I attempted to finish my Book of the Month for February for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t make it. Plus, I was rushing to finish instead of enjoying the book. I shouldn’t do that. Without further ado, here is my pick this month…
Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh! If you recognize the author, you may recall that I reviewed the sequel to this novel, Change of Heart, back in September 2016. Needing some cheering up and wanting to revisit the world of Loves Park, I decided to read the book again. This book was also my introduction to Courtney Walsh. Since the Paper Hearts series, other recent books include Just Look Up and Hometown Girl. Her next book, Just Let Go, will come out in June 2018. Her past books include The Sweethaven series, and two books on scrap-booking called The Busy Scrapper and Scrapbooking Your Faith. You can find more of her books on her website and follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The first novel centers on Abigail Pressman, a single woman who runs a bookstore called The Book Nook in Loves Park, a town obsessed with love and Valentine’s Day. When a man named Dr. Jacob Willoughby becomes her new landlord and wants to expand the building for his practice, Abigail’s store, and livelihood, is in jeopardy. At the same time, she is drafted into the Valentine Volunteers, a group of women who help keep the tradition of Loves Park alive while also matchmaking people in town. During all this chaos, Abigail stumbles upon paper hearts written by a mysterious couple that may change her views on romance.
I’m not a big Valentine’s Day fan. I want little to do with the holiday and try to be cheerful for those who celebrate it. When I first read this book, I related a lot to Abigail regarding disappointments in love, wanting nothing to do with romance, and being annoyed by people trying to make me find someone. I think that’s something a lot of us go through from time to time. Seeing her evolve throughout the novel gave me hope that maybe love is still real and possible.
What I really enjoy the most about this book is the humor. The small town butting in about Abigail’s love life, the Valentine Volunteers being oftentimes endearing and entertaining, and just the fact that Jacob’s last name is Willoughby, reminding me of John Willoughby from Jane Austen’s. Sense and Sensibility. is hilarious. I love a small town story that is full of heart while also funny at the same time!
The characters also make this book memorable, from the blunt Ursula Pembrooke to the sometimes irritating Teensy, Abigail’s mother. I also like the backdrop of the love story that founded Loves Park, a legacy Abigail dislikes quite a bit. That gives her more reasons to stay away from love while also wondering if she could ever find a great relationship like that of her great-great grandparents.
Dreams and passion are other big parts of this story, and a pleasant surprise as you go on. Sometimes we bury our dreams out of fear or wanting to play it safe instead of taking risks. Sometimes risks can lead to pain that may be hard to move past. That part of the story is also a big part of Abigail’s growth, along with Jacob’s. That, in particular, makes their chemistry even more appealing and interesting.
If you need to hope in love, maybe take a risk with a passion long forgotten, or just laugh out loud at a hilarious and quirky book, then Paper Hearts might be your Valentine this year. Disregard my bad pun there haha!