|First Book In New Series|
"Reunited Hearts" Most Powerful 'Hidden Child' Romance I’ve Ever Read!
Ruth Logan Herne
The powerful writing exhibited in “Winter’s End”, “Waiting Out the Storm” and “Made to Order Family” brings a new vigor and realism to the very popular “hidden child” theme romance.
I must say it was a surprise to read a ‘hidden child’ theme romance from an author who featured a hospice story, with death and dying, in her first book, “Winter’s End”. I also didn’t expect it after the author’s last book, “Made to Order Family,” won the “Philosophy of Romance” Book of the Year 2010 award. What I was expecting was a powerful and unpredictable mainstream style story that just happened to meet all the requirements of a great romance.
Instead here’s what I encountered: “Reunited Hearts” was the power and realistic writing that made the author’s first three books 4 ½ star RT standouts. This powerful writing is evident on every page of “Reunited Hearts”.
So if you like the ‘hidden child’ theme, which is one of my favorites, you should find “Reunited Hearts” a great read. I believe that some readers will enjoy this book even though they don’t usually prefer the ‘hidden child’ theme.
A Personal Landmark Book
“Reunited Hearts” stands out is a landmark book in my understanding of the romance genre. I think the sequence of the author’s first four books reveals an important fact about the romance genre.
Power Can Only Take Some Romance Themes So Far
“Reunited Hearts” is just as powerful, in itself, as all three of Ruth Logan Hearne’s first three books. However this makes me believe that there is a price to pay for writing certian popular theme romances. As a “hidden child” theme romance “Reunited Hearts” does not hit the reader with the full force of a more realistic mainstream-style plot. Without that added force, and its perceived gravitas, (with readers and reviewers) it is hard for an author to achieve the power of the Herne's first three books.
Light Bulb Moment
After reading Herne's first three books, “Reunited Hearts” produced a ‘light bulb’ moment for me. This is because in a non-theme romance, the narrative has the power of reality. The reader cannot be sure exactly what to expect. With this kind of realistic writing it is easier for the reader to fall into the story and vicariously become part of the action. The author's first three books read like mainstream booke where anything could happen. They were realistic books that just happen to fulfill romance genre requirements. Being able to do this so well makes Ruth Logan Herne an important romance author.
“Hidden Child” Expectations
With a ‘hidden child’ theme romance, the reader will always know she is reading a ‘hidden child’ romance. She cannot help but compare this ‘hidden child’ story to many others she has read over the years. I was doing this all the time I was reading “Reunited Hearts”.
How Does This ‘Hidden Child' Story Match Up?
In a ‘hidden child’ theme romance, readers are always asking the same questions:
Why was the child kept secret?
How wrong was the heroine for keeping the child secret?
How will the hero find out about the child?
How will the child react?
How will the heroine ever justify her actions?
How will the couple ever repair the breach?
Readers look forward to the scenes in the story that answer these questions. They are ready to compare those scenes to past ‘hidden child’ stories. In a light- hearted romane or romantic comedy, such themes are wonderful. The author is no going for gravitas.
However, when an author can write very powerful realistic romances like, “Winter’s End”, “Waiting Out the Storm” and “Made to Order Family”, I’m not sure certain that theme romances represent the best path to writing success.
Themes That May Best Be Avoided
I believe some themes can be written without a great deal of reader expectation and thus can deliver the full writing impact that the author is capable of delivering. Other themes are too well orchestrated. Some themes that I think are not the best vehicles for the dramatic style writer are, “Hidden Child”, “Runaway Bride”, “Mail Order Bride”, “Friends to Lovers” and “Baby on the Doorstep”.
In All Fairness
The themes I mentioned above are among my favorite romance stories. I also like, “Plain Jane” and “Beauty and the Brain” theme books. But these themes never produce the power of a “Winter’s End”. But then, I didn’t expect “Winter’s End” to deliver such power either. It was a romance but it did not read like a romance. It read like a mainstream novel. Therein lies the rub.
Should Dramatic Authors Also Write Popular Theme Romances?
That all dends on the author. If the author wants to write these themes so be it. After all, “Reunited Hearts” is one of the best ‘hidden child’ theme romances that I’ve ever read.
If it is true that such themes do not utilize an author’s talent to the highest and best use, then an author should at least consider the price that's paid when writing such a theme. It may well be that an author will have to exert a 5-star effort just to produce a 4-star book when writing these themes. As such, with the same amount of talent and effort the author could have produced a 5-star work.
It’s not about Stars & Reviews
I know writing is not about stars and getting the best reviews. If anything it’s about sales and pleasing readers and editors.
“Reunited Hearts” is the book which has made me question the advisability of some authors writing certian theme romances. I’m make no claim that 5-star serious books will outsell 4-star popular theme romances. An author has many career choices to make. The choice of themes is just one of many of these.
About the story
The hero, Trent Michaels, is a West Point, Army, war hero who has just left the service to take a very good job helping a defense contractor win bids. Trent takes this job because it is in his old hometown and because the defense contracts will help revitalize the whole area.
The heroine, Alyssa Langley, was once so in love with Trent, that when she found out she was pregnant, she didn’t tell him because it would have destroyed his dream of going to West Point. She remained silent and Trent achieved is dream.
As the story opens, Lyssa is a widow with lots of emotional baggage. She also has two children: Trent’s child Jaden and her deceased husband’s child Cory. Alyssa has moved back in with her parents which she did not want to do but had to because her husband left her with too many debts. She is essentially broke.
Trent and Alyssa meet as the story opens. No waiting for the big scene! The narrative starts quickly and never lets up. The story is emotional, well founded, with both the hero and heroine being shown to be worthy people.
I think “Reunited Hearts” has just the right inspirational balance. The biggest variable in a Love Inspired romance is the inspirational element. I think it is very difficult to get the inspirational content correct. “Reunited Hearts” gets it right.
The story takes place in Allegany County, New York near where the author lives. This location is very interesting and the author makes it even more so.
Another Important Romance from Ruth Logan Herne!
|Waiting Out the Storm|
|Made to Order Family|