Where the Heart Lies rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: July 16, 2011
How are the sex scenes?
Emotional. There is very little sex and the descriptions are brief and tame.
(i.e., an orgasm is explained as "she gasped" and "he tensed").
How are the story lines?
Realistic and confusing (at the beginning). The book's description says "no one wants the...widow and the...bad boy together", but we do not find out why until the end.
Would you read it again?
Nah, I think I covered it all the first time, but I would love an Epilogue.
Where the Heart Lies is a contemporary romance based in small town, North Carolina.
Widow Alicia Galloway has moved her two small children to her husband's home town to help care for his aging parents and run his father's bookstore. Immediately Alicia is forced to endure well-meaning, nosy, petulant people from her husband's past while trying to move on with her future.
Liam Addison vows to look out for Alicia and her family because he and her husband were best friends in high school. He isn't bothered by the town's presumptuous gossip, but Alicia is...and the only comfort Liam can offer is that he won't act on his attraction.
Where the Heart Lies by Michelle Garren Flye has the workings for an epic novel. The premise is heart stopping. Unfortunately (in my case), the secondary characters taint the story with their horribleness.
Alicia is a wonderful heroine: she's raising two children on her own and uproots their lives to continue with her husband's plans. She possesses civility and self control in the face of snarky, condescending adults and is the "freaking phoenix" someone describes her to be.
Liam is great. He has a bad boy past, but seems to be over it and though he gets thrown under the "moral" bus continuously, we always see him making the right choices and holding to his commitments.
The town is an awful psychedelic backwards version of Mayberry. It shreds citizens for entertainment - first by assuming what Alicia should be/should not be doing and then by painting Liam as a hardened criminal for one high school mistake and being a drunk over five years ago. His mistake, as Alicia points out, is not even Liam's fault.
Then there's Penny Turner. Happily married to a wonderful man who's raising her daughter like his own, Penny has an axe to grind and looks for excuses to use it. She invades Alicia's life on the first day and never has Alicia's best interests at heart. Even after Penny's issues are revealed they don't explain Penny's severe hatred for Liam. If she despises Liam for what he "made" her do then she shouldn't do it anymore, but instead she carries on about him like a love-sick jealous girlfriend. "Liam's kind of famous for wanting what Ty had." Who tells a widow that?? Penny is a villain and not in the let's-love-to-hate-her way.
I never quite understood why the town focused on Liam and his affair with "...girls Ty had first". Ty and Liam only dated the same girl once and Ty dated her back in high school. Liam dated her after. Does that make him "famous" for it?
Alicia's in-laws and her friend Lulu Banks, however, are amazing. They showed the proper emotions expected of decent people and, at times, could have even been harsher about Alicia/Liam. They were believable and enjoyable and added wonderful charisma to the story.
Where the Heart Lies is a love story wrought with emotion. I'm just sad most of that emotion seems to be unresolved hatred.
Learn more about Michelle Garren Flye and upcoming titles on her webpage, Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.
Published by Carina Press
Disclaimer: No compensation was received for this review. eARC courtesy of NetGalley.