This Heart of Mine
Book 8, Whiskey Creek
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First love. Second chance?
As the daughter of a hoarder, Phoenix Fuller had a tough childhood. So when the handsome, popular Riley Stinson became her boyfriend in high school, she finally felt as though she had something to be proud of. Phoenix was desperate not to lose him—especially once she found out she was pregnant. Yes, she might have acted a bit obsessive when he broke up with her. But she did not run down the girl he started dating next.
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove her innocence. Now, after serving her time in prison, Phoenix has been released. All she wants to do is return to Whiskey Creek and get to know her son. But Jacob's father isn't exactly welcoming.
Riley doesn't trust Phoenix, doesn't want her in Jacob's life. He is, however, ready to find someone to love. And he wants a good mother for his son. He has no idea that he's about to find both!
Best of the Seires!
I loved this addition to the Whiskey Creek Series! It had everything I could have wanted - great main characters, familiar beloved minor ones that added to the book, a captivating storyline, and a perfect setting. I enjoyed every second spent reading it. There were parts that made me tear up, and parts that made me laugh. For me, it is the best one of the series to date.
When reading the previous books of the series, never did I think I would end up loving Phoenix. She is now my favorite character in Whiskey Creek, catapulting this book to the top of my list. It was amazing to see what she had been through the past seventeen years, to see what she had missed out on, and to find that she harbored no ill will, but instead was as kind a person as could be found. Riley was also a fantastic character, a man who made some mistakes as a boy, but is now self confident and trusting of his own feelings and ability to make decisions. I commend him for doing a great job of raising Jacob. I liked the way that he realized almost immediately that he shouldn't have kept Jacob from Phoenix, and that he had already come to the realization that he let his parents influence him way too much where she was concerned when he was a boy. Jacob was a delightful character, and I loved the way he respected his father and so wholeheartedly welcomed his mother despite probably never hearing a positive thing about her before. I also have to mention Kyle, as he has never been a Whiskey Creek character that I warmed up to until now. He was in Phoenix's corner from the beginning and was a true friend to both she and Riley. I am now looking forward to his story.
This story of a young girl who wrongfully spent seventeen years in prison for killing another girl captured my heart. When Riley suddenly broke up with Phoenix, who he professed to love, she was confused and did some silly, immature things trying to get him back, especially when she found out she was pregnant. Murder wasn't one of them, but she was convicted, sent to prison, and wasn't even allowed to hold her baby when he was born. Riley stepped up to raise their son, giving him a good life.
Although Phoenix knows how she will be hated and treated, she goes back to Whiskey Creek when she is finally released so that she can get to know her son. She is very worried about Riley's disapproval, so she is happy with the thought of being on the outskirts of her son's life and being allowed to see him occasionally. She in no way wants to cause problems for anyone and intends to be fiercely independent. Riley doesn't expect that having Phoenix in Jacob's life will be good for him, and he has discouraged Phoenix from returning to Whiskey Creek. When she comes home anyway, he does agree to let her meet Jacob. What he finds in Phoenix is not at all what he anticipated.
The story of Phoenix getting to know her son, becoming friends with Riley again, and trying to put her life together, is a wonderful one. Phoenix expects so little kindness and acceptance that it shocks her when it sometimes comes her way. She is not welcomed and treated kindly by many people, and she has much adversity to overcome. She does it with poise and grace, and she is simply one of the nicest characters you could find.
This book worked for me on all levels. I was happy with the characters, storyline, and was left entirely content with the way everything played out in the story. I am eagerly looking forward to the next Whiskey Creek novel.
Powerful second chance story!
This is a tremendously powerful story. I was shedding tears at page 20 and smiling soon after that. The kind of sadness and pain that Phoenix is feeling is so deep rooted. It's the pain of an innocent girl who served seventeen years in prison, walked out a woman and was never allowed contact with her son. She never even got to hold him when he was born. It's the pain of trying to start over when everyone thinks you're a murderer. When you're afraid to accept even the smallest of kindness from anyone because self respect is all you have and it all feels like pity for the ex-con. I was so happy that Jacob, hers and Riley's son, was prepared to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe in her innocence. It also says something about Riley's character that he too, was willing to give her the benefit of the doubt after he realized what she had been through and he'd helped put her there.
I love all of the books in the Whiskey Creek series but this one is by far my favorite book so far. The emotions were so strong I was feeling her pain and sadness in my heart. Thank you Brenda Novak for another fantastic, even more intense, journey to the little town of Whiskey Creek and I can't wait to come back again.
Received a copy in exchange for an honest review.
The Best of Whiskey Creek
After spending sixteen years in prison for a crime she did not commit, Phoenix has returned home to Whiskey Creek to reconnect with her son, Jacob. Her ex teenage boyfriend, Riley has done a wonderful job on raising their son. As Phoenix gets to know her son better, Riley is also realizing why he loved Phoenix years ago. Phoenix is very leery of these advances by Riley, as she also is fighting these same feelings.
This is the eighth book in the series of Whiskey Creek, but can be read as a stand alone. We have always heard bits and pieces of Phoenix in previous books, but always for the bad. In this book, Phoenix has to redeem herself to everyone.
I could not put this book down, once again Brenda has written a wonderful story of likeable, believable characters that you can relate to. I highly recommend this book, along with the rest of the Whiskey Creek books.