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Business owner and CEO Emory Owen is focused on her business when life throws her a curve ball: her mother succumbs to a devastating stroke. After her mother’s funeral, Emory must empty her mother’s house in preparation to sell the property. She hires Sarah Matamoros, who immigrated to the US from Mexico as a child, and who is a part of her mother’s housecleaning service, to pack up the entire contents of her mother’s home. Emory is surprised at the dedication and quick work Sarah makes of the job, but even more, she’s surprised at Sarah’s compassion and willingness to give Emory time to process her mother’s death with a sympathetic ear. For Emory, there’s only one problem with these emotional encounters: they are very uncharacteristic and slightly embarrassing for her. Eventually, Sarah and Emory embark on a long journey of discovery together, but there are problems along the way and it just doesn’t seem as if these two are really meant to be together.
The title of the story, Heart Block (Bold Strokes Books), is one of those multi-dimensional ones. Sarah’s eight-year-old daughter, Grace, is diagnosed with the physical ailment of the same name. But Sarah and Emory have less prominent “blocks” of their own. All these will need to be overcome if the two women are to ever have a life together. Emory and Sarah each go through very distinct crises that will either make them decide to go their separate ways or bring them closer together.
The two main characters have admirable traits, each in their own way, but they also have flaws to overcome, making the reader sympathetic to them. Emory and Sarah have very different childhood experiences, sometimes causing difficulty in their adult relationship. Sarah is from a very loving, close-knit family while Emory, whose father died when she was a teen, has spent her formative years in boarding schools and at home with a very aloof mother. Grace, Sarah’s daughter, has a delightful personality and she is appealing as she struggles with just being a kid trying while dealing with a serious ailment. She endears herself to Emory and she will do the same to the reader. Sarah’s best friend, Carmen, is quintessential and brings a bit of humor to the intensity of the story. Minor characters—Sarah’s parents, Emory’s business partner and her self-centered older sister—all serve to move the plot along toward its final conclusion.
The story is enchanting, with conflicts and issues to be overcome that will keep the reader turning pages. The relationship between Sarah and Emory is achingly beautiful and skillfully portrayed. As each woman goes through her own set of difficulties, the story advances to its final conclusion. This second offering by Melissa Brayden is a perfect package of love—and life to be lived to the fullest. So grab a beverage and snuggle up in a comfy throw to read this classic story of overcoming obstacles and finding enduring love.
By Melissa Brayden
Bold Strokes Books
Paperback, 9781602827585, 279 pp.