I had the pleasure of reading an Advance Review Copy (ARC) of Garden of Her Heart by USA Today Bestselling Author Shanna Hatfield. This new title releases on National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, December 7, 2016.
Shanna set this new sweet, clean romance against a challenging backdrop: World War II, during a time of distrust and fear in the United States, particularly against citizens of Japanese heritage. Miko Nishimura’s great-grandparents emigrated to the United States in the early 1880s. She and her family identify as Americans, feel fiercely patriotic, and struggle with the true-to-history circumstances forced upon them (internment of Japanese Americans). To add to the conflict, in 1942, interracial marriage was illegal in Oregon (and many other states). Shanna’s introduction to the novel explains many of the horrific prejudices, abuse, and mistreatment suffered by Americans of Japanese descent during the volatile time following the attack on Pearl Harbor. This was a dark and painful era in United States history, and I believe Shanna treated these sensitive subjects with grace and compassion.
I very much enjoyed learning who Kamiko was as her story unfolded. A kind, gentle woman of exquisite manners who never expected hostility in the quiet farming community she grew up in, she’s unprepared for the difficult choice she must make: leave a helpless and hopelessly ill soldier to die alone, or willingly become a fugitive in order to save him. I immediately felt compassion for and appreciation of Miko’s determination to do the right thing. She wholly deserves a hero, and Captain Rock Laroux is a hero I’d love to meet, shake hands with, and express my appreciation to. He became that real, a genuine hero through the pages of the book. His integrity and protectiveness of those weaker or in jeopardy quickly won my heart. Rock is a good-ol’-American boy, whose love of the land, farming, wholesome and natural food, and doing the right thing for the right reasons might explain who he is, but watching his character unfold showed me ever so much more about him. Rock and Miko make an ideal match–two people whose love of their Oregon farms, family, heritage, and their country is surpassed only by their love of God. It was my genuine pleasure watching these two slowly come to recognize that friendship had become a love forged in the fire of adversity, a love solid and sturdy enough to last all of their lives.
This story has one of the scariest villains I’ve read in a long while. Sociopath, psychopath, and rotten to the core. After the first scene in Ness’s point of view, I was terrified of him and what he’d do.
As with all of Shanna’s books, the content is on the clean side of PG. Congratulations, Shanna, on a beautifully written start to a new series (Hearts of the War).
Garden of Her Heart is available everywhere eBooks are sold. You’ll find this title on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo. The preorder price is a fraction of the book’s value at just 99-cents as the book is full-length (253 pages). This is one book you won’t want to miss! Release day is coming right up (December 7, 2016), in just three days from the day this review was posted (December 4, 2016).
Don’t forget to return here on release day, December 7, 2016, for Shanna’s blog tour post about the gem of an idea that became this new title, Garden of Her Heart.
Copyright © 2016 Kristin Holt LC