The Heartbreaker of Echo Pass
by Maisey Yates
Release Date: June 29, 2021
Publisher: HQN Books
Book #12 in the Gold Valley series
Number of Pages: 384
Source: Amazon Pre-Order
Ages 16 and up
CW: brief mention of suicide, fatal fire
Can Gold Valley’s wallflower heal a damaged cowboy’s broken heart?
Shy Iris Daniels is on a mission to shake up her life. She’s sick of being underestimated, and she’s got a new business plan to prove it. The one thing she didn’t factor in is her new landlord, Griffin Chance. The gruff mountain man isn’t what she expected, but Iris recognizes the pain in his eyes. Yet the attraction he ignites is much more unfamiliar…and might be the perfect chance for Iris to embrace the adventure she yearns for.
Griffin Chance knows firsthand how senseless the cards dealt in life can be. He wouldn’t have isolated himself on a remote mountain ridge if he didn’t. Innocent Iris craves excitement, and he’s a man who thought he’d forgotten how to feel. But when their connection grows deeper than either of them anticipated, Griffin has to decide if he can put down the pain of his past and step into a love he never believed possible.
Oh boy, this was a doozy. I cannot believe I didn’t connect with Iris in the first couple of books that dealt with the Daniels family. It wasn’t until the last book to deal with these siblings, The Last Christmas Cowboy, that I felt a connection to Iris. I even mentioned in my review that it surprised me. Little did I know that Iris was just hiding her true self in those other stories.
Iris doesn’t really let her family get to know her, no matter how close they all are. She has to be the “good” one, the strong one, the one everyone can rely on to keep her head and get things done. Iris has some mini flashbacks, remembering conversations with her mom from when she was young, that really helped me to understand her in a way I wasn’t able to previously. They broke my heart. They also helped me to realize how much her family takes her for granted. Of course, that’s because she never spoke up for herself in the past and asserted her need to be someone other than their caregiver. But once she does start on her path to independence, I’m not crazy about how they all react. It should be the wake-up call they need to see how much they’ve taken advantage of her over the years. Yet it takes some major missteps before it all sinks in for the other siblings.
Griffin has been through some very bad times. He’s hidden himself away for years. That’s not an exaggeration. It’s been years since he’s seen his family, and he rarely contacts them by phone. He only goes to town for supplies when absolutely necessary. He is the very definition of a hermit. Griffin hides himself away in his small cabin in the woods in the mountains and goes months at a time without seeing another human. He likes it that way, but it’s not healthy for him. Not the way he’s doing things. Griffin is wallowing. He’s alive but not living. Imagine his surprise when Iris, someone he knows nothing about and has never heard of before, shows up at his remote doorstep with cookies. I loved it! Griffin is a grump. And in the beginning, he’s not even a loveable grump or a grump with a heart of gold. Just a grump.
The genius thing about pairing Iris and Griffin is that neither knows anything about the other. Griffin is flummoxed by Iris’s somewhat low self-esteem. He doesn’t understand her offhand comments about her sisters when she seems to put herself down while raising them up. He hasn’t met these people. He doesn’t have preconceived ideas about who they are or how they should act. He only sees Iris. A beautiful, smart, hardworking woman who amazes him and has brought him out of his shell.
There is amazing chemistry between Griffin and Iris. But there is so much angst and heartache for both of them individually that they can’t help but bring that to the table when they start their relationship. I cannot tell you how much Iris broke my heart, over and over. But, eventually, she is able to see her own worth. Not just for Griffin, but for herself. Iris finally gives herself permission to be loved with no strings attached. Not because she is doing something for someone, not because she is taking care of someone, just because she is Iris.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Maisey Yates always makes me cry. I cried a lot in this story. Some sad tears, some happy tears, some tears of pain, some tears of joy. This book touched my heart in so many ways.