Wednesday, June 16, 2021

TBR Challenge: Kay Springsteen - Heartsight

Trish Evers is an artist and single mother, who has inherited her grandmother's Bed and Breakfast in a North Carolina coastal town. Though she must sell the house, she decides to bring her daughter to the beach for one last summer vacation in her childhood town.
Bella is a six-year-old girl who has Down syndrome. Rejected by her father, Trish, is the only parent she's ever known. Bella likes to explore the beach and has a tendency to wander off. One day, Bella goes exploring on her own, and Trish finds her in the company of an intriguing stranger.
Dan Conway is a U.S. Marine, who had been born into a family of Marines. Now blind as a result of combat injuries and unable to "suit up," he feels he no longer has a purpose in life. He's come home to the beach, where he spends his days in solitude. Dan must learn to believe in himself and to love life again, which he begins to do through his interactions with Bella and Trish. When a hurricane strikes, and Bella wanders off again, her only hope for rescue is Dan.
Working within the confines of his blindness, he must overcome his fear of failure and recall his training in order to search for the little girl and bring her to safety.

Comment: This month, the theme for the TBR Challenge post is "one word title". I think it's specific enough to allow people to have something suitable but there are plenty of genres or authors to chose from as well. I immediately looked at the list of books in my TBR and this was the first with one word I saw, therefore I didn't think too long and added it to my monthly list. 

In this story we meet Dan, an ex military man who suffered an accident while on duty and he ended up blind. After many unsuccessful surgeries, he decided it was enough and is currently spending some time at a house near the beach and that is how he meets Bella and her mother Trish. They have come to take charge of an inheritance but Trish is struggling financially and besides that and the worry about her daughter's heart condition due to having Down syndrome, she has recently got news her ex, who never wanted Bella, now is eager to spend time with her and wants his legal rights to be granted. Dan and Trish meet under stressful situations but Bella is a light in their lives... can they really be a match for each other?

In 2018 I had read a book this author co-authored with another author. I barely remember the basics so I checked my post on it and it's cringey to me how vaguely I wrote things, probably to avoid spoilers, and I really couldn't remember vital plot points. Anyway, I'm saying this because I liked that other boo enough even if some things weren't as well done for me. Comparing with this one, and knowing that the one had a second author working on it, I have to wonder how much difference can exist between stories by the same author but, like in this case, belonging to different genres. 

This is a contemporary story but the feel of the story was, for me, like something older, in the sense the author didn't really work on her plot or the characterization of her characters. Everything is simply said, to the point, without much description and the reader only has to take that information for granted and move on. My ebook edition wasn't too big, and I can see how this happened, since the author seemed to economize on words. I mean, it's not that this had to be a bigger book, but the way it was written, certainly felt like it just wanted to impart what was necessary and that was it.

I admit I don't feel very much impressed with the writing style. It doesn't make me want to read more by the author because reading this one was not captivating. Added to that, there's the weird mix of intentions, if I can explain myself... so this is not labeled inspirational but there are some vibes of it. Some readers disliked this, others loved it, I feel indifferent to be honest (in general, I read inspirational books and some have been great but I don't actively look for them) because it's not such a big deal for me, but if this is the aim here, then it was a bit confusing how quickly Dan and Trish felt attraction for one another and even though there are no sex scenes, their connection did feel too quick and too convenient, which added to their constant thoughts about sexy time quite a clash with the supposedly more innocent scenes and the care for the little girl.

It is clear the author wanted to address several issues here, especially when it comes to disability and how people should embrace other's differences and not reduce them to it. I did like some passages and some scenes but it got to a point I was divided between the importance of touching a subject which should inform people and the tactic of putting the characters in the position where they would act silly or do something ridiculous. I didn't feel there was balance in this novel but looking at other reviews out there, perhaps I'm in a minority.

Trish and Dan's relationship happened really quickly. I think, in part, this is due to the writing style, which doesn't seem to allow readers to just read the information and think for themselves, but at the same time, it can be there's also a bit too much telling to speed things up... at least I got that sensation. Just to summarize, and I don't think this is a spoiler, they end up together, Bella continuous being a sweet child and we met one character who will be protagonist in a future book. The "bad guy" is defeated, some problems are solved and the end of the book came as smoothly as the beginning, without much complex content in between, in my opinion.

All in all, this wasn't the success I was looking for. It didn't work much for me, but it's known what might not work for some, can be gold for others, so, nothing like trying. Nevertheless, from my POV, I would not recommend it. There must be other stories out there featuring disabled characters with a stronger writing behind them.
Grade: 4/10


  1. Relationship development is probably my number one complaint, I need depth, emotion, and believable growth; I have to believe in their love. This sounds like so many romantic suspense I read where they didn't take the time to develop it.
    Better luck with next month's read!

  2. The characterization felt very weak, yes. Perhaps it's also my expectation since I prefer more complex stories too, or with more developed content.