HEART LIKE MINE by Amy Hatvany

From the back cover:

Thirty-six-year-old Grace McAllister never longed for children. But when she meets Victor Hansen, a handsome, charismatic divorced restaurateur who is father to Max and Ava, Grace decides that, for the right man, she could learn to be an excellent part-time stepmom. After all, the kids live with their mother, Kelli. How hard could it be?

At thirteen, Ava Hansen is mature beyond her years. Since her parents’ divorce, she has been the one taking care of her emotionally unstable mother and her little brother—she pays the bills, does the laundry, and never complains because she loves her mama more than anyone. And while her father’s new girlfriend is nice enough, Ava still holds out hope that her parents will get back together and that they’ll be a family again.

But only days after Victor and Grace get engaged, Kelli dies suddenly under mysterious circumstances—and soon, Grace and Ava discover there was much more to Kelli’s life than either ever knew.

Narrated by Grace and Ava in the present with flashbacks into Kelli’s troubled past, Heart Like Mine is a poignant and hopeful portrait about womanhood, love, and the challenges of family life.

The alternating points of view took a little bit of getting used to. After that, it seemed like the only way to tell tell this story. 

I loved, loved, loved this book. The relationships are complicated; the characters are well drawn and accurately portrayed. You will fall in love with every single one of them: from Grace, in love with Victor, forever tied to his dead ex-wife due to the bonds with his children; to the children themselves, especially Ava, whose point of view is so beautifully portrayed. You will laugh, you will cry; you won’t be able to stop turning the pages, and you won’t want this book to end.

Read Amy Hatvany. You won’t be sorry. Five enthusiastic stars! Highly recommended!

NOTE: I received a copy of this book for FREE in exchange for a written review. There was no expectation that this review be either positive or negative, and I was not given any financial compensation to read the book or write the review. This information is disclosed in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 […] Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.