Welcome to my stop on the Renaissance of the Heart Blog Tour hosted by Brook Cottage Books! Click here for the full tour schedule!
Title: Renaissance of the Heart
Author: Lori M. Jones
Publication date: June 24th 2014
Publisher: Soul Mate Publishing
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Copy for review
After her husband of fifteen years comes out of the closet, a blindsided, forty-year-old Amanda Lewis is forced to salvage what remains of her shattered heart and navigate a new life for herself and her teenage daughter. But will a sizzling secret romance with a famous young NFL quarterback lead her to winning the life she deserves or set her up for her biggest loss yet?
As she embarks on the journey of rebuilding her home, Amanda discovers that finding forgiveness and repairing her damaged self-worth are her biggest challenges of all. While searching her soul - and even searching inside her city's history - she finds answers. But will answers come too late and can a broken heart ever be truly fixed?
The synopsis for Renaissance of the Heart drew me to reading about Amanda's story like a magnet. She sounded like a strong female lead, and I wanted to find out how she deals with this shocking blow to her entire life. And I must admit, I was very curious as to how she hadn't noticed any signs over the years that her husband was in actuality gay. This story was on the whole very satisfying.
I understood her feeling like her entire marriage had been a lie. I thought I was going to empathize with her husband for only now living his life openly as a gay man and feeling like he couldn't before now, which definitely does NOT excuse the cheating. But he ended up being a complete douche bag so I didn't feel anything but a strong dislike for him.
Amanda's teenage daughter Lilly was one of my favorite characters. She handled the entire situation with grace and humor that went beyond her years. She's very close with her mother, and I loved their relationship. It was great to see her enjoy spending time with her mom yet still have fun with her friends and do the teenager thing.
Okay, sorry everybody, but if you know me, then you know I HATE the Steelers, lol. I'm a die hard Bengals fan, so it was a little difficult to read about Amanda dating the Steelers quarterback. ;) But this didn't affect my enjoyment of the book 'cause I sucked it up and let myself go along for the ride with their romance. He was so sweet! And Amanda makes a comment about feeling like the hot popular guy is asking out the geeky girl, and I had to giggle. I probably would feel like that, too.
I only had a couple of issues with this book. One was when Amanda wondering if her ex was careful and if she might have HIV. Isn't that an out-of-date notion? Just because someone is gay doesn't automatically mean they have HIV, and I'm sure they were careful. I figured the shock of finding out he had been cheating on her lead her to thinking these kind of thoughts. I can understand her wondering if she'd get some sort of sexually transmitted disease, but why just HIV?
To sum up my feelings about Renaissance of the Heart, I'd say this was a wonderfully woven tale about a woman who started out the story as broken and destroyed but showed incredible strength and resiliency in picking up the pieces of her life and moving on. Moving on with a hunky quarterback! I admired Amanda for doing her best to remain strong for her daughter and not lean on her, which would have put pressure on her daughter. I also admired Amanda for keeping her cool the best she could in dealing with her ex. Man that guy got on my nerves!
I would love to see another book by Lori Jones with a different couple this time from the perspective of the spouse who realizes she/he is gay, ends the marriage without cheating, and is a decent person, lol. I'd totally read that, too!
Lori lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where she writes women's and children's fiction. RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART is her debut novel. She's also the author of children's books, RILEY'S HEART MACHINE and CONFETTI THE CROC, both written with the hope that children will celebrate what makes them unique. She's also written award-winning flash fiction pieces and her articles have been featured in various publications.
Lori serves on the Board of Directors for the Children's Heart Foundation and is the president of their Pennsylvania chapter. She visits schools to speak about writing, about the human heart and about embracing what makes you special.
Besides writing and spreading awareness about Congenital Heart Defects, her passions include her two daughters, her husband Mark, her Pittsburgh sports teams and running in 5Ks. Lori is a member of Pennwriters and she loves her local writing groups! She is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and journalism. She also holds a paralegal certificate from Duquesne University and is a former Washington, D.C. paralegal. Visit her website at www.lorimjones.com.
*RILEY'S HEART MACHINE (Guardian Angel Publishing)
*RENAISSANCE OF THE HEART (Soul Mate Publishing, Spring 2014)
*CONFETTI THE CROC (Winter 2014)