Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Book Review: Huckleberry Hearts

Huckleberry Hearts. Jennifer Beckstrand. 2015. Kensington. 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

Did I enjoy reading Jennifer Beckstrand's Huckleberry Hearts? Yes. And no. I found it a contrary read. At times I loved, loved, loved it. There would be scenes and chapters where I was just grinning and thinking, "this book is SO giddy-making!!!" and "I must go back and read all the other books in the series!!!" But then there would be scenes where I felt the reverse. In other words, I either found myself really loving it or really not. I would say the book's biggest weakness would be predictability. For many, perhaps even for most, that would not be considered a "weakness" but instead a delight. And I agree, to a certain extent!!! When I'm loving a genre or subgenre, loving an author, then the last thing I want is a ton of surprises. Twists can be okay, but, not if the twist ultimately leads to an unsatisfying conclusion. So why didn't the predictability work for me personally in this one? I'm not sure. But there were just little "twists" that I saw coming from miles away. (Like the second we were introduced to Austin, the sick little boy, I knew EXACTLY what would happen to him. (Think of it like seeing a DOG on the cover of a children's novel.) And I guessed that THAT turn of events would lead to the hero of the book making a few BIG mistakes, saying things that he'd regret, coming close to doing things that would be impossible to take back. And sure enough, it all happened exactly as I thought it would.) There was ONE thing that did surprise me, but I won't talk about it in the review because there should be something in the book that surprises you too. It definitely added drama, but not in the way I prefer! It was the perfect kind of example of the surprise I don't like to see in a book.

So does this mean I didn't like the book? No. Not at all. As I said, when I loved it, I really LOVED it. I liked Cassie, the heroine. I liked spending time with her, seeing what she was really thinking. I liked Cassie's grandparents. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED the premise of the grandma making matches for all her grandchildren, and choosing so wisely for them. It made me want to read all the books in the series so I could spend more time with her and her husband. I liked Zach, the doctor-hero, that was the 'chosen one' for Cassie. I liked that we get his point of view too. I liked that he kept in touch with his mom, and, really opened up to her about how he was falling in love with Cassie! There were many sweet scenes in this one.

Huckleberry Hearts is a contemporary almost-Amish romance. I didn't love it cover to cover, but, it was strongly liked--if not LOVED--throughout. In many ways, it worked for me.

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