Blurb: Kate Donovan is burned out on work, worn down by her dating relationships, and in need of an adventure. When her grandmother asks her to accompany her to Redbud, Pennsylvania, to restore the grand old house she grew up in, Kate jumps at the chance.
Upon her arrival in Redbud, Kate meets Matt Jarreau, the man hired to renovate the house. Kate can’t help being attracted to him, drawn by both his good looks and something else she can’t quite put her finger on. He’s clearly wounded–hiding from people, from God, and from his past. Yet Kate sets her stubborn heart on bringing him out of the dark and back into the light… whether he likes it or not.
When the stilted, uncomfortable interactions between Kate and Matt slowly shift into something more, is God finally answering the longing of her heart? Or will Kate be required to give up more than she ever dreamed?
I liked My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade more than I did the other book I’ve read by her. The entire story was more fleshed out, especially with the gaggle of side-characters. I loved the grandmother and her group of friends – their humor, their spunk – even the little romance between two of them. I liked Kate a lot – her job as a social worker reminded me of my husband’s work so she had my instant empathy. And Matt was an interesting character with understandable wounds. When I first read the book, I had recently been introduced to hockey (Go Rapid City Rush! 😉 ) and so I found the hockey aspect interesting, too.
Things were a little hot and heavy in the romance department. Not as severe as in my previous review but most of their dates consisted of going to Matt’s house and, again, I just felt like they didn’t have many qualms about putting themselves in temptation’s way. There was a married woman who thought Matt was “hot” and went out of her way to mention it every. single. scene. It didn’t bother me the first time but I didn’t need to be reminded constantly. There was also a fixation on name brands to describe what everyone wore. It worked but I feel it will date the book quickly and it also just annoyed me as I couldn’t care less what brand something is. I’d rather know someone was wearing a polo than Abercrombie.
I have seen a few reviews upset that the grandmother and her senior friends had a weekly poker game. The gambling was all in fun and extremely low-key so it didn’t bother me at all. The only cursing I noticed was by Matt in the beginning when he had fallen away from his faith, was extremely frustrated by something (like hitting his thumb with a hammer) and “cursed under his breath”. He was also the only one who did any drinking, which I don’t think is wrong anyway, although he did do it to purposely get drunk and numb his pains (again, though, he was fallen away and struggling with his faith at the time).
Which brings me to the only real issue I had with the book. The things above were small enough for me to ignore, especially as they were more personal taste than anything. But the faith aspect… See, Kate prays a lot in the book. Like a lot a lot. She prays for a husband, she prays for Matt’s healing – which was awesome and written very naturally since she’s a Christian with a strong faith. But then she hears God’s voice. Which – okay – sometimes God does speak to us that way. Though I’m more one to also cling to scripture and the leanings of the Spirit – a combination of factors to be sure I am in God’s will. But she hears His voice and because she’s so full of faith (as she has been pretty much the entire book) she cries and then obeys. And then she immediately proceeds to have a pouty-whiny fit over it. In the space of two pages she goes from a strong picture of unwavering faith to instant, “Are you happy God? You got Your way, I did what You asked and now I’m going to sulk about it.” Which could have worked and been a strong growing moment for her – but it was too fast and then she got over it too instantly and the reasons for the entire obedience/sulk situation never made any sense to me anyway. (Spoilery explanation – highlight to read: So God’s purpose for Matt is to play hockey but for no sensible reason he won’t so God tells Kate to dump him, and she goes home to have a fit that God handed her the perfect man and then took him away, while Matt goes back to hockey and then Matt shows up to beg her to take him back and God tells Kate, “Yes” now that Matt is back in hockey? Huh?) The entire situation just felt manufactured to me to rush the ending.
What kind of angsty situations in books have felt manufactured to you?
Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.