So this is kind of cool – I am reviewing a book that is not even out yet. I was in the right place at the right time when the author, Lois Greiman, handed out some advance copies. She’s been on my “Authors I really should read” list for a couple of years. Even though my copy says “Advance Uncorrected Proof,” in my mind, this is a polished finalized work. The editing was really clean, which is something I cannot say for a number of books I’ve purchased or have attempted to read.
As I read Hearth Song, I thought a lot about genre. I’d plunk this into subcategories like “Fiction -women – ranchers – horses – parenting,” but there is a keyword to describe this book that defies categories. The core story revolves around Bravura Lambert and her journey from insecure to confident. Bravura is a largely self-sufficient woman who owns a business and cares for her five-year-old autistic daughter, Lily, while her husband, Dane, lives away and works on the Dakota oil wells. I was a bit overwhelmed in the first chapter, which takes place at a rodeo type event, because I had not read the previous book in this series, Hearth Stone. There were a lot of characters introduced, and some of them had two or three names (Bravura is also called Vura and Vey for instance.) I’m glad I stuck with the book, because the character journey pulled me in. At times, I wanted to yell at the heroine, and at other times, I wanted to be a shoulder for her to cry on and at still other points, I cheered her on.
Ultimately, I’d add a subcategory for empathy. Greiman drew me into a world that was as foreign to me as Mars and made me care about a character, Bravura, who I wouldn’t seek out or identify with in real life. That’s the beauty of storytelling and why I read. I doubt I’ll go back and read the first book in the series, because I wasn’t 100% in love with the ranch setting and because that book has reviews, but this was a great way to kick off The January Project.