The Heart’s Pursuit
About This Book
A jilted bride desperate to save her family from ruin. A bounty hunter seeking vengeance for a ravaged past. An arduous trek toward justice—or redemption.
Silver Matlock and Jared Newman know traveling together is a bad idea. Bad for Silver’s already tarnished reputation in her small Colorado town. Bad for bounty hunter Jared’s secret, single-minded mission for revenge. But Silver is determined to track down the rogue who left her at the altar and stole the last remnant of her father’s fortune. And Jared’s in a hurry to hunt down the murderer who destroyed his family—even if Silver is too distractingly beautiful for comfort.
The pair takes off over mountain and desert, past bleak homesteads and raw mining towns, hot on the trail of the two villains who took what wasn’t theirs to take. Soon supplies dwindle, secrets emerge, and suspicion leaves Silver and Jared at odds when they need each other most. To confront an enemy deadlier than desert rattlesnakes and rocky cliffs, Silver and Jared must learn to forgive and trust and face the question they haven’t dared voice: What happens next?
Hatcher’s writing style was as lively and engaging as I remember from other books of hers I’ve read, and I was quickly swept up into this story and carried away with it. But the romance was almost nonexistent, and the ending left me feeling a bit cheated, as did a few plot points that felt a bit too coincidental.
Hatcher writes with a very lively pen. Her writing style is somewhat similar to my own, in terms of shorter, punchier sentences containing more action than introspection. Her prose was evenly balanced with the dialogue in this book, and it all flowed fast and seamlessly. Very natural all around.
Silver and Jared were two very passionate characters I felt connected to from page one. Silver and Jared are definitely motivated by their personal goals, but a lot of external conflict is thrown at them, too, in the form of hazards along the journey (snakes, falling from horses, etc.). Jared also experiences some additional external conflict in terms of a shoot-out he happens to get mixed up in. But overall, I wasn’t nail-biting nervous for either character until nearly the end, when they reached their final destination, only to have the villain find them first. THEN I was on the edge of my seat!
I know of bit of this book’s settings firsthand, as I live in Colorado and have driven the same route over the Rockies that Silver and Jared take multiple times. I felt the author captured those settings and descriptions well, and while this type of journey-story could have been set many other places, I felt she firmly rooted it in this particular time and place.
Silver and Jared each have their bones to pick with God and are cut from the same “I can only trust myself” mold. But they do both progress on their spiritual journeys throughout the book, and nothing about their faith felt preachy or author-intrusive. The spiritual themes of trust and vengeance were subtle and well tied to the action of the story.
This book will appeal to women readers who like a clean historical romance with a subtle spiritual message. I would also recommend this book to teen and young adult readers. This a fast, fun read that grabbed my interest from the first page and held it all the way through. I could see it as a movie someday, and I would happily recommend it to others.
The pace and structure of this book were SPECTACULAR . . . for the first ninety-five percent. And then whoosh! The ending completely cut me off at the knees, and the story was over with no direct resolution of the main conflict—just a few paragraphs of omniscient hindsight to describe what happened. I was so disappointed, I would have thrown the book across the room if it had been paperback, and this is the number one reason I can’t give this book a higher star rating.
Both in terms of genre and my impressions from the previous Hatcher book I read, I really expected more romantic tension. At first I was pleased that the romance started slowly, but then it never really built. The only tension was imposed upon them by outside characters implying they must have a romantic relationship, and only then did Silver and Jared begin to wonder about it themselves. But even then, they took no action on it until practically the end, at which point I was pretty much over it and didn’t find myself caring whether they ended up together or not.
A smattering of secondary characters helped fill out the story, but none of them really stood out beyond their supporting roles. And a few of them were too coincidental for my taste: people from Jared’s past who just happen to be in the random Western towns that Silver and Jared ride through. More than one such “of all the gin joints in all the towns” connection in a single book is just too much of a stretch for me.
In terms of potentially questionable content, Jared is a heavy-drinker-turned-teetotaler who still must frequent saloons as part of his job, where men drink and gamble and socialize with prostitutes. Silver gets a job in a saloon. A violent shoot-out results in both Jared and Silver shooting and killing in self-defense. A young boy is found hiding out with his murdered parents’ bodies, which Jared takes the time to bury. Some explicit language is implied but never spelled out.
Robin Lee Hatcher must buy her writing supplies from Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley, for she sure writes as though her pen is magically alive. Bursting with energy and action from the very first page, The Heart’s Pursuit is a fast-paced story of two unlikely companions hot on the trail of revenge, restoration, and romance. Fans of True Grit will appreciate this girl-in-a-man’s-world story and its subdued but powerful message of true redemption and restoration.
Available May 13, 2014 from Zondervan