Tag Archive | Kristen Heitzmann

Secrets (Book Review)

secretsIt’s probably appropriate that I publish this review on a Friday the 13th given the dark undertones to Kristin Heitzmann’s novel, Secrets.  Well, that’s if you are in any way superstitious.

Lance Michelli is a young man burdened with a big heart and impulsive, passionate nature that sometimes gets him in trouble, in spite of his best intentions.  In trying to live up to his deceased brother’s memory, he embarks on a quest to discover the secrets his grandmother cannot tell.  What has her so agitated? Will he uncover the answers that will soothe her soul as she recovers from a stroke? Or will he be too late.

His quest takes him from the East Coast to Italy and now to Sonoma where his cooking skills win him a place in the home that might legally belong to his grandmother. The new owner, Rese Barret is fighting her own demons as she remodels this home into a bed and breakfast. Lance agrees to cook, clean and fix up part of the property but never tells this young, tightly wound woman, the real reason he is there. How could he, when he doesn’t even know himself?

Attraction builds as secrets are uncovered for both Lance and Rese. Lance tries to share his faith with Rese but she refuses to believe in a God she can’t see.  Having a mother who had a boyfriend she couldn’t see has made her wary of anything spiritual. Understanding more about schizophrenia though and the truth about her mother, is enough to push her over the edge – to madness- or to faith. Will Lance be there to catch her when she falls?

Complex character with an organic faith line woven in, Kristen slowly peels back the mystery of the secrets in both her main characters lives as they are drawn to each other. A fascinating tale and the subject of mental illness is handled with great care and realism.  This is only the second book of Kristen Heitzmann’s that I’ve read, but I will gladly pick up another by this gifted author.


Breath of Dawn (Book Review)

I came across Kristen Heitzmann’s book, The Breath of Dawn, as I read it to judge for the INSPY award. This book was one of the top five for the romance short-list. And it WON!!!!!

This is what our final statement about the book was: Irrespective of the category The Breath of Dawn was judged by, don’t let that fool you; this novel is much more than just a romance. It’s full of excitement, challenges and a heart-tugging romance that blossoms under the sanctity of marriage. Kristen Heitzmann deftly balances romance, suspense, history and a much-needed spiritual message without letting any element suffer out of respect to another. The romance between Quinn and Morgan is tender, yet blossoms into something more passionate over the course of the story. The growing relationship between our hero and heroine is believable, and assisted by fleshed-out secondary characters who begin to feel like family by the end of the novel. Quinn’s appeal grows when the reader learns that she grew up in a cult-like religious community, introducing a backstory that makes her all the more relatable. The discussion of the community is a bold move on Heitzmann’s part, but it is dealt with in a manner that is neither derogatory or sounds like a sermon. The spiritual message in The Breath of Dawn organically grows out of the story, tying all of these elements together to produce a well-rounded, satisfying story.

Now here is MY review:

Breath of Dawn coverI had never read Kristen’s work before and was immediately drawn into this book and found it almost impossible to put down.

Morgan Spencer is a business guru. He solves problems but finds his life derailed when his wife dies in a tragic accident leaving him the father of their three-month-old daughter. He hides away at his brother’s ranch, writes books and licks his wounds.

Quinn Reilly is living under the radar, running an Ebay business and hoping that the brave testimony from her past against a cultic pastor doesn’t catch up to her.

Morgan and Quinn meet and are instantly attracted, but Morgan can’t risk his heart and Quinn is prepared to run if her troubles come hunting for her. Trouble does come and Quinn does run – straight to the master-problem-solver, Morgan.

Together can they solve their mutual problems without risking their hearts? As they confront the pain from both of their pasts, can they come out the other end alive and with their hearts intact?

I loved this novel for several reasons. First, it’s a romantic suspense and Kristen does a great job in getting you to care about both of her main characters without painting them as saints. Second, Kristen brings up the idea of cultic heretical teaching and the gullibility of many to be sucked into that. While that may seem a fictional, unreal circumstance it unfortunately is very real for many people. I love that she made those people human, even though they were terribly deceived. Third, grief is a tragic burden for anyone to bear and heal from, but healing does occur and Quinn is a sweet woman with a deeper compassion for others than one would expect for a girl who had been denied that in her own family. Fourth, faith is treated in a very real way. There is no preaching here. The concept of not asking God for anything – only to praise him because it seems manipulative to make a request (coming out of a cult this is a natural thing), is juxtaposed with the imagry of a loving father (Morgan). Last, but not least, there is a minor story of the treatment/abuses of the mentally ill and it is treated with grace and compassion as well, instead of mockery and ridicule.

There is much to love about this story. The only down side was that it ended and I so wanted to read more of happier days for Morgan and Quinn.