Welcome to Love Heart Lane…
When Flick Simons returns to the small village of Heartcross, she only expected to stay for a few days. The white-washed cottages of Love Heart Lane might be her home, but the place holds too many painful memories, and of one man in particular — Fergus Campbell.
When a winter storm sweeps in, the only bridge connecting the village to the main land is swept away! As the villagers pull together, Flick finds herself welcomed back by the friends she once left behind. And as the snow begins to melt, maybe there is a chance that Fergus’ heart will thaw, too….
A sweet, clean romance, Love Heart Lane by Christie Barlow is an engaging tale of second chances and healing hearts. Barlow throws a bit of intrigue, but mostly, the story is a fairly straightforward telling of a woman who left home following tragedy and returns to find home is a place a healing.
I was slighly bothered by the fact that EVERYBODY in town (except her friend Isla) has no qualms about telling Felicity how wrong she was for leaving. There is a lot of the book spent telling her how she hurt everybody else. While her leaving was slightly selfish, the fact that everybody wants her to walk on eggshells while everybody just blunders into her pain bugged me. It was very frustrating and seemed to be slightly reflective of society’s view toward mother’s health regarding pregnancy, delivery, etc that she was supposed to just ignore her pain, her feelings, and make sure nobody else was hurt. She suffered some serious trauma, but it should be okay because everybody loves her. Barlow touches on the fact that she suffered from serious depression and she had difficulty being around pregnant women and families. But she’s supposed to be okay that the guy whose heart she supposedly shattered moved on in about a year. I got seriously upset with the supporting cast when this was the general consensus. I can’t tell if Barlow was trying to shed light on this situation…or if she’s perpetuating it.
I also have an issue with Felicity (Flick). She’s kind of a doormat. She’s pretty strong professionally, but interpersonal relationships see her brushing off her own hurt because she hurt others. Again. I don’t know if this is an attempt to shed light on a societal expectation of women in general (because it is an issue–women are expected to brush off a lot of things in the interest of keeping the peace), or if it’s a perpetuation of a terrible society ideal through fiction. Either way, I would have liked to have seen more of a backbone from Flick. Yell at your friend who is selfishly pouting because you hurt her feelings EIGHT YEARS AGO when you were so overcome with grief and pain that the only thing you could think to do was go lick your wounds…and then when you were thinking it was time to go back, somebody ripped those wounds back open and poured salt into them. None of these so-called wonderful friends decided to hunt her down and make sure she was still alive. None of them made sure she was okay…because she hurt their feelings. It just really drove me up the wall that Felicity just sits there and takes it all.
That being said, it truly is a heart-warming story of a love that isn’t as over as the characters thought. The way the romance plays out, not as the main event, but as a supplement to a story about a village and the meaning of home was refreshing. The reader knows how the romance ends, but the rest of it is what is up for grabs. How will Felicity fit back in to her tiny village? Will she stay? There’s enough uncertainty that the story drags you in. There’s minor dramas that keep it moving forward, as well…and of course the promise of more romance on the horizon at the end. I really did enjoy this story (for all that I will rant about a couple details), and highly recommend picking it up for a nice chick-lit romance.
Christie Barlow is the author of A Year in the Life of a Playground Mother, The Misadventures of a Playground Mother, Kitty’s Countryside Dream, Lizzie’s Christmas Escape, Evie’s Year of Taking Chances, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream, A Home at Honeysuckle Farm and Love Heart Lane. Her writing career came as somewhat a surprise when she decided to write a book to teach her children a valuable life lesson and show them that they are capable of achieving their dreams. The book she wrote to prove a point is now a #1 bestseller in the UK, USA & Australia.
Christie is an ambassador for @ZuriProject raising money/awareness and engaging with impoverished people in Uganda through organisations to improve their well-being as well as Literary Editor for http://www.mamalifemagazine.co.uk bringing you all the latest news and reviews from the book world.