are also some strange shifts in point of view into the Valentine Volunteer meetings that some readers might find a bit jarring at first, simply because they are unexpected. The characters that comprise the Valentine Volunteers are actually quite humorous. The mixture of newly married, middle-aged and elderly “bah-humbug” ladies made for a funny combination, and once I realized that those shifts were coming, I fell into them easily.

The spiritual element is woven throughout the story in a natural way

The spiritual element is woven throughout the story in a natural way, and I could really relate to the idea that sometimes prayers are answered in ways you never expected, sometimes in ways that you had never thought to pray. I found myself rooting for both Abigail and Jacob to shed their past and give God control of their futures.

I definitely feel that Paper Hearts will be a hit for readers whose favorite genre is contemporary romance.

I definitely feel that Paper Hearts will be a hit for readers whose favorite genre is contemporary romance. Despite my few qualms about the story, the authentic setting and quirky cast of characters won me over. There is a lot of appeal here to recommend it to fans of this genre.

Favorite quote: “…the very best love stories are the ones that are flawed and full of forgiveness and pain and joy and challenges and happiness. All these things make up a love story, Abigail.”

 

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