Rival Hearts, part of the Quilts of Love series, is a fairly quick and easy read, but with an interesting premise. Molly and Ben are invited to leave their comfort zones in order to compete for the same job - for Molly, that involves learning to kayak; for Ben, learning to quilt. Their boss, Mr. Masterson, informs them: "You both have a knack for finding in-depth human-interest stories to touch your particular readers. . . . You'll be given a chance to shine as an editor as well as moving up in the company."
Molly felt that she had been proving herself all her life, that her accomplishments were
always secondary compared to a brother who excelled at everything. Ben had grown tired of traveling and was looking for a sense of permanence by putting down roots. My favorite parts were Nora and her quilting circle, a group of older women that had become Mollys second family, and also the way Molly and her brother reconnected.
And of course I love the quilts, which are the foundation of this series. Molly explains: "Every year I make a quilt and auction it off at the local Charity Expo. I got an idea to have my readers send in a piece of fabric holding emotional significance to them, along with the story to go with it."
But for some reason, I couldn't get emotionally caught up in this story. Molly wasn't a character I enjoyed, although I did admire her commitment and work with Second Chances. Ben comes across as over confident and arrogant at first, but his character improved as the story progressed. What I really wanted to see, though, was his spiritual journey, and that was lacking.
Many fans of the Quilts of Love series will probably enjoy this story, although it was a weaker addition for me.
Thank you to Litfuse Publicity for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver are both magazine editors for the same company, both up for the same promotion to launch a new magazine. Their boss plans to make the decision based on a friendly competition between the two, in which Molly has to learn to kayak, and Ben has to learn to quilt (Rival Hearts is from Abingdon's Quilts of Love series. There has to be a quilt).
I had trouble getting in to Rival Hearts. I found Molly annoying from the beginning, with her view that she should get the promotion based on seniority (what about based on performance? Or who is actually a better fit for the new magazine?). Yes, I get that part of her personal character arc was the transition from the sedate can't-do-much introvert with best friends are twice her age, to the "I can do anything" woman who is prepared to take some risks in life and love. And I get that her mother has been a huge influence in shaping her personality and beliefsâ€”a largely negative influence. But I just didn't like Molly, and it's hard to enjoy a romance novel when I don't like the heroine.
The beginning felt like we were being told a lot about Molly (such as her volunteering, her health issues, her relationship with her brother, how she got into quilting _) and not shown or told much about Ben. What little we did see showed him as overconfident to the point of arrogance. While he improved as a character as the novel progressed, I still would have liked to have seen him develop a bit more depth. I would also have liked to have seen more of his spiritual journey than a couple of offhand references.
The plot held few surprises (I guessed the ending at about the halfway point), the characters didn't inspire me, and the writing didn't shine. It read more like a Harlequin than Quilts of Love, and it certainly didn't have any mystery (as claimed in her author tagline, â€˜Where Mystery and Romance are Everywhere'). On the plus side, I thought the Christian aspects were handled well, and I very much liked Nora and her quilting circle, Molly's second family.
I'm sure many readers will love this, but I didn't, which is a disappointment as I look forward to reading the Quilts of Love stories and discovering exciting new authors.
Thanks to Litfuse and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.
Tara Randel in her new book, "Rival Hearts" Book Nineteen in the Quilts of Love Series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the lives of Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver.
From the back cover: They both want the promotion. But will they find out that it is worth the cost?
Molly Henderson and Ben Weaver have been rival magazine writers for the same publishing group for years. When both come up for the same promotion, they find themselves in an unexpected competition to win the spot. Molly, editor of Quilter's Heart, and Ben, editor of Outdoor Adventures, must switch roles, each working for the other for one month, then submit an article at the end of their quests.
Can girly-girl Molly survive the outdoor adventures that Ben has planned? Can Ben navigate the perils of the social dynamics of quilting events without destroying a valuable quilt in one short month? More importantly, in this he-said, she-said situation, will Molly and Ben give in to their attraction and fall in love, no matter who wins?
This book is the kind of movie that Hollywood used to make back in the 40â€²s and 50â€²s. You can almost see Barbara Stanwyck as Molly, possibly Clark Gable as Ben. Molly and Ben are competitors. They each have made their own little niche in the world by the quality of the magazine they edit. Now they are being given the chance at a new magazine but only if they switch places for a month. This is the set-up for a great deal of humor and also the chance for much stretching outside individual comfort zones. Both Molly and Ben learn about themselves as well as others while learning about the barriers they put up to keep from being bruised emotionally. All of the characters are terrific and the plot is very enjoyable as well as being interesting and exciting as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Rival Hearts is my first read from author Tara Randel, a writer of five previous romance novels. When initially requested to read and review the story, the title left me curious; however, I soon discovered the story well defined by its title. Ben Masterson, chief editor for Masterson Publishing Company pits a dualistic competition of sorts between employs and colleagues Molly Henderson, editor of Quilter's Heart, and Ben Weaver, editor of Outdoor Adventures. Masterson dangles the bait of the editor-in-chief of a new magazine, American Legend for the winner of this bout. The winner to be determined on one condition -Molly and Ben must switch roles for 30 days and write an article about the experience. Masterson deems himself judge over the contest and outcome. The switch means for Molly learning how to navigate a kayak and Ben to create a quilt.
Switching places! Was this a fair process of determining a winner? Molly had longevity as an employee of Masterson Publishing and Ben was a recent employ with only background experience as a world traveler in sports and outdoor adventures - oh yes, there is the time he hosted that TV series, Extreme Survivalist. Thirty days__that seems an impossible task for each in that time limit - unrealistic. These might have been questions both contestants thought privately, at least in my own thoughts. Nevertheless - the race is on!
Molly and Ben share little in common. Both have scars buried deep from their childhood. Ben lost his parents tragically at a young age, now exhausted from moving from place to place; while Molly was a sickly child feeling unloved and a disappointment to her parents Ben had no siblings, while Molly admired her much older brother and longed for his approval. With private battles of their own, the two diverse competitors go through intense and humorous battles while chasing the bait dangled before them. This becomes a captivating story about rival, romance, and reward.
Molly indeed has a quilter's heart_.soft and quiet_and as complex as a quilted design. With sensitivity toward the downtrodden, she spent many hours as a compassionate volunteer. Molly's faith in God leads her on a path toward a talent for quilting - the joy of her life. Ben enters the scene with unknowns - and his personality, likes and dislikes seem to come in sporadic revealing throughout the story. He is due for a valuable lesson in more than quilting from Nora and the women of Molly's Christian quilting group. What surprised me was the rapport between Molly and Ben_.helping each other behind the scenes_until sabotage happened, derailing the trust and budding romance between them, each believing the other had been dishonest and manipulative. Ben and Molly truly become rivals_.until the intervention of God, family, friends, and other characters to reveal the saboteur and change the whole game.
Ms. Randel's story would appeal to any age group. Her writing is clean, fun, thoughtful and even a bit intriguing. Script was slow and repetitive at times, but so is real life. Personally, I felt the background details about the protagonists were more vital to my enjoyment of the book than the competition. At my age, perhaps it is less about the romance and more about the characters "whys" of their decisions. My fulfillment is when God has led to the making of the right decisions. My gratitude goes to Tara Randel for penning the best in the genre I enjoy reading.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for an honest review.
I really enjoyed the storyline of Rival Hearts! From the beginning I fell in love with Molly and slowly I fell in love with Ben too! They were both great main characters that had me rooting for them in the competition and hurting with life's disappointments!
Tara did an amazing job in having such a powerful message about the need for community in our lives! Like Molly I sometimes forget the beauty and gift of having family around all the time where there are people who wish they could say they have family!
I personally can't quilt, but love reading books that involve quilting and Rival Hearts did not disappoint! It was really interesting to see what Molly did as an editor for a quilting magazine! I so loved her design idea that takes up much of her time!
Overall I really enjoyed this novel! There was some mild action, romance, and the need for community within our lives!
*(I received this novel from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for my honest review! All thoughts expressed are my own opinions and I was not required to write a positive review!)*