I really loved Courtney Walsh’s Paper Hearts and was excited to learn her next book, Change of Heart (due on March 1, 2016), is set in the town of Loves Park, Colorado and the return of the quirky Valentine Volunteers.
As the wife of a Colorado senator, Evelyn Brandt has a life others can only envy. But when the FBI shows up while she’s hosting a luncheon, claiming her husband has embezzled from the state, the mirror of her picture-perfect world is shattered. When the rest of Evelyn’s husband’s indiscretions are revealed to the public, Evelyn wonders if she’s the only one who didn’t know about his affairs.
Trevor Whitney let go of his friendship with Evelyn and Christopher Brandt long ago but when Evelyn’s left with nowhere to go, Trevor offers the guest house on his farm. But can he handle having the woman he once loved live right next door? Will his protective gruffness keep his heart safe?
When the Valentine Volunteers force Evelyn and Trevor to work together, Evelyn begins to realize the ways her marriage to Christopher changed her over the years. Instead of becoming the person she hoped to be, she became the person her husband molded her into—someone she doesn’t like. Does she have the strength to shed that persona and become someone who can stand on her own two feet?
In truth, I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole man secretly loving a married woman for the past ten years thing. But the one thing Trevor allows himself to do (in secret) is romantic and sweet. And Evelyn’s transformation is a powerful one when she realizes what other people think of her doesn’t matter.
Add in the nosy Valentine Volunteer women (Gigi, Doris and Ursula) and you’ve got some entertainment thrown into the struggles of our main characters. I think Ursula, the blunt, tell-it-like-it-is, woman is my favorite of the three. While she doesn’t sugar coat anything, she’s truthful and sees beyond the masks people put in place.
Overall, the story moves along nicely—with some predictability in there—but there seemed to be something missing or maybe some kind of disconnect for me. By no means was this a bad book, just so-so, it was a little bit of a disappointment after Paper Hearts. Maybe just a fluke on the author’s part or perhaps simply where I’m at in my life (I’ll admit that as a single woman in her forties, it’s sometimes hard for me to be happy for someone who gets two chances at love while I’m still awaiting my first one), I’ll most definitely give Walsh another try when her next book is released.
***The Tyndale Blog Network provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.