by M. Jean Pike
Deep in a box of used books, counselor Tory Sasser comes across a novel without an ending: Heatherfield. As she reads the story of scarred war veteran, Jake Benjamin, her tears fall on the pages—and she could swear new words appear where once there was nothing.
But the fictional town of Heatherfield isn’t all it seems, nor is its creator, Destiny Paige. When Tory’s car runs off the road into the mist, she’s transported back to the 1940s—into the novel, trapped by the spirits that govern the place through Destiny. Even more, Tory is caught by the honest warmth and complicated tenderness that is Jake Benjamin.
Realizing she’s falling in love with Jake, Tory is desperate to find her way back home to reality. Yet what is more real than true love? No, Heatherfield isn’t all it seems ... not at all.
I am a huge sucker for flawed characters, twisty plots, and humongous odds, and Heatherfield has all three in abundance. Combine that with the author's clear, simple language, deft use of period slang, and good dialogue and we have a hit on our hands.
Tory is burned out and discouraged by her job working with domestic abuse victims. When we meet her, she seems to be drowning in it. She obtains a book from a friend who owns her local bookstore and, even though it's unfinished, it deeply touches her. Those two elements combine with a car accident to transport her to 1940's Heatherfield where she encounters the hero. Jake is a physically and emotionally scarred WWII veteran whose combination of tough and tender makes one want to swoon and cling.
Tory and Jake's stakes are huge: If Tory falls in love with Jake, she might never be able to go home. But if she resists, she risks missing out on the love of her life and all of the happiness that goes with it. It's an awful choice, but if she didn't have to make it, the story wouldn't have been nearly as good. And she doesn't make it arbitrarily. Ms. Pike does a good job of setting up Tory's life before and during Heatherfield so that the reader clearly understands why she does what she does, but it's not so obvious that you can guess the ending.
The only criticism I have with Heatherfield is that a couple of character names were a little strange. Clyde Hardback owns the local bookstore. Destiny Paige is a romance novelist. The fact that their last names so obviously reflect their occupations gave me a bit of a pause but it wasn't enough to effect its overall rating.
I recommend Heatherfield for any romance reader, but particularly for those who enjoy old movies.
Review by Daisy
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