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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Burning Hearts by Nike Chillemi

Burning Hearts by Nike Chillemi
Publisher: Desert Breeze Publishing
Genre: Historical (1940s), Inspirational, Suspense/Mystery
Length: Full Length (165 pages)
Heat Level: Sweet
Rating: 4 books
Reviewed by Poinsettia

Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. So many young men she grew up with fell in the war, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her desperate need when her best friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. This stranger rushes into the inferno and carries Erica’s friend’s lifeless body out.

Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson, though he tried. He’s been a knock-about biker since the end of WWII. His uncle bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he has hope for the future, wants to repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The problem is someone’s setting him up for a murder rap, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin, and that’s the last thing he needs.

Love and hope rise out of the ashes of tragedy.

Erica and Lorne’s lives come crashing together the morning Erica discovered Ada’s house on fire. Lorne had my admiration from the moment he entered the scene. Without a thought for his own safety, he was willing to run into a burning house to save a woman he didn’t even know. While Lorne was too late to save Ada’s life, his selfless act firmly established him as a hero in my mind. After the initial shock of the tragedy is over, Lorne and Erica find themselves drawn to each other. However, they both had some personal issues to work through before they reached their happy ending.

Erica was a very easy character to like. She deeply cares for her friends and family and will go to great lengths to protect them. She’s also very smart and motivated. She struck me as one of those people who always needs to be doing something. I have a feeling that whatever Erica puts her mind to, she’ll have no trouble accomplishing. Erica is also very resilient. While Ada’s death shook Erica to her core, she came to realize that life goes on and focused her energy into helping find Ada’s murderer.

Despite all Erica’s strengths, she’s in the midst of a crisis of faith. She’d been questioning the validity of her belief in God for a while, but Ada’s death has made her take a hard look at her faith. I loved that Erica’s search for God didn’t come in any hard and fast answers. Instead she found solace in prayer and in her family and friends who formed a tight knit community of believers who were there to listen and support her when she needed them.

Lorne was a true hero from the moment he entered Erica’s life. Not only did I admire his act of bravery, but he was also very caring and tender toward Erica. Like Erica, Lorne has issues with his faith. His life had been marked by tragedy from an early age and the war was just the most recent horror he’d had to endure. Lorne had left God behind him a long time ago, but as the story progressed, Lorne began to realize that God never left him. As with Erica, there were no easy answers to Lorne’s questions. I really liked the fact that Erica’s family and friends are Christians who gently lead by example. Their lives aren’t perfect, but they all have a strong faith and are willing to open their hearts and homes to Lorne.

In the search for Ada’s murder, Erica and Lorne came across plenty of unsavory characters. They each had a main suspect who would certainly have fit the bill. I never thought either of their suspects were the true culprit. I was constantly searching through the secondary characters in an effort to solve the mystery before the story was over. However, I was truly surprised when the murderer was revealed. I won’t spoil the ending, but I must say that I felt like the revelation came out of the blue. My only complaint with this is, when the story ended, I didn’t feel as if I truly understood the killer’s motivation for taking Ada’s life.

One of the things I most enjoyed about the story was the romance between Erica and Lorne. They were attracted to each other almost immediately, but were unwilling to act on it. Erica had just lost her best friend and couldn’t begin to entertain thoughts of romance. Lorne felt he wasn’t worthy of Erica’s affections. However, as the story progressed, the connection between them slowly began to grow. I liked that they never rushed into anything. They went on some lovely dates and really got to know each other. It was a delight to see them excited and full of butterflies at the thought of dancing together, or simply seeing each other again.

I enjoyed reading Burning Hearts. It is an inspirational story full of love and hope. Anyone who loves a good mystery paired with a sweet romance should certainly pick up a copy of Burning Hearts.