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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Lessons of the Heart by Helen Hardt

Lessons of the Heart by Helen Hardt
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical
Length: Short Story (114 pgs)
Heat Level: spicy
Rating: 4.5 books
Reviewed by Magnolia

Spinster schoolteacher Ruth Blackburn has accepted her fate. She's not meant for love, especially not with ill-mannered—though excruciatingly handsome—Garth Mackenzie, the widowed father of one of her students. She'll just have to ignore the fact that he makes her skin heat.

Garth Mackenzie is used to loss. The Civil War cost him his best friend and his ability to sleep through the night, and illness stole his wife and son. To avoid the pain of losing his daughter, he keeps her at arm's length, much to her teacher's dismay. Ruth Blackburn is independent and opinionated—just what Garth doesn't need. But her vibrant beauty and energy awaken feelings in him he thought long dead.

Can he let go of his past and open up to new lessons of the heart?

I loved this sweet, historical romance. Ms. Hardt did a lovely job bringing her characters to life, and bringing their lives together.

Schoolteacher Ruth Blackburn is a strong woman who speaks her mind and doesn't mind telling Mary Alice's father, Garth Mackenzie, what she thinks of his manners. Of course the heat is there but there are so many layers to both Ruth and Garth's past that once you start reading this book you won't want to put it down. This story is one of the best I've read.

The little girl, Mary Alice, is so timid and shy you just want to hug her and tell her everything is going to be all right. Her father is bitter for several reasons: his wife died, he's left to raise a little girl, and to run the family farm alone. It's quite obvious he has no idea what to do with a girl and treats her like a farm hand instead. And he has no idea what to do with the schoolteacher who bothers him, and not always in a good way. You can tell how much his heart has been broken and that most of the bitterness is just a shell he's built to protect himself from the heartache he's suffered.

Stories like this one don’t come along very often. The writing is excellent, the flow is perfect, the characters are likable, loveable, even when there’s the chance these two won’t wind up together. I’ve never read one of Helen Hardt’s books before, but I will be reading more in the future.