This Heart of Mine by Susan Elizabeth Phillips Release Date: December 22, 2000 Publisher: Harper Collins Book #5 in the Chicago Stars series Number of pages: 432 Kindle edition Source: MCL Contemporary Romance M/F Rating: XXX Read 5/16/17 to 5/18/17
While I missed the Bonner family in this book, I’m glad the story has circled back to the Chicago Stars. Not that Dream a Little Dream was totally outside the Stars family, just one small degree away really, but still. One of the things I really loved about this story is a lot of it takes place in Michigan. (Sorry if you thought they’d be in Chicago the whole time.) Since I was born and raised in Michigan and moved back to Michigan when my husband got out of the Navy, I obviously have a soft spot for this great and beautiful state.
As I said, it was great to get back to the original bones of this series. I enjoyed seeing Phoebe and Dan again and seeing how their family has shaped up over the years. As for the heroine of this story, I enjoyed Molly’s teenage antics in the first book, It Had to Be You. I’m happy to say I still enjoy her antics. Although, in the beginning she does something terrible that 17 years after the original publication date would NOT be okay by anyone’s standards. In fact, I must give those of you reading this review a trigger warning if you are sensitive to content about sexual abuse as this scene has the potential to really bring bad feelings to light. As usual, when it comes to such things, I do my best to look at what I’m reading through the lens of its original publication date. The subject is addressed but, again, not in the way it would be in 2017.
I have found that I’m usually quite frustrated with Susan Elizabeth Phillips’ heroes at the beginning of her books. They are often insensitive brutes. I can’t say that Kevin is a totally sensitive and touchy feely guy, but he never really seemed too outrageously terrible to me. Maybe it has to do with the above-mentioned thing Molly does that puts her in a much worse light, but I don’t think so. I’m sure it has a little something to do with his part in Nobody’s Baby But Mine, yet not totally. I think, in some ways, we can see the “why” of his attitude more quickly than we have been able to with the other heroes throughout the series.
Molly is a writer and I love the little snippets from her books and magazine articles that begin each chapter. It helped me to get to know Molly and Kevin even more, believe it or not. And, although this wasn’t a two in one book to the same extent the last two books were, these snippets also help with our understanding of the other (much less focused on) couple in the story.
Speaking of which…I absolutely love how the character of Lilly is portrayed. Her body issues, celebrity or not, are so real to women. Especially women over 40. The thing this story helps us to see is that her issues are exactly that, her issues. Nobody else sees her the way she sees herself. (Well, she is from Hollywood so maybe some people do, but not normal people.) There are some people who will even find the extra pounds and lines to give her more character and make her sexier. It was great to have that story run throughout the book in many subtle (and some not-so-subtle) ways.
I can’t believe I didn’t discover this author until this year. I’m loving this series and she’s quickly becoming a go-to author for me.