A Reader’s Review Blog is absolutely thrilled to share with you the latest release from author and blogger, Helena Fairfax, A Way From Heart to Heart. A keen reader and writer of romance, Helena has brought another deep and meaningful contemporary romance to her audience, following her previous stand alone novels, The Silk Romance and The Antique Love.
Blurb: After the death of her husband in Afghanistan, Kate Hemingway’s world collapses around her. Kate’s free time is spent with a charity for teenage girls, helping them mend their broken lives – which is ironic, since her own life is fractured beyond repair.
Reserved, ex-public school journalist Paul Farrell is everything Kate and her teenage charges aren’t. But when Paul agrees to help Kate with her charity, he makes a stunning revelation that changes everything.
But can Kate take a risk with her son’s happiness as well as her own?
A Way From Heart to Heart is a lovely, emotive and heart-warming contemporary romance story that draws in the audience and takes hold from the very beginning. Kate’s character is developed so well that the reader feels her sadness and loss at the death of her husband, Stuart, and later we learn of her worries and fears for her future – for her son, George. Although these feelings are negative, Kate is actually quite a strong woman as the reader will find out. I was drawn to Kate and wished I could have read this in one sitting as I certainly didn’t want to put this book down!
The story begins where Kate first discovers that her husband has died. This creates a great sense of loss with Kate, his best friend, Paul, and the reader. It is a very poignant beginning to a thoughtful and meaningful story. As Kate learns of her husband’s fate, Paul comforts her as they share their grief. Although extremely tragic, it is a beautiful and intimate scene where these two characters share the same feeling, at the same moment in time.
But, despite being briefly affectionate in this instance, Paul always appears cold and distant towards her. He picks his godson, George, up once a month to spend a day with him and yet every time he arrives at Kate’s house he stands on the doorway, never enters, and speaks as little as possible. This doesn’t warm Kate to him at all, in fact the opposite. Is he just looking out for George, or is he there for Kate too?
Paul is quite a reserved man. He begins to realise how he must seem to Kate, but how can he express his true feelings. For Paul, it was an instant attraction to Kate when Stuart had introduced them a few years ago. Paul is in a battle with himself it seems as he doesn’t quite know how to handle his situation. He, therefore, keeps to his once a month visits to pick George up for a day out. But things are about to change.
Aside from her modelling work, Kate spends most of her time working with a charity, At Home, who offer their help and support to teenage girls who have fallen on hard times. It is something that Kate feels very strongly about as she can empathise with the girls and is now in a position to help them. She realises that Paul’s journalism may come in useful in creating an awareness of the charity and it’s cause.
The teenage girls who are being supported by At Home have many problems collectively, including homelessness – which Kate herself experienced. The reader becomes well acquainted with some of these girls and their situation, and Helena Fairfax has written these scenes with much thought and respect. Although very delicately written, the girls’ circumstances are dark. Certainly in Kate’s case some people have been judgemental of her history. She was not accepted by Stuart’s parents, and the press have also found their way of belittling her. Has Paul ever felt this way about her?
The world of media has a huge impact on Kate’s life. When Paul writes about his experiences of At Home and Kate he writes from within, based on what he knows of Kate and how he feels for her. A rival journalist uses her model status and writes a very negative story, allowing her past to creep up on her.
As the story opens up more and more, Kate begins to see a different side of Paul and there are some great scenes between the two of them. Although Kate begins to feel more strongly about her attraction to him, she is not ready to go head on and have a relationship with him. After all, she experienced love with her parents and then lost, and again with Stuart. She fears love and loss again, and she certainly doesn’t want to open George up to that possibility.
There are moments when she wishes for Paul to return to his reserved self and become distant again, and other times when she wants his friendship, and sometimes more. Paul accommodates her feelings exceptionally well, although there are times for him when he just longs to be with her.
Helena Fairfax really builds these characters up and fills them out with both positives and flaws, making the characters believable with very real dilemmas. Fans of contemporary romance will love A Way From Heart to Heart, especially the ‘will-they-won’t-they’ aspect, as Helena keeps the reader guessing until the very end!
A Way From Heart to Heart was provided by the author in return for an honest and fair review.
Reviewed by Caroline Barker
‘You know none of this was your fault, don’t you?’ he said.
Kate didn’t answer. A large, fat, stupid tear rolled slowly down her cheek and dripped onto his fingers.
‘Katerina, listen to me. You were a child. Nothing that happened was your fault.’ He shook her face, his touch warm and gentle.
Kate leaned a little into his hand. ‘I try to think like that,’ she said. ‘But it’s hard. Sometimes you just can’t help feeling if you’d only been a bit different, if you’d just been a different person, people wouldn’t have just left you.’
Her voice quivered.
Paul tightened his grip. ‘The people who left you were the ones who lost out.’
Kate said nothing, and he dropped his hand.
‘Do you know what this calls for?’ he asked solemnly.
She shook her head.
‘This calls for a massive bowl of chocolate and almond pudding, hot chocolate sauce, and whipped cream.’ He stood, removing their plates. Kate rose to help him, but he waved her away. ‘Stay where you are,’ he said. ‘Help yourself to more wine while I’m in the kitchen.’
He moved past her, and Kate cast a glance at her half full glass on the table. She’d barely drunk a drop. And the bottle was still nearly full, which meant Paul had drunk even less. His mind must be razor clear. And he certainly knew how to get people to talk. All the time he’d been pretending to concentrate on his meal, he must have been listening to her intently. Her eyes fell on Paul’s notepad, which was full of some scribble. How had she not noticed him writing? She twisted her head to make sure he was out of the room. Then she reached a hand out swiftly over the table and picked up the pad. It appeared to be full of some form of shorthand, interspersed with question marks. She replaced it on the table, disappointed.
Trust me, Paul had said. Funnily enough, this evening he’d made her acknowledge what she’d always known deep down. Whatever he might think of her, Paul was a man she could rely on totally.
When he returned, he was carrying two enormous bowls of chocolate and cream. He placed one of them in front of her, leaning over to move her glass as he did so. He had rolled up his shirt sleeves and his bare arm grazed hers briefly. He smelled deliciously of almonds and chocolate.
‘Did you make this?’ Her eyes were wide as she gazed into her bowl.
‘Yes.’ He gave her a grin. ‘I took it out of the packaging and switched the microwave on, all by myself.’
Kate grinned back. She realised Paul was now also completely relaxed. The arrival of dessert seemed to signal some sort of finish to his interview. The intensity had left him, and when he sat at the table he leaned back a little, holding his bowl in one hand and looking at her with his attractive smile. ‘I’ve never known anyone enjoy a dessert as much as you do, apart from maybe George.’
‘Oh, George loves his pudding!’ Kate laughed and licked her spoon. ‘Actually, I do have to watch what I eat a little, for my job. I can’t eat the amount of dessert I’d like every day, but when I go out I make up for it, and enjoy it as much as I can.’
‘How much dessert do you think you could eat, if you allowed yourself?’ he asked, tucking in to his own bowl.
‘I’d eat it for breakfast, dinner, and tea.’ Kate suddenly remembered something, and broke into a chuckle. ‘For Christmas dinner, George and I have a chocolate starter, followed by turkey dinner, followed by chocolate pudding. It’s heavenly.’
She gave a satisfied sigh and filled her spoon. Then greed got the better of her. As she was lifting the loaded spoon to her mouth, a small dollop of cream fell off the edge and dropped. ‘Oh.’ She slid her finger into the neckline of her dress and scooped up the cold cream from where it had fallen on the top of her breast. She lifted her creamy finger to her lips and raised her head, to find Paul had gone totally still. His gaze was fixed on her mouth.
It was many years since Kate had thought of her body as desirable. Ever since Stuart had died, she’d thought of it as merely a tool of her profession. Her torso was moved this way and that under the camera by people who had no interest in her as a real woman. Clothes were put on and removed from her with clinical dispassion; make-up and hair were styled by people who talked over her head. Her body was an object, advertising clothes for other women to admire.
The intensity in Paul’s expression caused a jolt of awareness of herself. A delicious heat spread throughout her body. Paul’s eyes were fixed on her, dark and intense, and her skin flamed and burned under their scrutiny. He lifted his gaze from her mouth, and the throbbing hum of her pulse sounded in her ears. There was complete silence in the room, apart from their breathing. Then Kate’s fingers relaxed their hold, and her spoon dropped from her hand with a clatter, bouncing from the table to the floor.
‘Oh,’ she cried again, standing quickly.
Paul stood as swiftly, pushing his chair back. ‘Leave it,’ he commanded. ‘I’ll fetch another.’
He took a step towards her, and she drew back. She remembered kicking off her boots under the table, lulled into relaxing by the dessert and Paul’s good-humoured conversation. Now she stood in her stockinged feet, feeling exposed, forced to tilt her head slightly to look at him. The heat had vanished from his expression, as though she’d imagined it. He was looking down at her gravely.
With a rising feeling of unease – the same unease she’d felt the day she first met him, that time beside Stuart’s pond – Kate finally understood that Paul wasn’t the stuffed shirt she’d always dismissed. The Paul Farrell she had just glimpsed was an unknown force.
Amazon Buy Link: http://authl.it/B00PQRJ0WQ
(Available from other distributors from February 2015)
Helena Fairfax writes engaging contemporary romances with sympathetic heroines and heroes she’s secretly in love with. Happy endings are her favourite, and when one of her novels won a reader competition for “The Most Romantic Love Scene Ever” it made her day.
Helena was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She’s grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire. After many years working in factories and dark, satanic mills, Helena has turned to writing full-time. She walks the Yorkshire moors every day with her rescue dog, finding this romantic landscape the perfect place to dream up her heroes and her happy endings.