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I received this book for free from NetGalley. This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.Heart Land Published by Howard Books on July 17, 2018
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A story of reconnection, lost love, and the power of faith, Heart Land follows a struggling fashion designer back to her small Iowa hometown as she tries to follow her dreams of success and finding true love.
Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.
Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.
And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.
But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland?
Welcome to another fun post in a series of summer guest posts on Brooke Blogs featuring authors and bloggers! Thank you to Cris from The Biblio Blonde for stopping by today to share her review of Heart Landby Kimberly Stuart. Be sure to leave a comment and let us know what you think of the post!
Hello, readers! I’m Cris, and I’m thrilled to be posting on Brooke Blogs! I’m fairly new to blogging (I just started The Biblio Blonde this spring), but I’ve been an avid reader for years. I tend to favor women’s fiction, general literary fiction, sweet romance, and cozy mysteries. And I *love* sharing notes on what I’m reading!
A women’s fiction author I’ve really enjoyed recently is Kimberly Stuart. She creates funny, sweet, and very relatable books and characters. We also happen to share a home state, and it’s fun to watch a fellow Iowan find success…plus, I love it when her books mention our mutual stomping grounds! Today I’m reviewing Stuart’s latest release, Heart Land.
You know that old saying, life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans? That’s Grace’s current situation. With her big dreams of a fashion career in NYC lying in tatters on the floor, she returns home to Iowa, and to a world she never thought she’d inhabit again. Between running into (quite literally) the one that got away, recovering from a broken dream, and figuring out how to build a new one, she has a lot of big decisions to make. (Not to mention a few messes to clean up!)
It was fun to follow Grace’s journey. Even though I know very little about the fashion world, I could picture the processes taking place, and imagine the feel of fabrics as the author was describing them. I also liked following the literal journey between New York and Iowa. When Grace was leaving the Des Moines airport, or others were talking about certain streets or visiting the Iowa State Fair… well, like I said: mutual stomping grounds! But you don’t have to be an Iowan to appreciate the themes here. The book was about so much more than big cities or small towns in any particular locale. It explores what it means to be a community in different ways.
This story is built on three things: humor, faith, and love.
• Humor abounds, both in situations for the characters and in the small details. (Like the part about not bothering with your flat iron during a humid Midwestern summer because your hair will spring out of control anyway? Girl, you’re singing my song!)
• Faith is a constant throughout the book… having faith in other people, but more so, exploring faith in God. If you don’t care for any mention of religion or faith at all in a fictional story, this may not be for you. It’s not a heavy theme, but it’s there. For me, it was a nice addition to the story… knowing there’s something bigger than myself to turn to is a comfort and a relief to me, and it was interesting to see how that theme applied to each character. (FYI, there also aren’t any sex scenes in this book… this is a sweet romance, so some kissing is as graphic as it gets. It’s flirty but chaste. Which means it’s entirely safe to recommend to anyone, including your sweet granny.)
• But the greatest of these is love. (I’ve read that somewhere before…) The love the characters in this story have for their community, for their passions, and for one another is what truly weaves the story.
Heart Land is available now, so you can go find this one and jump right in! If you’re looking for a good vacation read, or something to devour sitting on your porch with a glass of lemonade, this one is highly recommended. It’s sweet, it’s sassy and fun, and it celebrates the small-town girl in all of us. Happy reading!
About Cris, The Biblio Blonde
Cris is a forty-something wife and mom, and a lifelong resident of the Midwestern US. Great loves include dogs, coffee, books, writing, and binge watching more Netflix than she likes to admit. She blogs at www.thebiblioblonde.com and is currently writing her first novel.
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