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Tuesday, January 13, 2009:
"This Heart of Mine" by Susan Elizabeth Phillips - review (2001)

Molly Somerville loves her career as the creator of the Daphne the Bunny children's book series, but the rest of her life could use some improvement. She has a reputation for trouble that started even before she gave away her fifteen-million-dollar inheritance. Then there's her long-term crush on the quarterback for the Chicago Stars football team her sister owns—that awful, gorgeous Kevin Tucker, a man who can't even remember Molly's name!

One night Kevin barges into Molly's not-quite-perfect life and turns it upside down. Unfortunately, the Ferrari-driving riving, poodle-hating jock isn't as shallow as she wishes he were, and she soon finds herself at a place called Wind Lake. Surrounded by paintbox cottages, including a charming old bed-and-breakfast, Molly and Kevin battle their attraction and each other as they face one of life's most important lessons. Sometimes love hurts, sometimes it makes you mad as hell, and sometimes—if you're lucky—it can heal in a most unexpected way.

This book started out very promising for me. Writer Molly Somerville is all grown up and nursing a massively unwanted crush on football star Kevin Tucker, yet he doesn't even know she's alive. When Molly is feeling restless she goes up to her sister's luxurious cabin in Wisconsin without telling anyone in her family, and discovers, yep you guessed it, Kevin Tucker is also staying there. Sparks fly as they banter back and forth, and Kevin still doesn't know what her name is. Yet he sees she's a bit adventurous and she discovers he's smarter than she gave him credit for.

But then Molly does something that makes me dislike her very much, and it has shades of Jane Darlington all over it, but for very different reasons. It's like she's only listening to the devil on her shoulder and completely ignoring the voice of reason, and it made me very angry with her. Then, as if I didn't already have a problem with her, she lies to Kevin about something very important. At this point I seriously wanted to bash the book against the wall. But like any glutton for punishment, I read on.

Anyway, Kevin and Molly end up getting married with the full intention of getting an annullment later down the line. Kevin thinks that Molly is just a spoiled heiress playing at being a grown-up, not realizing she gave away her fortune some time ago. And Kevin is a man who avoids getting close to anyone. Shortly after they are married, they suffer a tragedy, and both work through it in different ways. It hits Molly hard, and she goes into a depression. Kevin drags her out of it by bringing her up to Michigan to the place he spent his summers when he was a young boy. His parents are gone, and it only holds sad, lonely memories for him, so when it falls into his hands, he decides to sell it.
But Molly falls in love with it - it's so much like Nightingale Woods, the world she's created in her Daphne the Bunny books that she's enchanted. It slowly brings her back to life, and she heals. Kevin, on the other hand, takes longer to really grow up. But together they slowly find a love that Molly's always wanted and Kevin didn't even know he was looking for....
My thoughts:
This book, well, mostly it gave me a headache. It started out great, and then it went downhill after what Molly did. But then it got better and I was started to like where it was headed until the end when I thought Molly was being ridiculous and immature. I found myself wanting to smack her, and then Kevin. And this was not the smart ass football player we see in "Nobody's Baby But Mine". I kinda missed that guy. A lot.
I hate that I didn't like this book very much. I wanted to. I liked Molly in "It Had To Be You" but now she's twenty-seven going on seventeen. There were things about her that I admired, and I loved how near the end she found it within herself to fight for her stories when pressure from a radical group has her publisher urging her to make some significant changes to her beloved books. But then she'd play this games with Kevin that drove me nuts. Yes, she deserved her Great Love Story, like the kind her sister had, but the way she went about it was just silly to me.
As I mentioned, I missed the sexy jerk Kevin used to be. Sure, now he's what, 33, 34? Too old to be acting so cocky. But he's lost his spark. He's dealing with having his real mother coming into his life. I hated that Phoebe, Molly's sister, made him choose between Molly and his career. Molly saw this as proof of her sister's love. I thought it was stupid manipulation because of course Kevin was going to choose Molly! But I almost wish he would have chosen the Stars.
I'm going to stop here before I get any more irritated while thinking about this book. Maybe when I finish the rest of my SEP books I'll go back and give it another go. But for right now, I'm in the middle of "Match Me If You Can" and I'm liking it quite a bit so far. Hopefully it stays that way.
Rating: ***1/2 out of *****

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  1. Boy you are on a reading binge with SEP books huh? Sorry you didn't like this one that much.

  2. Aww this is my favorite SEP CS book, I'm sorry you didnt' like it for me, I didn't care for Molly as much as I did Kevin.

  3. I've never read SEP.

  4. I'm glad I'm not the only one who was annoyed by Molly. I left a comment earlier when you started this series and, I too, couldn't get over what Molly did. It' annoyed/pissed me off so much I couldn't hardly stand her. I love SEP but that's the last one I've read. I need to start her books again. Molly's character just turned me off so much that I haven't picked up any of her books since.

    I really enjoyed Match Me if You Can..!

  5. See, I was able to move past what Molly did because I felt she really suffered for her actions. The pain she felt and what she had to deal with were really more than enough to make up for her stupidity, I think.

    I do hear what you're saying about her playing games with Kev, but I thought it worked in the context of the story. She thought she was helping him and honestly, he needed it.

    Overall I enjoyed it a lot - probably more than you did. But I do see where you're coming from.

  6. Wow you're really all over the SEP's aren't you? Sorry you didn't like this one. I think I'll eventually read it just because I want to find out what the hell Molly did! lol

  7. Your SEP binge is going to force me to re-read. My TBR mountain will be angry if I start pulling out stuff I've already read. LOL

    I liked this one but it isn't one of my faves. I totally remember wanting to read some of Molly's books, though. I think SEP could totally write kids' stuff if she wanted.

    I love Match Me If You Can, btw. :o)

  8. Barbara, I'm compelled to read the SEP's all at once, but it's a good thing. I'm enjoying the continuity. If only I liked this book better...

    Wena, I know a few readers who claim this one as their fave. I was hoping I would too, but it depressed me. I do plan on going back to it, but for now I'm moving on.

    Kelley, she does write wonderful contemporaries. They remind me a bit of Lori Foster with the focus on family.

    Mollie, I think my expectations for this one were so high that it was doomed to fail. My bad. But what she did to Kevin made me so mad LOL. Like he said, if it would have been the other way around... a double standard I didn't like one bit.

    Holly, I think Kevin ended up feeling the way you did, which is why he couldn't stay angry at her. I do feel she suffered, and I ached for her for that, but it still doesn't change my feelings about what she did. And I get that Kevin needed a nudge (okay a shove!) to get him to wake up and be a man. I appreciated SEP's intentions but it just didn't gel for me.

    Tracy, it's been fun reading them all in a row. I guess I can't expect them all to be winners :)

    C2, re-reads are one of life's greatest pleasures *g*

  9. This one was the beginning of the end for SEP and me. I really didn't like it at all!! I read two after this one which I didn't like either and that was all she wrote. I did like the little world she created though.

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