I'd like to start off by saying thanks to author Heather Hummel and Samantha at Chick Lit Plus Blog Tours for allowing me to be part of the Whispers from the Heart blog tour!
Let's begin with the synopsis:
Whispers: The heart's way of speaking...
Madison Ragnar is a high school English teacher determined to connect with her students, to finish the next running race with a respectable time, and to avoid ever falling in love again.
But life has other plans for Madison. A man named Michael shows himself in the most unexpected places, raising questions from her best friend, Olivia, and issues around Madison's last relationship.
In the classroom, the death of a student prompts her grieving ninth graders to depend on her for answers. They turn to journal writing as a form of understanding the weight of what's happened in the walls of their teenage existence.
When Madison meets Phil, who throws a wrench in her declaration to not fall in love, it seems that her escape through miles of running is the only real footing she has in life.
Will fate determine Madison's life? Or will she have a say in its outcome?
I thought this was a really sweet book. It didn't take me long to read but I really enjoyed getting involved in the story.
As much as I enjoyed the book overall, there were just a couple of things that didn't sit well with me. Madison left a less than ideal relationship a few years prior to the start of this novel but has been paranoid about her ex tracking her down ever since. I can completely understand that but what I don't really get is how she reacts to Michael showing up all the time. Her best friend, Olivia, is completely freaked out and is convinced Michael is stalking her and was sent by Madison's ex to find her. Madison, on the other hand, appears to have absolutely no problem with Michael. I understand that she can tell that he doesn't seem like a nutter and won't hurt her, but if you're so concerned about an emotionally abusive ex finding you, shouldn't you be a little more worried? I don't know if it's just me who feels like this but the emotions surrounding Michael were a little strange to start off with. I will say though that you need to hold onto your hats when it comes to this mysterious stranger. Hummel has a wonderful twist up her sleeve that I did not see coming!
The other thing that didn't flow for me was Madison's class and the death of one of her students. While this was a good storyline, I didn't quite see how it fit with the overall plot of the novel. Madison is teaching To Kill a Mockingbird to her students and I kept waiting for an obvious connection to her life and the novel. Perhaps there was one but I missed it as...ok, ok, I confess...I've never actually read To Kill a Mockingbird. There was just something about this additional storyline involving her class that didn't quite fit in to the overarching plot of the novel. That being said, losing a classmate is a hard thing for any teenager to go through and I think Hummel did a good job of showing how her students react and how they grow up in such a short amount of time due to this tragedy. I have a feeling that the "journals" part to the series name, Journals from the Heart, relates back to the journaling that the students do. To anyone else who's read the book - do you agree?
I must say that I really did like Madison as a character. She seemed to really know herself and even realizes what her major flaw is. I liked reading about her falling in love and reconnecting with that part of herself. She offers a lot of lessons to the reader and I think everyone will come away from Whispers from the Heart with some sort of message.
Overall, I enjoyed Whispers from the Heart. I liked the journey Madison goes on and the people she meets (and falls in love with) along the way. I'm looking forward to reading the second book in the Journals from the Heart series - Write from the Heart.
Want to learn more about Heather and her books? Follow her on Twitter (@HeatherHummel) and like her fan page on Facebook.
Happy reading :)