Title: The Girl who could read Hearts
Author: Sherry Maysonave
Review: The opening chapter to the Girl who could read Hearts was the starting of a great fantasy novel especially with the idea of a seventh sense but you can tell from the offset that this book will have very strong religious overtones which can be disastrous when done wrong. From this chapter the religious theme is strong but restrained which make for concise, clear reading which I really enjoyed. I didn’t really feel a connection with Kate until the end of the first chapter which was strange as I connect usually straight away with the protagonist and this didn’t happen for me. Although going into the second chapter the point of view changes so I am not sure whether this is a multiple P.O.V book and if it is I’m not sure whether it will fit in with the genre of this book I find mysteries, thrillers and action books do well the multiple points of view and religious, spiritual, romance and dystopian books suit the singular point of view better, but I am still undecided on this and probably will be until the final page.
In the second chapter we meet Angelique who makes a wish on her angel’s birthday we don’t learn a lot about her or her angel other than her angel is missing and she is holding out for a miracle – for her angel to return after six years and I am beginning to wonder whether Kate and Angelique’s angel are one and the same. We learn that Kate’s Granny Mer holds all the answers about her angel and its previous owner but due to her health she can no longer speak or move well and the only other person who could teach Kate about her heritage and unique gifts is travelling the world and pursuing his writer/film career. Granny Mer fears that without the angel as its human vessel has been destroyed Kate with be left to fend for herself unaware of the meaning of her gift. Kate can be seen as extremely naive in a way as she doesn’t know what race means, her mother also explains the KKK to her which is strange as children learn about their heritage (American) good or bad starting at a very young age and knowing some American she would be at the age where she would be learning about such things especially in the religious sense, learning the division between good and evil and what makes certain people fall into different categories. The duel perspective of this novel shifts slightly when the two narrators meet for the first time. Kate seems utterly mystified by Angelique in her own sense but she is also baffled by her resembled to her angel Etta Ebella. It turns out Angelique along with her sister and friends create angel dolls using special feathers and Etta Ebella turns out to be Angelique’s missing angel and Kate seems to be a vessel for the angel’s voices to pass through. I like the way the story turned from being extremely religious to a more friendship and family based novel with strong religious undertones.
In the following chapters where the twins help restore Etta Ebella we learn more about their upbringing and the tragic deaths of both their parents and how the angel interlinks the three primary characters. We also see the contrast between the twins slightly devastating childhood and Kate’s own very sheltered one. The best perspective in this novel is Etta Ebella’s as she can only “communicate” in certain ways she proves the best outsider view on everything that is going on around her with the characters and with the world in general often talking about race, the pressures of parenthood and the difference in wages between sectors and social circles. We also learn that Kate isn’t the only person in her family with very unique gifts; her uncle Terrance possesses them as well as her grandmother. As Kate is lost without her angel she gets into more danger seeming to ignore the signs around her until its too late which at one point could have resulted in her being severely injured if it was for Etta Ebella warning her uncle before it was too late.
Unexpectedly Kate is becoming closer to Angelique with an almost motherly bond forming between them and in a second strange turn of events it appears that Kate’s mother; Carly is pregnant which an new child and all injured in the accident are recovering well although Terrance isn’t at all happy about not being allowed visitors. As Terrance is taken to surgery for his head injury we see the family come together but we also see how other people react negatively to one woman’s praying for her child and grandchild showing the contrasts in independent views. As we draw closer to the halfway mark I am enjoying the story and the characters but I have no sense where the plot is actually heading or what direction the author has set for the characters but there is still plenty to be revealed. A fair proportion of this section of the novel is set within the hospital as the family wait with baited breath for news on Terrance’s condition. Kate also seems to be learning more about her own family through reading their hearts, she learns her aunt had a miscarriage, the sex of her unborn sibling weeks before it is possible, and is unconsciously aware of her grandmother’s impending death which is really great to see this extremely difficult events through the bewildering eyes of a child.
Kate stays with her aunt while her parents are away and her eyes are opened to an extremely abusive home in which mother and daughter are constantly berated and belittled by a man he sees as their better who easily resorts to violence to assert his dominance. Kate is extremely unsettled by this and sees in a vision of sorts that if someone didn’t help them her uncle would severely hurt them all given the chance. I am loving the story after the half way mark despite being slow starting the novel is incredible detailing the true effects of faith and hope in everyday situations but it also reveals the shortcoming in certain characters which I like even when these shortcomings are bad as they make the characters feel more human and whole. I also really enjoyed the fact that lots of secondary characters have these intuitive feelings not just Kate making the whole concept seem more real in the eyes of the reader. At this point in the novel there is also a major sense of foreboding that something bad is going to happen very soon especially where Kate’s uncle is concerned. Kate’s uncle Vaynem also seems to be connected to many of the other characters and not in a good way so I have a feeling karma may be visiting him soon, I also worry for Terrance as there are signs pointing towards someone trying to kill him although I have seen no evidence as why someone would want to do so.
As the drama continues we hear little of Terrance and what is happening to him. Kate doesn’t have a sense of foreboding but one of amazement after seeing a vision of her Granny Mer walking and talking again, my interpretation of this as her dying whether this will come to pass we have yet seen. Terrance’s situation turns around when the woman who was going to kill him unknowingly has a change of heart. One thing I felt in this novel was that Kate’s innocence was being guarded as every bad situation she encounters has a happy ending until in the final section of the novel my fears are confirmed when all the children converge at the hospital as their mother is dying and Kate is completely unaware. As Granny Mer lies dying the entire family is gathered at her bedside, with them all coming together to support one another.
I also like the fact that new challenges are being presented to the characters even though we have less than 10% of the novel left to go. Out of all her children Terrance feels his mothers death the most but even in this darkness he has found his one true love in Angelique which provides a spark of light and as the FBI’s net closes are Vaynem and his accomplices all is being set right and old wounds are beginning to heal. The final pages of this novel were amazing, so heart-warming and could restore even the biggest cynic’s faith in humanity. I loved the characters especially Kate and Angelique as they were both extremely special people and deserved every happiness in life but remained focused on bringing happiness and joy to others being completely selfless. Overall I really enjoyed this and would recommend it to anyone who wants a light, fluffy and beautiful read which will be a smile to your lips and tears to your eyes at the same time.
This book was sent to me for review consideration by Stephen Maysonave
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