Here in My Heart
By: Anna DeStefano
Series: Echoes of the Heart #1
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Publication Date: 9/30/2014
Format: e-book A Novella
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
Live and work together, or lose everything that matters…The ultimatum tilts Dru Hampton’s contented life in Chandlerville, Georgia, on its ear. The man that Vivian, her cantankerous boss and benefactor, wants Dru to partner with—live with—is Brad Douglas, who’s let Dru down every way a man can.
Sheriff’s deputy Brad Douglas has come a long way since his rebellious youth. He’s back home to care for Vivian, his ill grandmother. He’s stayed out of Dru’s way all these years to make up for the hurt he once caused her. Now, the delightfully mischievous Vivian’s dying wish is for them to rebuild at least a working relationship together…and she’s betting on them rediscovering much more.
A special thank you to Montlake Romance and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Here in My Heart: A Novella (Echoes of the Heart Series, #1) by Anna Destefano, a light southern read set in a small town, of forgiveness, redemption, risks, romance, and empowerment.
Dru loves her life in Chandlerville, Georgia a charming suburb northeast of Atlanta. As an infant, she had the Dixons, a loving foster family who’d gifted her with a community and friends and a world where she would gladly stay forever, to give back to the community.
Dru and Brad have a past, as Brad let down her down and his best friend. Now they are forced together to play nice. Brad lives in Savannah, GA and works with the police department, building his own life, and raised by his grandmother, Vivian, the town matriarch. She is outrageous and difficult, yet generous to a fault.
Brad was friends with Dru's brothers, and of course she was always tagging along. He was her first love with teenage baggage, making a mess of their life. Dru wants to put the past behind her and is not thrilled to see Brad back in her town. Vivian, calls him home, as she is dying and devises a plan to get these two together.
Dru owes eccentric Vivian more than she could possibly repay, as Vi had paid her to work her butt of at the Whip and backed Dru, putting so much time into their community, helping the local kids. Brad was supposed to be the villain, not her silent benefactor.
Dru is involved with radKIDS, as an instructor, an amazing program for kids and young adults, advocating for and teaching safety across the country to communities, children, and parents. Dru and Brad find themselves reconnecting with the family restaurant business, Dream Whip – no matter the odds.
She finds the life she has made for herself reshaping into something she does not recognize, when Vivian’s wishes are laid out, in her will and her demented matchmaking bender. Dru is terrified of loving and losing Brad all over and unsure if she wants to take the risk.
For a woman who had shied away from outward expressions of affection, Vi had gone all out making a careful record of how much she cared—giving them both time to grow up and figure out what comes next.
A sweet heartwarming story and fans of Sherryl Woods, Susan Mallery, Julia London, RaeAnne Thayne Debbie Macomber, and Mariah Stewart will enjoy the small town charm and romance.
Also included, a sneak peak of Oliver and Selena’s story “Waiting for Your Love”, the first novel in Anna’s new Echoes of the Heart Series (coming spring 2015).
A native of the southeast myself, having lived in (NC, Atlanta, GA, and now south FL), Anna definitely knows the South and reflective from the stunning front cover, and throughout the pages with her background in the crisis and grief recovery areas.