Mae Whitman put it best when she said “Being a teenager is hard.” This (of course) being a universal fact known to all of us over the age of 25. As teenagers we are ruled by only a few things: our emotions and our parents, and both can swing or sway our decisions in ways we never fully recognize until we breeze past our formative years. Most of these issues aren’t life changing. More often than not they are tiny little speed bumps in our road to self discovery, but every once in a while they aren’t. And because of this (whatever decision it is we made) our life changes irrevocably.
“Reclaim My Heart” by Donna Fasano is a prime literary example of what happens when your teenage decisions have adult consequences, AND how forgiveness is more than just an 11 letter world.
Second chances make for great love stories, and it’s with my limited experience that very few can capture the ache of long-lost love quite like Fasano. Having read several of her books, I have come to appreciate her knack for storytelling. Unlike some authors (who will remain nameless) she doesn’t dwell, instead she pushes her characters to live. Yes, they have a past. Yes, that past is explained and validated (one way or the other) but it doesn’t become their existence. Because of this, her characters experience amazing growth, AND more growth equals stronger connections (for both the reader AND the characters.) For example: Tyne (the lead female in RMH) is forced to face several demons (her ex, her parents, a bigotry filled past.) Human nature (and popular opinion) compels us to hide from things that make us uncomfortable, but Tyne does the opposite…she stares it straight in the face. Allowing the protagonist the ability to move forward keeps the plot moving steadily forward as well. And, having a plot rich in Native American culture (which could potentially stall a story) forward movement is nothing less than mandatory.
Speaking of Native American culture…call me impressed by the amount of (not only research but) relevance it added to this novel. Long story short, Tyne’s core plot-line centers around her son’s sudden need for rebellious activity. His lack of respect, appreciation and overall attitude is challenged by the communities elders (specifically his father’s uncle.) Instead of traditional punishment (for instance grounding him from his iPad) the elders put him to work, teach him tradition, and demand change (though they don’t come right out and say it.) Reading his development through the techniques of his tribe was truly entertaining (and I might add enlightening…I might implement a few of them in my own home.)
So where does this leave “Reclaim My Heart” in the grand scheme of things? I say towards the top. It is easily one of Fasano’s best novels, and tells a heartwarming and believable love story in a very unique way. It’s clean. It’s well plotted, and only wears the weight of a few flaws. (Like: the underdevelopment of Tyne’s fiance.)
If you are a fan of say…redemption romances, this is the perfect book for you. It’s filled with family, forgiveness and heart.
Happy reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: “Sometimes what you’re searching for, is right where you left it.” – Sweet Home Alabama