Review: My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

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My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade can be purchased here

About the Book: 

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?

My Review:

Have you ever had that feeling of euphoria when finishing the last page and closing the back cover of a book? Well, I have—and this afternoon I just added another book to my “favorite novels” list as I again experience that glowing sensation of finishing a beloved story. As sad as I am to close the chapter on Kate and Matt’s love story, the smile I wear upon my face five minutes after finishing My Stubborn Heart attests to its charm.

I met Becky Wade a few months ago the American Christian Fiction Writers conference in St. Louis, Missouri. Her warm demeanor and efforts to welcome me into her circle of author friends made me feel a part of the ACFW at a time when the bustling crowd of published and pre-published writers could easily overwhelm a new member of the organization. Out of curiosity of my new friend’s writing abilities, I picked up her book at the conference bookstore; out of a desire to continue finding new Christian authors’ books to read, I ordered every other of Becky’s books when I returned home. Those decisions are two of the best ones I have made in 2014 regarding my “to read” list.

Another ACFW friend of mine, Casey Herringshaw, recommended My Stubborn Heart to me when I perused Becky’s books that day in the ACFW conference bookstore. Casey is a prolific book reviewer and beloved member of the ACFW, so I knew her recommendation of My Stubborn Heart would be worthwhile to pursue. After finishing this book, I proudly and whole-heartedly proclaim that Casey’s recommendation was correct. I loved every page of My Stubborn Heart and will share this novel with anyone who enjoys romance novels, especially ones that fall under the inspirational Christian genre.

Becky Wade knows romance inside and out—from the characters opposing personalities, to a passionate and deep connection, to internal struggles, to humor and wit, and supporting light-hearted secondary characters, My Stubborn Heart is a gem of a novel that shines bright amidst the Christian romance genre. The romance between Kate and Matt, punctuated with grief and loneliness, is believable and true. The other aspects of the relationship—that grief over the loss of someone special, the regret of past decisions, the uncertainty of the future, amongst others—brings realism to My Stubborn Heart that most romance novels do not achieve. Matt and Kate do not find each other with ease—Wade makes her characters work for their relationship and find themselves before they can have their relationship.

My Stubborn Heart is a Christian romance and the novel does center around its characters’ faith. Kate is a Christian and holds strong to her ideals and purpose, while Matt fights anger towards God after losing what he holds most dear. Wade treads the line of faith building beautifully without ever creating characters who preach or come to God without ever experiencing suffering or pain. Kate teaches Matt about God slowly and carefully; she struggles with her faith when her plans change unexpectedly, and she follows God despite His plans differing from her own. Matt’s relationship with God does not follow a cookie-cutter pattern—he wonders and doubts about God’s decisions, and his rebuilding of the relationship is just as lifelike as any questioning Christian would make it.

Romance novels at times tend to be filled with clichés or overly-sentimental scenarios or dialog. My Stubborn Heart is the opposite of those novels. While a Christian romance, My Stubborn Heart still retains the authenticity of a true adult novel. I loved Wade’s story for this reason, because at times Christian contemporary novels are too sweet to be a real. Kate throws in comments about her appearance, just as many women casually discuss their bodies with their girl friends; the attraction between Kate and Matt is palpable and filled with tension; and occasionally there are some words thrown in that some inspirational authors shy away from. All of these aspects of My Stubborn Heart bring a realism to Wade’s novel that bring readers deep into the story.

My Stubborn Heart earns a high rating. Wade has two other inspirational Christian contemporary romance novels published, with a third releasing in summer 2015. I already own the first two books in the Porter series and eagerly anticipate her newest release.

Rating: 4/5 stars

 

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