Hearts by Brittany Eden: A Book Review
Hearts is a stand-alone novel of lyrical prose that combines a sweet contemporary romance with a whimsical fairytale reimagining creating a timeless tale that will plant seeds of hope and healing in your heart.
Interwoven elements provide allusion to Alice in Wonderland, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Peter Pan. These nods to beloved fairytale classics create a whimsical mood. Altogether, Hearts is a great novel debut for Brittany Eden’s Heartbooks series.
Eighteen-year-old pencil artist Elizabeth Rhodes is on the cusp of a breakthrough art commission that could cement her future career: the debut of her drawings at L’étoile dans les Ténèbres, the social calendar’s biggest art auction hosted by renowned art collector and gracious philanthropist Madame Penelope Garcon.
Concealing her true identity as the mysterious artist Briar Rose—whose name and fame she inherited at the deathbed request of her beloved Aunt—Elizabeth accepts the terms her dapper and elderly benefactor Sterling Figgleston negotiates for the debut of Briar Rose’s new series, Hearts.
When the mental illness she’s been hiding threatens to expose her charade to the boy she’s loved since childhood, and with her estranged parents slated to make an appearance at L’étoile dans les Ténèbres, will Elizabeth find the courage to break the curse and open her heart, or will she lose her one chance at true love by revealing her heart’s darkest secrets?
Praise for Hearts by Brittany Eden
“…It sparkles with hauntingly gorgeous prose, a deliciously swoony romance, and sheds light on matters of the heart and mind often left bereft in corners unattended. A poignant, timeless tale for the ages.” —AJ SKELLY, bestselling author of The Wolves of Rock Falls and Magik Prep Academy series
“Hearts slowly and surely, like the unfolding of a breathless romance, captured my own heart… Reminiscent of Caroline George and Amanda Dykes’ masterful storytelling, Hearts is not to be missed.” —CAITLIN MILLER, author of The Memories We Painted and Our Yellow Tape Letters: A WWII Novel
Some of My Favorite Quotes
- “Maybe the sunset is the start of heaven.”
- “Does anyone else see the world differently and feel like an outsider to anything bright and beautiful?”
- “They wondered what I wanted to do when I grew up. They never asked who I wanted to be.”
- “Just like the promise in the colors of the rainbow, there’s more to me than shades in pencil because he’s brought me back from the shadow.”
- “Do something with your life that makes you forget to drink your tea.”
- “A single degree of difference can take you to an entirely different star.”
- “The ending of one story leaves room for another story to take up the narrative.”
My Thoughts on Hearts by Brittany Eden
Why I Love This Book
I enjoyed this contemporary romance with its sweet love story. Elizabeth’s journey reminds us that even if we feel broken, our hearts can still love and accept love in return. Her love story whispers a needed reminder that without shadows the light would not be the beautiful thing it is.
Some of my favorite elements, which others will also enjoy, include long lost friends, secret identities, mental health representation, passive aggressive lemon cake served posthumously, and more.
Brittany Eden does a good job illustrating mental health struggles. Elizabeth’s struggles demonstrate the toll anxiety and depression can have throughout one’s life. Our heroine struggles with obsessive compulsions, panic attacks, insomnia, and low self-esteem. Yet, as is true in life, Elizabeth is more than her ailments and her sickness. Readers are shown that though healing is not linear, healing CAN and WILL happen. Our hearts may shatter, but they can mend, too.
God’s Redeeming Love
My absolute favorite thing about this book is that the love shown within this narrative is a reflection of God’s love for us all. Elizabeth learns through her personal journey that though she thought she was abandoned and forgotten, she was never left alone. The granter of redeeming love doesn’t care about your hurt, your brokenness, your wrongs. You are loved just as you are, and through that love you will be made whole. You will be restored. And you will become an awe-aspiring beacon of light sharing your beauty with those needing refuge from their own shadows.
Reminiscent of a Favorite Childhood Read of Mine
In addition to shining light on mental health, Brittany’s story was full of nostalgia for me personally. Elizabeth’s talent as an artist and her unique views of the world remind me of the character Hollis. Hollis Woods is the main character in the middle grade novel Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff (which is one of my favorite books ever).
The lyrical prose is mostly beautiful and there are so many parts that are quotable. However, though I enjoy the lyrical prose, at times it creates confusion for me as a reader. In a few places, the prose teeters on being flowery. This paired with time jumps between early chapters results in needing to reread several parts to comprehend the story. In addition, the mystery surrounding Elizabeth’s secret from her childhood becomes more repetitive and less intriguing over time. However, things do pick back up at the climax of Elizabeth’s story. Despite elements that were not necessarily my favorite cup of tea, Hearts is a solid clean romance for adults (and older young adult readers with parent discretion). I love the hope that shines through the novel and the reminder that brighter days are ahead.
Overall, I give Hearts by Brittany Eden 4 stars. I highly recommend this novel to fans of contemporary romance and nonmagical fairytale reimaginings.
Where to Find Hearts by Brittany Eden
Hearts will be released on June 6, 2023. You can pre-order now through Amazon. Currently, if you pre-order the book, then you can gift an e-copy to a friend! Find more details about this pre-order promotion on Brittany’s website. Tune in next week for an interview with author Brittany Eden! And check out her post on overcoming writer’s block here.
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