Ashlyn Carter feels as brittle as the lifeless roses that border her new house. A year after the tragic death of her husband, the young widow discovers a horrifying secret. Heartbroken and humiliated, she resolved that no one could ever know. Now, back in her hometown with her three-year-old daughter, she's ready for a fresh start. But Ashlyn is unprepared to find that an embarrassing memory, buried deep in her past, is about to resurface...
Ryan Anderson was the last person Ashlyn expected to see. After the unexpected kiss they'd shared years earlier, she assumed she'd never see him again. Though she tries to avoid him at all costs, Ashlyn finds herself running into her former flame far more often than she'd like. Between her uncomfortable history with Ryan and the series of well-meaning suitors pursuing her, Ashlyn finds herself disenchanted with dating altogether. Yet as she and Ryan slowly become reacquainted, she feels her resolve to avoid a relationship slipping. But when moving forward with Ryan means revealing the secret she's worked so hard to keep, will Ashlyn have the courage to leave behind her late husband's legacy of deceit and learn to love again?
This book was amazing. Very well written and definitely a page turner. I can't wait to read more from Jeanette.
(4.5 stars) Ashlyn Carter is a young widow who decides to move back to her hometown so she'll be close to family. She has a 3-year-old daughter, Katie. She's having a hard time with the death of her husband but not for the reasons most people think. She learned something about him that was heartbreaking and she needs the support of her family.
Her sister tells her about this new guy she's dating and is crazy about named Ryan Anderson. Ashlyn and Ryan have some history and she's not looking forward to seeing him again. She tries to keep her distance but he's so good with Katie and she feels something when she looks at him. There are a couple of other men interested in dating her and she's hoping they will distract her so she can get away from Ryan.
I liked Ashlyn. Life has thrown her a curve ball and she's having a hard time dealing with it. She has some self-esteem issues and doesn't want to confide in anyone. She's doing all she can to make sure her daughter is happy. She's content to stay single but there are men who want to change her mind.
I loved Ryan! He made Ashlyn uncomfortable and nervous at first but he was so great with Katie which helped her warm up to him. Their history was something she had never told anyone so her family had no idea about them. Their age difference made me cringe a little bit at what happened before (she's four years older than he is) and I see why she's not eager to talk about it but they're older now so age isn't an issue anymore. They have great chemistry and I loved how I could feel the heat between them without them even touching.
There's a lot to this book and I enjoyed it from beginning to end! It's definitely LDS since there's talk of missions, temple marriage, home teachers, singles' ward activities and she meets with her bishop a few times. It's not preachy, though--it's all just part of her life. I also can't forget to mention that I love the cover!! This is a great book for anyone that enjoys good, clean romance!
I found Heart of Gold to be a very sympathetic read. Ashlyn is a sweet character who is struggling not only with her husband's death but some things she discovers afterwords. Thanks to her daughter Katie, she's still going through the motions but finds it easier to avoid the emotions that plague her. Until that is, Ryan Anderson reappears in her life and raises all kinds of emotions that Ashlyn isn't ready to deal with. Ashlyn's daughter, Katie provides some humor adding to the sweetness of the book. I enjoyed traveling with Ashlyn and Ryan and their journey to love and trust. A powerful story about learning to love again and even forgive someone who has hurt you. For me, the highlight of the book was the relationships between Ashlyn and Ryan as well as with her daughter and family. This is LDS fiction so there are references to the gospel of Jesus Christ as well as church practices and beliefs.
I absolutely adored this one!
So well written you actually feel the emotions as you anxiously turn the pages...wanting for more.
And emotions do run high in this book!
Ashlyn is grieving the sudden death of her husband, John.
She is also angry at him for his betrayal.
She has come back home and if feeling loved by her siblings and her parents, yet she is confused at their offers to set her up with a date.
Is her heart ready to trust another man AND why couldn't she have had her happily-ever-after with John?
She is grateful for and fully loves her three-year-old daughter, Katie.
Doesn't Katie deserve to have a daddy that loves her too?
And then there is Ryan.
Ryan and Ashlyn share a secret from their past.
But Ryan is now dating Ashlyn's sister.
Can the plot get any more emotional?
OH. YES. IT. CAN :)
Read to find out who else's emotions are involved in this wonderful tale of a young widow and her little girl.
LOVED. LOVED. LOVED. IT!
So want to read more from this author!
Don't miss out on this one!
I love the cover! Right away, I knew I was going to love this one and I wasn't disappointed.
I can't even image how Ashlyn felt. Not only is it hard enough to lose a husband to an accident, but to discover a life-changing secret around the same time is devastating and I couldn't blame her at all for having issues. Her decision to move close to her family is a good one because she has a cute daughter to worry about. Katie is one of my favorite characters! She's busy, but very endearing and I was completely attached to her.
Ashlyn didn't expect to run into Ryan again. She was his tutor and is a few years older than him and after a chance encounter in the past, she ran, never looking back. I fell in love with Ryan! No truer gentleman can be found for her...but he's dating her sister.
I love a good romance and this one had me swooning without even a kiss! The author has a way of weaving romance through looks, glances, casual encounters, and with the brief touch of a hand. Ashlyn has many issues to work through and is determined that she knows what she's doing by denying herself what she wants most. It was a little frustrating, but I love that it took time to work through and wasn't instantaneous. Ryan has issues of his own, but he is very loveable and persistent.
Ashlyn did have a few other guys after her and some of them just suddenly disappeared, especially when there were hints of conflict. I would've liked to have seen those situations resolved. This one isn't preachy, but if you aren't familiar with LDS terms and customs, you might find yourself lost in parts.
Content: Clean romance (kissing and very swoony moments); no language or violence; moderate religious elements specific to the LDS church (talk of missions, temples, church--but not preachy)
*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*
The first think I noticed about the book was the cover. I love it! I immediately fell in love with the skirt and boots. It's a girl thing, I know. I admit that if the cover is appealing, it helps me take a second look at the synopsis.
Ashlyn returns to her California hometown broken. Her husband was killed in a car accident a year ago leaving her with a cute daughter and emotional baggage. Her desire is to create a life with family nearby and without a man.
Little does she know that Ryan has also returned home. There was a brief attraction several years ago, when she was 20 and he was 16, that left her embarrassed and running.
This book was a very fun book to read. I loved the characters. Ashlyn is in an emotionally bad place and it takes awhile for her to warm up to neighbors, family, and men. I loved the persistence of Ryan. He is a genuine nice guy who has great quality to offer. His interactions with Ashlyn's daughter were some of my favorite scenes of the book.
Ashlyn's emotional healing takes a while. It wasn't overnight, which was realistic to me. The author took her through the process.
My absolute favorite theme of the book was on gold. Finding gold. Looking for the golden attributes of others and keeping them close to you. This theme keeps presenting itself to me in various forms and I was thrilled to have the point reemphasized in a fictional story.
This story contains religious elements from the LDS faith.