Review: A Heart of Time by Shari J. Ryan

Note: This ARC was provided by Sassy Savvy Fab PR in exchange for an honest review.

A Heart of Time is a standalone adult contemporary romance novel from bestselling author Shari J. Ryan and is the story of a man named Hunter Cole, who at twenty-five, finds himself suddenly a widower and the father of a newborn daughter his wife Eleanor--his Ellie--told him to name Olive. Five years pass and Hunter continues to mourn his wife's passing, but he tries to make sure that he's there for little Olive and gives her everything that she could ever need. The one thing he can't give her is her mother to help her mark the firsts in her life, just like her first day of kindergarten. It's on that very day at the bus stop of their new neighborhood that Olive meets her new best friend Lana, who just happens to be the six-year-old daughter of their neighbor Charlotte Drake, a recent divorcee and single mother. Over time, Charlotte and Hunter form a strong friendship, and feelings develop between them. But Hunter hasn't told Charlotte about the anonymous letters he's received over the years from the recipient of Ellie's heart nor has he mentioned the mysterious girl he's bumped into at the gardens where the tree that has his and Ellie's names carved on is at. When the time comes, will Hunter choose to follow Ellie's heart or his own?

This was a touching story about letting go, finding love, and moving forward. The idea of a man struggling to deal with the loss of the only woman he's ever loved and whom he believed he would spend the rest of his life with was fertile ground for an angst-filled story and that's certainly what we get here. There are light moments as well, especially courtesy of the two young girls, Olive Cole and Lana Drake, and Hunter's younger brother, AJ. Hunter has conflicting feelings for a great deal of the story, and it does get frustrating at times, especially since there are moments where you know that he knows the choice he's making is based on selfish motives but he does them anyway. Charlotte deserves credit for doing what was necessary to protect her own feelings, not willing to become a martyr, but the woman also kept one thing too many from Hunter, so that did have me shaking my head at her actions more than once. The wisest character in the entire story had to be Olive--who also happened to be the youngest one around--because the girl was more perceptive than you would expect a child that age to be, and while you may think it impossible for a child to say some of the stuff she did, I know how kids can surprise you with their insight.

The story played out well, although it did hop forward by varying monthly increments, so there were moments that I felt as if I had missed out on something, because it's clear something developed along the way but you don't get to experience it along with the characters. I pretty much correctly guessed the twist about one particular character who's introduced several chapters into the story, but I had no idea how many twists this book had, and it got to the point where I felt there were just too many of them. I get that they showed how certain people and certain events were tied together, but I don't think that it was absolutely necessary for everyone and everything to be tied to one another because then it begins to feel improbable. Maybe particular paths were meant to be crossed and particular people were meant to touch the lives of particular others. I believe in fate but you know the saying about too much of a good thing? That's what happened here. Too many fateful moments, too many secrets, too many lies of omission. Don't get me wrong. This was a good book and one that I was able to finish in one sitting. For the first half, I was all in with Hunt and Charlotte. The second half was iffy, which is why A Heart of Time gets four stars. ♥

Release Date: 18 May 2016

Date Read: 18 May 2016

Learn more about Shari J. Ryan.

Purchase A Heart of Time on Amazon.


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