Thursday, August 18, 2011

Heart Song by Lynn Ames

Publisher:       1st ed - Intaglio Publications; 2nd ed - Phoenix 
                         Rising Press

How much should one person have to endure to find love? Why are some people asked to shoulder what seems to be more than their fair share of heartache?

Most people see Danica Warren as a hero. After all, the former crusading Senator and now motivational speaker managed to dig herself and three other people out of an avalanche that should have killed them. Her book about her experience is a best seller and a hit movie has been made from it. However, Danica doesn't agree with them because the only person she couldn’t save that day was her long-time partner. That was three years ago and Dani hasn't gotten over what happened yet. 

Chase Crosley is the CEO of a credit union organization and all she needs is to see Dani one time at a convention to know that her life is about to change. Once the women begin spending time together, they realize they have a special relationship, but there are obstacles. Dani has to overcome her feelings of guilt about the accident and accept that she isn't betraying an old love. Just as Dani seems comfortable with what is happening, Chase becomes seriously ill. Can Dani pursue love knowing that she might lose it again? Does Chase have the right to ask her to?

It would have been easy to make Heartsong the story of Danica trying to get over her survivor guilt and deciding that it was "OK" to love again. That story has been told before and is familiar. Ames instead gives the book a real-life twist. Danica does have the guilt, but just as she's convincing herself that she has a right to move on with her life, she faces the possibility of losing the new love.
How many people know someone who seems to move from crisis to crisis, enduring unbelievable heartache, while everyone else goes on living somewhat normal lives? There is that universal question about why some people seem doomed to suffer while others live easier lives. However, what starts out seeming to be the story of Danica turns out to be more the story of Chase. She's not used to opening up to another person and has finally seemed to win that struggle when she confronts a health crisis that could change everything.  

Heartsong then takes on the task of dealing with a relationship that may be on a short timeline. The resolution is not exactly what a reader might expect, but it's very appropriate.

Lynn Ames seems to be a writer who is willing to stretch to improve her writing. Instead of producing the same book time after time, her plots have gotten progressively more complex. She still writes a pretty standard romance, but there are little twists that are refreshing and show a greater depth of story development. While her stories feel familiar, there are nuances that hold the reader's attention. Heartsong is worth reading.

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