Book Review, christian

Change of Heart by Courtney Walsh – a Complex Contemporary Novel with Depth

About the Book:Change of Heart
Author: Courtney Walsh
Publisher: Tyndale House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2016
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Blogger ǀ Goodreads
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Series: Paper Hearts, 2
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5

REVIEW | As a reader who (for reasons unknown) best loves the contemporary genre, reading Courtney Walsh’s novels was high on my priority list. But despite best intentions I’d not opened the pages to discover her brand of Story. Until now. Inside these pages, a story of joy, disappointment, betrayal and the healing power of forgiveness unfold, all of which rises to the surface as each of these layers is beautifully peeled away. 

Change of Heart introduces us to Evelyn, a woman swept away by the charm and charisma that is Christopher Brandt. Now, married to him, Evelyn is living a life most people only dream of. Her husband is a young senator whose political ambitions are expected to continues to make headlines. But today he’s making the worst kind of news. The FBI arrests him on charges of embezzlement and Evelyn finds herself on the receiving end of a warrant to search her home. It’s this series of events that leads Evelyn back to Trevor Whitney, one of her friends from college.

With her future uncertain and the life she and her husband built in tatters, Evelyn, must find a way to begin again and learn what plans this new future has for her.

…that’s what makes them different from us. We get to choose if we want to add purpose to our days. – Courtney Walsh

If I were to summarize this novel in a few short words I’d happily conclude that Change of Heart is a delight from beginning to end. There are so many moments and experiences that place the story on a platform that is second to none. Though always pleasant, this is far from being a mere romance. It’s a story of loss and again finding joy in the face of adversity. This is all in owning to Courtney’s beautifully flawed and human characters. Evelyn is an interesting woman. She represents each of us in our fear of stepping out and for some of us, standing up for ourselves. We all suffer from some sense of being disconnected to the world because we’re afraid to emerge from our comfort zone and rely on faith. Her journey is a lovely thing to experience.

Then there is Trevor. This is a complex and multi-layered hero unlike any I’ve yet met. Trevor is a victim of unrequited love (by his own choice), but he doesn’t fall into the usual tropes this sort of character ordinarily associates. I admired him for the way he removed himself from Evelyn’s life and loved him all the more for the gentleman he was when she unexpectedly reenters his life. Their relationship becomes complex and somehow, romantic (in subtle ways) as the novel furthers. Though, I have to admit I was surprised by the many times they left each other with broken hearts. (Meaning they reached out only to decide a future wasn’t possible.)

Contemporary romance readers must read Change of Heart. It’s one of those books that stands tall and apart from the crowd because of its bravery in bordering on being “controversial.” Not many novels (in this genre) wade into a romance with such opposition, but then, I’d argue not many (no matter the genre) could make a potentially messy topic work so beautifully. If you’re looking for something new to enjoy while you sit out on the porch in the breezes of summer, pick up Change of Heart.

SYNOPSIS | A Colorado senator’s wife, Evelyn Brandt seems to have it all. But her carefully constructed life comes toppling down when the FBI crashes her society brunch with news that her husband has been arrested for embezzlement, and he’s far from repentant. It turns out this was only the start of his indiscretions―for which he has little regret.

As the weeks following the scandal turn into months, Evelyn withdraws, even shirking her duties with the philanthropic Valentine Volunteers. The inquisitive women of the group are determined not to let Evelyn’s divorce destroy her. They have big plans for her to use her long-forgotten artistic talent to reimagine the city’s iconic lamppost hearts. But doing so will force Evelyn to work closely with Trevor Whitney, her ex-husband’s former best friend. Though she and Trevor used to be close―and he’s been letting her hide in his guesthouse―his gruffness conveys his unease with the situation.

Amid the beauty of Trevor’s farm and the comfort of a paintbrush, Evelyn starts to reclaim the dreams she sacrificed to become the perfect politician’s wife. And as creativity inspires them both, Whit begins to see the girl he fell in love with before his friend―and his own mistakes―stole his chance. Possibilities for a new beginning emerge, but long-kept secrets threaten to ruin everything. After so much time, is a change of heart too much to hope for? – Goodreads

Sincere thanks to the author, Courtney Walsh, for kindly providing a complimentary copy of this book.

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