Where Two Hearts Meet

Where Two Hearts MeetWhere Two Hearts Meet by Liz Johnson
Series: Prince Edward Island Dreams #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Revell on October 18, 2016
Pages: 368
Also in this series: The Red Door Inn
Also by this author: The Red Door Inn

 

Publisher’s Summary:

In her kitchen at the Red Door Inn, executive chef Caden Holt is calm, collected, and competent. But when her boss asks her to show off their beautiful island to impress a visiting travel writer and save the inn, Caden is forced to face a world much bigger than her kitchen–and a man who makes her wish she was beautiful.

Journalist Adam Jacobs is on a forced sabbatical on Prince Edward Island. He’s also on assignment to uncover a story. Instead he’s falling in love with the island’s red shores and Caden’s sweets.

When Caden discovers Adam isn’t who she thought he was, she realizes that the article he’s writing could do more than ruin the inn’s chances for survival–it might also break her heart.

Readers will discover hope for the hurting, joy for the broken, and romance for the lonely at the enchanting Red Door Inn.

I went through a bit of a reading slump this year, but I couldn’t put off reading the next novel in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series. I mean, it’s a romance novel set on Prince Edward Island. And I’m the girl who still owns the complete Anne of Green Gables boxset on VHS. And DVD. And, of course, all nine of the books in the series. This is my thing, even if it takes me over a week to finish a book right now.

I really, really enjoyed the first book in the series, The Red Door Inn. I got totally sucked into all the drama of renovating the inn and enjoyed meeting the secondary characters who resided in North Rustico. I wasn’t desperate to read about Caden, but this book definitely won me over, and I think she may well be my favourite character in this series. Sorry, Marie! Maybe it’s because I’ve been watching a lot of Gilmore Girls lately (for the first time—I know, I’m super late to the fan club) but she reminded me a lot of Sookie, with her bubbly personality that shrouded her hidden insecurities. It was encouraging to read a romance novel with a heroine who wasn’t stick thin or perfectly curvy, but also who wasn’t desperate to lose weight. Caden might have had her doubts at times, but I was relieved that she didn’t spend half the book berating the way she looked. She felt real, and I loved it.

I wasn’t desperate to read about Caden, but this book definitely won me over, and I think she may well be my favourite character in this series

Readers who are returning to this series for the details about the inn will be pleased to find that most of the novel takes place at Rose’s Red Door, albeit mainly in the kitchen. I loved all of the descriptions of Caden’s baking and cooking, especially her cooking classes with the local teenagers, and her attempts to create an amazing dish for the lobster cook-off. I spent most of the novel craving cinnamon rolls and fresh coffee, as well as basically anything else that Caden baked. Although it’s evident to the reader that Caden is fantastic at what she does, she has her worries that she’s not good enough for the inn, and that she might get replaced by someone better if it helps Marie and Seth draw in more customers. At times I wished Caden would just talk to Marie about her fears, but as the story developed, it became clear that that isn’t the kind of thing Caden would do—that she’s the kind of person who dwells over things but isn’t bold enough to face them head-on and possibly cause conflict. So although it bugged me, it felt consistent with her character, and what we learn about Caden’s backstory.

Adam Jacobs also has his own secretive backstory—which is much more mysterious than Caden’s—and again, I did sometimes find myself wishing that he’d just talk to Caden or his brother or anyone about his struggles. Adam was probably even more reserved than Caden, and a lot of the novel is about him figuring out how to deal with his past and move forward while still honouring the people he’s lost. Just like Caden’s desire to prove herself through her cooking, Adam is determined to redeem his past mistakes through his journalistic writing. It was quite interesting learning about the inn and Marie’s connections through Adam’s eyes, even though I knew about most of her secrets from the first book in the series. It was fun to view North Rustico again through the perspective of a newcomer.

The romance between Caden and Adam is incredibly sweet, but not annoyingly or unrealistically so.

The romance between Caden and Adam is incredibly sweet, but not annoyingly or unrealistically so. They were cautiously adorable, and they’re probably one of my favourite couples from this year’s batch of romance novels—and I read a lot of romances. Although they had their arguments over misunderstandings and withheld information, they resolved them pretty quickly and were, on the whole, a really relatable, lovable couple. I rooted from them right from the start, even if I wasn’t sure how they were going to mesh their very different lives together. The growth of both characters was fantastic, in addition to the way that their romance developed.

I don’t really have any major complaints about Where Two Hearts Meet. Bethany’s character felt a tiny bit like a caricature, but I did wonder if she’d be the focus of a future book, and maybe we’d get some insights into why she behaved that way? Marie felt a bit cold and standoffish at times, but I was aware that we were only seeing her through Caden’s eyes and that she was going through a stressful time with keeping the inn financially stable. I did love the other secondary characters who visited the inn, particularly the elderly couple who bestowed so much wisdom on Adam. As with the first book, the setting and additional characters really bring the story to life.

I really cared about Caden and Adam—both individually and as a couple—and their character arcs kept me thoroughly engaged throughout the entire novel.

Honestly, I just loved this story. The romance was slow and sweet, but it never felt boring. I really cared about Caden and Adam—both individually and as a couple—and their character arcs kept me thoroughly engaged throughout the entire novel. When I reviewed The Red Door Inn, I mentioned that it didn’t quite have all the elements necessary for (what I consider) an Absolutely Perfect Romance, but Where Two Hearts Meet definitely fulfilled all of the criteria. I can’t wait to see what Liz does with Natalie’s story in the next book in the series. Summer 2017 can’t come soon enough!

–Rachel


Where Two Hearts Meet is one of the sweetest, most endearing contemporary romances I have read this year and dare I say, in a long while. It’s not often that I find another contemporary romance author to add to my list. Liz Johnson’s style is reminiscent of Melissa Tagg’s style – who is one of my most favorite contemporary authors. Her writing is similar in tone, but Liz Johnson has a unique element here, in that the setting is Prince Edward Island. I immediately felt at home at the Red Door Inn and, more specifically, in Caden’s kitchen, drawn by a special element that the author has weaved within the pages of this story. Whether it is fragrant French press coffee, sweet cinnamon buns, or a traditional lobster dish, I was so drawn to Caden’s love of cooking – and Adam’s acceptance he found in her kitchen at the Red Door.

Where Two Hearts Meet is one of the sweetest, most endearing contemporary romances I have read this year and dare I say, in a long while.

The romance is so tastefully done and, in a word, adorable. There is no high drama here, just a simple, touching tale of two people whose worlds appear to be at odds, but their connection somehow crosses those boundary lines in a realistic way that left me cheering for their happily-ever-after. I literally would look up from the page to realize that my face was stretched into a silly grin and a sigh had just escaped my mouth visualizing some of these scenes. The setting provides a charming, fresh backdrop to the story, and the descriptions of the town of North Rustico are a perfect complement.

I literally would look up from the page to realize that my face was stretched into a silly grin and a sigh had just escaped my mouth visualizing some of these scenes.

Caden is a likeable, relatable character. My connection with her was instant. Her confidence in the kitchen is such a great foil to her insecurities in other parts of her life. I could easily empathize with her lack of self-esteem and her tendency to downplay her own accomplishments. Adam is a dear character as well. His past regrets make him a layered character, and he still has a deep sincerity about him, ever more evident the more he and Caden interact. The secondary characters are by turns charming and thought-provoking, whether it was the inn’s proprietor, Marie and her husband Seth, or the sweet, older couple at the inn for an extended summer stay, who have an inspirational story of their own, and whose wisdom and kindness provide a moving addition to the story.

Caden is a likeable, relatable character. My connection with her was instant.

If I have any issues about the story, it’s probably just that I wished for a deeper look at the friendship between Marie and Caden – although this could be partially because I haven’t read Marie’s story (yet), so just felt like I wanted to know her better. Perhaps the high pressure that they both found themselves under due to the Inn’s finances kept this from happening, but there were times that I just wanted them to open up to one another. The other thing, and this isn’t really a complaint, more than it is a wish for closure – but I really wished that Bethany’s character, who is so off-putting throughout the story, was touched on a bit more toward the end. However, there is more to come from this series, so one never knows who might come back in a later book.

All of the elements combined to create one satisfying read – the romance is nearly perfect and the plot is both simple in ways, yet full of life’s complexities, and most importantly, a well-woven, gentle spiritual thread brings all of the pieces together. Liz Johnson is a new author to me, but after finishing Where Two Hearts Meet, I will definitely go back and read the first book in the series and will wait for book three with eager anticipation.

–Beth

 

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