Delightfully romantic with a lovable cast of quirky characters, Paper Hearts will have readers smiling from ear to ear!
by Katie Ganshert, award-winning author of A Broken Kind of Beautiful
Abigail Pressman would never have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could restore her belief in love. As a business owner in a quaint town at the base of the Rockies, she’s poured everything into dreams of expansion . . . and resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park’s tradition of stamping mail with the city’s romantic postmark.
When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the paper hearts, a distraction that couldn’t come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail’s new landlord, and he’s threatening to end her lease to expand his practice.
As she fights a growing attraction to this handsome man crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts reaches the Volunteers, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail’s doubts about love, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart?
A fun and sweet story, but it sort of dragged on a bit. Abigail and Jacob seemed to keep living in the past for a long period of time. I was also annoyed at how long it took to find out the cause of Gwen's death. The last quarter of the book was the best and acknowledged important outlooks, as shown in this quote from page 386: "She'd decided to trust God to get her to the next season and to take care of her once she was there." I believe I would've enjoyed this story more it got to the point quicker. I rated it 3 stars on Goodreads.
Brittany at the Books and Biscuits Blog
Courtney Walshâ€™s Paper Hearts takes place in the small town of Loves Park, Colorado, where Abigail Pressman manages her downtown bookstore, The Book Nook. When her landlord retires, Abigailâ€™s building is purchased by an out-of-town doctor, Jacob Willoughby, who doesnâ€™t appear to appreciate the touristy, small-town vibe of the neighborhood. In the midst of saving her bookstore from the expansion efforts of Dr. Willoughby and his aggressive business manager, Abigail is recruited for the townâ€™s famous Valentine Volunteers. Abigailâ€™s days suddenly become filled with stamping wedding invitations and responding to love letters, until an envelope filled with paper hearts arrives and changes her perspective of what real love means.
Honestly, I was left with mixed feelings about Paper Hearts. In some ways, I really wanted to like the book. The premise sounded relatively interesting and the authorâ€™s note presented some intriguing themes regarding broken dreams and God turning them into something amazing. However, I never felt that Ms. Walsh presented that theme with sufficient clarity in the story. While Abigailâ€™s store is threatened, Dr. Willoughbyâ€™s life seems to have fallen apart, and other characters face trials, the resolution is too quick and convenient. Likewise, the buildup of the story before anything interesting occurs lasts through the entire first half of the book, which feels rather slow and likely to turn off readers before they encounter the paper hearts storyline that serves as one of the novelâ€™s few highlights. Additionally, the â€œsurpriseâ€ components of the storyline are quite predictable, as Paper Hearts entails many aspects found in many Christian novellas and general romance novels.
Overall, I would rate Paper Hearts as being relatively average.
Brittany at BooksandBiscuits.com
â€œThe paper hearts had already started doing their job. It was exactly what sheâ€™d been searching for â€“ a way to heighten interest in her store â€“ yet Abigail wouldâ€™ve never thought to hang them up in the store on her own. Not those hearts. Not that story,â€ Courtney Walsh writes in her novel, "Paper Hearts."
This four hundred and fifteen page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian contemporary romance. With no profanity or sexual scenes, topics of illness and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book includes a note from the author, acknowledgments, the authorâ€™s biography, and ten discussion questions. Using the New Living Translation of the Holy Bible, the book does not capitalize pronouns of God.
Author Walsh is also an artist and playwright who lives in Illinois with her husband and children. This is her fourth novel.
Loves Park near Denver, Colorado, has always been known for love and romance, but twenty-nine-year-old Abigail Pressman has not found it in the small haven. Having a broken heart from a past relationship, she dedicates her passion to being the owner the past seven years of The Book Nook, a quaint store strategically placed in the perfect part of town.
As her landlord sells the business to out-of-towner Jacob Willoughby, her world is turned upside down as her dreams of buying the building and expanding dissolve when she is told Jacob wants to renovate the entire building for his medical practice.
Hurting, angry, and wounded, the attractive-looking Jacob wants desperately to move on from the past, hoping to reignite his passion for helping people and make a new home for his six-year-old daughter, Junie.
With the interference of Jacobâ€™s office manager, Abigalâ€™s match-making mother, the townâ€™s nosey Valentine Volunteers, and Jacobâ€™s outgoing sister, the book store owner has to decide what she wants in life as she seeks good in the worst possible situation. Tied to the areaâ€™s family roots, she is captivated when she receives eight years of paper hearts by an unknown romantic couple, eagerly wishing she could obtain such a love.
Although the tale is predictable romantically, several of the bookâ€™s charactersâ€™ lives are hung in the balance, leaving ample room for a sequel. Focusing on forgiving others, self, and most importantly, God, the read is lovingly emotional, yet heart-breaking.
Rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Thanks to The Book Club Network for furnishing this complimentary book in exchange for a review based on the readerâ€™s honest opinions.
Pamela Jo Meitzler
This Book Touched My Heart!
Paper Hearts is the first book I've read by Courtney Walsh and I'm so glad I found this author! I read late into the night and finished the book in one day! I enjoyed it so much that I did not want to put it down!
Abigail Pressman has been running The Book Nook, a store which she inherited from her father. The book store is her entire world. Deeply hurt by lost love in the past, Abigail has come to the conclusion that being a single woman with a book shop is all she needs in life. However, being single in the town of Loves Park is considered to be quite a problem. Her mother is constantly trying to play matchmaker and has recruited the Valentine Volunteers to assist in finding a man for Abigail. This diverse, and often eccentric, group of ladies meet at The Book Nook on a regular basis, stamping mail with the Loves Park postmark and planning romantic events. Abigail is unwillingly made a member of the group. She does not care about romance and the only dream she has is to expand her shop. Her landlord is retiring and has offered the building to Abigail, who is thrilled that she is about to realize her dream!
While Abigail is trying to get a loan to purchase the building, a new doctor arrives in town. He wants the building for his medical practice, has the cash to pay for it, and destroys all that Abigail has hoped for. Jacob Willoughby is a handsome single dad who's focus is on providing a secure and happy future for his young daughter. He is a man trying to escape a traumatic past and wishing to start a new life in a new town. Jacob's business partner, Kelly, insists that he needs to break Abigail's lease and get rid of The Book Nook in order to expand his practice. Kelly is ruthless, but Jacob is not quite comfortable with destroying someone else's life. He knows all to well the heartache of shattered dreams. Yet, his daughter's security is his primary focus and he moves forward with the plan to be rid of Abigail and her shop.
The Valentine Volunteers conspire to make Jacob miserable and to rally the town of Loves Park behind Abigail. But how? Abigail gets a new breath of life when she discovers love notes among the Valentine mail. The notes are written on paper hearts by a couple who has a tradition of sending the hearts to Loves Park each year in order to share their joy. Abigail hangs up the hearts in her store and people flock there in order to add their own love notes to the collection.
Will the paper hearts renew Abigail's faith in love? Will she ever find a man who is a good fit? Can she save her store and her dream? Could Jacob become an ally instead of an enemy? Is there a chance that he will find peace and renewed faith in Loves Park? It all seems to be impossible, but with God's direction lives can be changed. The theme of forgiveness is strong in this book. I found the story to be deeply touching and I highly recommend reading Paper Hearts!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher, through The Book Club Network (bookfun.org) in exchange for my honest review.