Title: Hearth Song by Lois Greiman
Home in the Hills Series Book Two
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: C+
Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley
Bravura Lambert has a daughter to raise, a tumbledown house to restore, and a struggling business to run. She doesn’t have time to cry over a husband who only shows up when he needs money. She also doesn’t need Tonk Redhawk, a Native American artist and wild horse jockey, interfering in her life. So what if he’s charming and helpful and makes her autistic five-year-old giggle until she can’t stand up? Bravura’s husband, Dane, was once all those things too.
When Dane returns to find Tonk’s horses in Bravura’s pasture and his tools in her shed, he insists on moving back home. Despite his faults, Bravura longs to make her marriage work—after all, she took a vow. But then Dane does the unthinkable, forcing Bravura to finally face the truth about her choices—and about how deeply Tonk cares for her. Once she opens her eyes, she just may be able to open her heart…
In Hearth Song, the second installment in Lois Greiman’s heartwarming Home in the Hills series, hardworking Bravura “Vura” Lambert is torn between her loyalty to her manipulative husband Dane and her surprising attraction to stoic Tonk Redhawk.
Vura has not seen her husband Dane is the year since he took a job in the mining fields of North Dakota, so she is pretty stunned by his unexpected return. She is not exactly happy to see him but since he is her husband and the father of her five year old daughter, Lily, she tries to make the best of the situation. Quickly growing impatient with his irresponsible behavior, she cannot shake the feeling Dane is being less than forthcoming about his departure from his job and his current job search. Dane somehow manages to charm Vura out of her doubts but her uncertainties about him continue to grow.
Vura is a likable, but extremely maddening, character. She is very close to her father and grandfather and in Dane’s absence, their help with Lily has been invaluable. Vura is a strong and capable woman, but her husband has slowly chipped away at her self-esteem over the years. She is more comfortable in blue jeans and a hard hat than a dress and heels but she has tried to be more feminine to make Dane happy. Vura has slowly given up so much of her identity to please him that she barely recognizes herself. She is a fantastic mom and a successful businesswoman but as soon as Dane strolls back into her life, she loses all confidence which leaves her vulnerable and incredibly susceptible to his manipulations. He so thoroughly twists things around that Vura is unable to see just how destructive and conniving he is.
Dane is thoroughly despicable and it is impossible to understand how Vura continues to allow him to guilt her into agreeing to his demands. She has strong doubts about his return and while it is reasonable to try to save her marriage, it is exasperating watching her make excuses for his appalling behavior. Despite proving to be completely untrustworthy, Vura easily sets aside her misgivings and she gives him the benefit of the doubt even in the face of damning evidence that he is lying her.
Tonk has a bit of a troubled past but he has worked hard to overcome his demons. He is the epitome of the strong silent type and he is quite observant. He has strong ties to his heritage and despite a few missteps in the past, Tonk treats people with respect and reverence. Tonk is such an admirable and likable character that it is very exasperating that he remains on the periphery for much of the novel.
Since it takes almost the entire novel for Vura to finally see what her family recognized about Dane years earlier, Hearth Song is an enjoyable albeit frustrating addition to the Home in the Hills series. While it is understandable that Vura needs to come to terms with her relationship with Dane, the overall story gets bogged down in his misdeeds and his inexplicable ability to bamboozle her time after time. Once their relationship is finally resolved, Dane’s desperation leads to a dramatic decision and Lois Greiman brings the novel to a suspenseful and action filled conclusion.