Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 2009 Re-Read Challenge

Title: Hearts Awakened

Series: Hearts of the South

Author: Linda Winfree

Blurb: “Hearts Awakened” by Linda Winfree

ISBN: 1-60504-186-6

Length: Novel

Price: 5.50

Publication Date: September 2, 2008

Cover art by Anne Cain

It’s not the past that wounds us…it’s the ghosts we hold on to.

Hearts of the South Book 6

A lifetime ago Mark Cook’s pregnant wife vanished, taking everything and leaving an empty, aching hole in his life. Since then, as penance for his failure as a husband and father, he’s refused to allow himself to live. Refused to lay his sleeping heart on the line for any woman.

Enter Tori Calvert, his best friend’s baby sister. Suddenly, against his will—and against his better judgment—that same damaged heart seems determined to reawaken. And Mark’s not sure he can withstand the pain.

When she was a teenager, a vicious attack ripped away Tori’s very essence as a woman. Finally she feels ready to focus her existence on something other than her job as a rape crisis counselor. And to step outside the shelter of her loving, protective family. She trusts Mark more than any man, yet fear holds her back.

Fear that even the healing light of love may not be enough to banish the shadows of the past.

What worked for me: Cookie and Tori, here are two people who deserved to be happy and to find love. In HEARTS AWAKENED we learn so much more about Mark Cook and Tori Calvert it's simply amazing to me how these two strong yet vulnerable people have moved past the tragedies in their lives.

Tori Calvert lost her innocence at the hands of rapist, yet she rose above it and dedicated her life to helping others survive and move on with their lives. Sure she has her own issues she needs to overcome, but it's her fears combined with her incredible spirit that make her endearing to readers as well as the thing that jaded Investigator Mark Cook needs to shake up his life.

Mark Cook is a fan favorite, I for one have always wondered what his story was. He's a great officer, a trusted and loyal friend, and known as a ladies man, but what hides beneath the surface. When the truth is revealed, your heart can't help but break for him. His actions make sense, he hides behind his wit and using meaningless sex to keep himself isolated and shielded from hurt.

If two people were meant for each other it's Tori and Mark.

This story was as emotional and touching this time as it was the first time I read it. It was great to revisit Chandler and relive the birth of little Lee Calvert, to see Tick get put in his place again and to watch two great characters find love.

What didn't work for me: It's not so much what didn't work for me, but what I felt was missing. I love the comradery of the Chandler County Sheriff's office and since not current crime was being worked on in the installment that piece was missing from HEARTS AWAKENED. The banter between Tick and Mark wasn't their, Tick's lack of patience with Tory Lee was absent and while Chris made an appearance helping Mark solve a cold case, it was still missing that strong Crime element Linda does so well.

Of course the Cold Case was a vital piece of this story and it let the reader see more of Chris Parker, and probably a crime would have crowded this novel, but yet when I try to think of something I didn't like about this novel, this is all I could come up with. I missed, but I'm other would say it wasn't necessary, and since I have no real reason why I need it in this novel I'd have to agree.

Please don't get me wrong I loved this book, but Linda writes crime and cops so well I just missed it, it in no way lessened the value and emotional intensity of HEARTS AWAKENED.

8 out of 10


  1. Sounds like a good book, Jenn! Since it is part of a series, does it need to (or is it better) be read in order?

  2. Hi Renee

    It can be read alone, but reading them all makes for a richer reading experience.

    All the titles are available at Samhain.

  3. I've been meaning to give a try to this author :) I love Cookie as a nickname! LOL, so cute!

  4. I've not read any in this series...or by this author but this sounds pretty good. Did you like all of the books in this series? Do they all need to be read in order?

    Good review, thanks.