Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Inventions of the Heart was a Struggle


Inventions of the Heart is Mary Connealy's second book in her Lumber Baron's Daughter's series and centers around Michelle Stiles who is hiding out at the Two Harts Ranch that is owned by Zane Hart. 

Michelle is determined to stay one step ahead of her stepfather's schemes, which includes marrying her off to an unsuitable man. While she is hiding out, she tries to convince Zane Hart to start mining the gold on his property and let her manage the business. This brings all kinds of trouble and risk their way.  

Having read more than 20 books by author Mary Connealy, I feel I've read enough to get a sense of her writing style. What I've observed is that her books are plot driven, which tend to have less developed characters. If the story is your focus, you're in luck. But if you want to get to know characters in-depth, you probably won't finish quite as satisfied. As a reader I find it hard to connect with such a heavily plot driven story. And if you've never asked yourself if you love the plot more than the character developments, well, now you can! 

This book does have everything you want in a western romance, including kidnappings, rescues, and a wedding (would it even be a proper Mary Connealy book without a wedding?), but I really struggled to connect with the characters and story overall. 

To be fair, I believe that not having read the first book (The Elements of Love) in Ms. Connealy's newest series, there was some confusion and disconnect because I didn't know the characters from the first book. It takes a lot of effort to craft a series that any reader can jump into at any book in the series, and this one left me hanging. 

With that said, I found the start of the story confusing. It was supposed to feel fast paced and action orientated, but for me, it just really left me baffled. The book threw a lot of different characters at you, and paired with the fast pace, I just found myself not caring what happened to anyone. I also was thrown out of the story because, for me, Michelle's name was very modern, so every time I read it, it threw me out of the experience. 

I have nothing but the greatest respect and admiration for Ms. Connealy as an author as she's written and published countless novels. However, I feel I'd be doing the readers of my blog a disservice if I wasn't honest with you all and let you know I had to fight really hard to finish this book. 

Having been a reader of the Christian fiction genre for over two decades, I've reading habits and genres I may once have been drawn to have changed. I'm so much more intrigued by the characters of the story over the plot. I know in the beginning I absolutely cared more about happened in the book, and now I care who the book introduces me too. This change is exciting, honestly, because it means I will also be bringing new books and styles to my blog that have previously not been represented. 

I'd love to know... are you #teamplot or #teamcharacter? 

~~ Inventions of the Heart was provided to me by the author herself and Bethany House in return for my honest review. I received a complimentary copy of the book. All opinions expressed are my own, I was not required to write a positive review. All viewpoints expressed are my own. ~~