Where My Heart Breaks by Ivy Sinclair
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
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If there were a course in screwing up your life, Kate Spivey would get an A+.
Trust is in short supply for Kate at the start of the summer before her senior year of college. Her parents sentenced her to spend it under the watchful eye of her aunt at the famous Willoughby Inn. It was further proof that she was a prisoner in, and not the decision maker of, her life. Nothing she does is good enough to prove that she learned from the mistakes of her past.
Almost immediately, Kate finds that her new summer home holds another person who understands the unfairness of her situation better than most. Reed Black has had his own share of tragedy and regrets, but instead of trying to fight his reputation, he embraced it.
Sparks fly between Kate and Reed, but his mixed signals remind Kate that she needs to watch her step. He is one temptation she can't afford to indulge in, no matter how strong her attraction to him. If she isn't careful, she'll lose more than her heart.
Where My Heart Breaks held a lot of promise for me - I liked the idea of the girl with the troubled past and the town bad boy finding comfort in each other. Original? Perhaps not. But sometimes you just don't mess with a classic concept.
I really enjoyed the chemistry between Reed and Kate. As characters, however, I had very different feelings about them. I've mentioned before that I try not to be hard on female main characters, because it seems like readers often are. Kate was the type of character that absolutely refused to stand up for herself, and it was endlessly frustrating. Reed, on the other hand, I found very likable. He had his demons, but he was willing to accept horrible treatment by others because he felt so awful about his past. And he was a closet nerd. There is pretty much nothing hotter, as far as I'm concerned.
Speaking of the horrible treatment of Reed, it was shocking and horrifying how awful and judgmental the secondary characters were. They truly treated Kate and Reed awfully and the explanation of "it's a small town thing" felt too thin to explain just how bad it was. It made the fact that Kate catered to them even more upsetting and ridiculous - they certainly didn't deserve any consideration. The only decent people out of the lot were Kate's best friend, Millie, and aunt, Patrice (but that one definitely took while). Millie was encouraging without enabling and Patrice was overbearing but in that loving and well-meaning way of family, but even these two couldn't outweigh the abysmal showing of the rest of the cast.
I've mentioned that I was frustrated with Kate's struggle to please those around her. To make it clear, I'm not at all someone to advocate needless rebellion--in fact, I'm usually not endeared to characters who are too concerned with battling reasonable influences in their lives. But this was a case when the influences were far from reasonable and the main character was too exasperatingly spineless for words. I wanted to slap everyone--the people who were trying to control Kate this way and her for not standing her ground.
The most frustrating part was that after all of this struggle and lack of backbone, when she does finally assert herself nothing happens. I was expecting a blow up and subsequent introspective journey, but it was just like "Oh, okay, you've never stood up for yourself before, but obviously you're serious and we won't be able to change your mind." Really? That's just not how I see this scenario going down.
It was largely this ending that threw me. I could've dealt with the behavior of the characters if it had felt more consistent at the end, but it just felt to me like the floor fell out from beneath the story as it came to an end.
So, overall, I liked it. The progression of Kate and Reed's relationship had great levels of conflict, steam, and tension and showed a lot of promise, as did the premise itself. My rating suffered, however, from a) the general crappiness of the minor characters' treatment of others and b) the lack of climax. While I would recommend it as a good, quick NA read, I would also warn of a decent chance of frustration by the end.
Ivy Sinclair cut her romance teeth on classics like Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, An Affair to Remember, and Sabrina. She is a firm believer in true love, a happily ever after ending, and the medicinal use of chocolate to cure any ailment of the heart. Ivy’s guilty pleasures include sushi, endless Starbucks lattes, and wine. Readers of Ivy’s stories can expect smoldering sweet stories of romance that tug at the heartstrings.