Review: Heart of the Hawk by Justine Davis

heart of the hawkReviewed by Jen

So this is the second book I have picked up recently that turned out to be a reissue from back in the day.  It’s not that I’m a snob about things like that, but there is definitely a discernible difference between the romances books of today and one from 20 years ago.  It’s not exactly that the book felt antiquated, but it did feel a little like “your mother’s romance novel,” which makes sense because, technically, it could have been.

It was the blurb that drew me in to the book and it delivered on its promise.  Joshua Hawk is a gunslinger who never wanted to be a killer, but circumstances have forced him to kill more than a dozen times. As the story begins, he is about to hang for it.  But the widow of the latest man to die at his hand turns out to be his savior. She comes forward to attest that he pulled the trigger in self defense, allowing him to be set free.

Hawk feels some responsibility toward Kate, now that she is having to survive in the Wyoming territory on her own. So he offers to help her out at the mercantile that her husband once ran.  He learns quickly that the man he killed more than deserved it.  Kate was abused throughout the four years of her marriage: verbally, physically and sexually. Now, for the first time, she is living with the kind of freedom she has only dreamed of.

Through Kate’s eyes we see the dichotomy of her husband, who was outwardly respectably, yet cruel behind closed doors –and Joshua, who carries around a terrifying reputation, while treating her with nothing but kindness and respect.  She never thought she could feel such tenderness for a man as she does toward Josh, and certainly not desire.  But she does…. and he feels them in equal measure for her.

I think I would have liked the book a bit more without the additional element of a magic book that follows Hawk’s family. It writes itself and leads its owners to the women who will help them continue the family line.  The story didn’t need this prop. It would have been more effective if Hawk and Kate could reach each other without the need of the book to help get them there. It was convenient that Kate could use it to see his history and for them to plan their future: but it was too convenient. It interfered with a more organic growth.

With their horrible pasts, these characters had miles worth of angst to mine, but I felt like we barely scratched the surface.  I wanted my emotional involvement with them to go deeper, and it never really did. It was ok for me, but nothing like the “best book I’ve ever read” reviews I saw on Goodreads.  I definitely loved Luke, though, the orphan Kate sort-of adopted. To me, he brought more heart to the story than any other character.  I just wish I felt as strongly about Kate and Hawk.

I liked it. But I didn’t love it.

Rating: B-

*Book provided by Bell Bridge Books

Click to purchase: Amazon

Heart of the Hawk
by Justine Davis
Re-Release Date: April 16, 2015
Original Release Date: October 1, 1996
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books

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