Type: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Turquoise Morning Press
My Copy: Sent
Reviewed by: Pam
Emma’s falling in love with a man she’s never met, or has she? Emma has her reasons not to fall in love, but fate has other plans. When she finds a journal near Honey Creek lake, she sneaks a peek at the words of a stranger, but finds the heart of a hero instead. Soon she’s savoring every word, opening her heart to the man inside and her mind to possibilities she gave up long ago.out of reach.
Across town, Nicholas is devastated at the loss of his grandfather’s journal, one he’s written in since he left for Iraq a decade ago. The thought of a stranger mocking his words, or worse, someone from Honey Creek knowing his most intimate trials…. If his journal falls into the wrong hands, humiliation is sure to follow. But what if it fell into the right ones?
Honey Creek, Ohio is the perfect example of small town America, those that know you also know your secrets, unless you choose to keep very quiet, and those secrets become rumors. Emma Hastings is a photographer who has lived in this area most of her life, she lives quietly without making many waves and has put up walls that keep old friends out. Currently she is making a brochure of Honey Creek Lake and this summer she has been taking pictures all around the area. Her best friend Heather is a local nurse and works as a lifeguard in the summer, Heather is the only person she has let inside those walls since she came back to town.
While taking pictures near the old willow tree, Emma finds a journal. It looks old and weathered and it has U.S. Army 1948 written on it, the first few pages truly look like they were written sixty years ago, however once you get past those, the rest of the journal is written in bold black ink with different handwriting.
Emma is curious about the journal but she wants to do the right thing and turn it in to the lodge. She gets waylaid by Heather and then flustered when she sees Nicholas Fenton, a man she has seen lately everywhere she goes, and leaves before she tells anyone. Later, Heather comes by for their standing dinner date, but Emma has been so engrossed in the journal that she is not ready and is embarrassed that she is caught reading it. Emma tells Heather about what she has read, he was in Iraq for three years, longer than he should have been and six months before he came home his writing becomes vague and in the next entry he was home. Emma is not sure what happened.
While reading she finds out they share the same love of many things, of backyard BBQ’s and the fun that comes with friends and family, of small town living and good food. And as silly as it sounds, she thinks she is falling in love with a book.
Nicholas is angry with himself for losing the journal; he wonders who is reading it and what they are thinking. He feels a little embarrassed since he has written down feelings that not many have heard him ever express.
Dr Kennedy is a therapist in town and Nicholas has been going to her each week to talk. They talk about many things, she feels he has not truly dealt with his PTSD; he thought he was handling it fine. He tells her about losing the journal and about the woman he keeps seeing. Dr Kennedy finds this interesting, a little break in his shell.
He has lived here all his life and thought he knew everyone, yet lately he has noticed a woman taking pictures around the lake, he asks his friends and they tell him her name is Emma and that she is from around here but is younger than they are. She went away to college but came home early because something happened to her, there are rumors but not many know why. After seeing each other everywhere, their mutual friend Jackson introduces them, and they start to form a friendship and enjoy each other’s company, go to dinner and the Strawberry Festival.
Five years ago Emma had a heart attack which is why she came home early from college. She has both physical scars and emotional ones. She rarely talks to anyone about what happened to her and has shut out the world, only letting her friend Heather in, and there are even times when she shuts her out. Dr Kennedy is also Emma’s therapist. As both Emma and Nicholas visit each week she is putting the pieces together and tells Nicholas to find out what Emma is reading.
Nicholas comes over unannounced one night and he sees her scars, she gets angry and pushes him away. Later, Heather comes out to talk to him and tells him that by tomorrow as long as everyone acts like nothing happened, Emma will be back to normal. While talking to Heather, he starts to put things together and realizes that Emma is the one who has his journal. He is not sure what to think about it; however he does know that the feelings she has for the writer of the journal are what he wants her to feel about him.
He goes to find her the next day and she finally tells him about her heart attack. She trusts him and tells him she does not want to find the author of the journal anymore, she just wants to return it. As she goes to the lodge she finds out that Nicholas is the owner. She is angry and feels betrayed.
After some soul searching and another visit to Dr Kennedy, Emma makes some decisions about her future, she is ready to reconnect with the friends and family she has pushed away, this includes Nicholas. Nicholas also visits Dr Kennedy, she mentions that maybe Emma would be open to something written from his heart; he picks up the journal and writes what he is feeling and drops it off at Emma’s house with high hopes.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is a wonderful romance that celebrates small town living to its fullest. I enjoyed the story and I will admit to crying several times as both Emma and Nicholas deal with life issues while finding friendship and love. Emma and Nicholas had some terrible things happen to them in the past and they are having a hard time moving on, years that they should have enjoyed with family and friends; they choose to cut themselves off emotionally. The story is emotional and so interesting that I wanted to read it in one sitting, however life gets in the way; I wanted to know how it was going to end. I loved the secondary characters, Heather is a hoot and a great friend to Emma and Dr Kennedy is also amusing as she put the pieces together. I enjoy how the author celebrates small town living and the fact the both Emma and Nicholas love their town, their way of life and embrace it. It was one of many things that brought them together. This is the first book I have read from this author but it will not be the last.
I give Written on Her Heart by Julie Anne Lindsey 4 stars!