Flame

Wild Hearts

Romance - Contemporary
272 Pages
Reviewed on 08/10/2020
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.J. Simmill for Readers' Favorite

In Marie Scully's Flame, Danny was always on the move. She took work where she could and when things got too serious or people got too close, she ran. She was always running. But this time something was different. From the moment she met Noel on the train, life changed. She found herself at Wild Horse Ranch, part of a family, and the work with horses was fulfilling in a way she had never expected. Taken into Ben's family, she is treated as more than help, and then she met Liam. She never expected to be drawn to anyone, she had normally left long before she had a chance to get comfortable. While terrified, she stays, curious to discover what this place and Liam could become to her. But he too has shadows in his past, he too fears the vulnerability of her presence. They are pulled together, yet both want to push away. Can they move past their dark and haunted pasts, or will they run from each other like Danny runs from all her problems?

Marie Scully's Flame is a beautifully penned romance that is as much a tale of healing, self-acceptance, and discovery as it is the journey of two people falling in love. I enjoyed the alternating perspective of the writing style, allowing the reader to gain insight into the two main characters' personal journeys and understand the past they are shielding themselves and others from. I loved the energy of the character interactions, the personalities added depth and realism to a wonderful story and, on more than one occasion, you will find yourself getting frustrated at them as they pull away to protect themselves, ignoring what their hearts are telling them in fear of baring too much and making themselves vulnerable to being hurt. Challenges, uncertainty, and rivalry are woven throughout this beautifully set tale in which by supporting each other the characters go being hole hearted to wholehearted.

Astrid M. Arzu

In Marie Scully's Flame, Danny is a young brave woman with a kind heart who has endured life-devastating tragedies. She has coped with them by being on the run for several years, shunning close relationships with anyone. She has the good fortune of meeting a loving family who takes her in as another member, and a handsome young and upcoming jockey who falls rather quickly for her. But even if Danny’s heart pulls her in the direction of settling down with them, her fearful mind keeps on convincing her that becoming emotionally invested and settled is dangerous and will not end well. An accident happening down the line convinces her that her fears are well-founded and she should run again. Who will she end up believing? Will she let herself be guided by the fears originating from her past experiences or the hope of her aching heart?

Very well written, Marie Scully's Flame delivers a courageous tale of self-discovery and growth that is not the typical romance novel. Danny is fortunate enough to find people who care for her, but her heart has been traumatized and blocked by all her terrible experiences. She must realize that the only key to unlocking her heart is found within herself - her will to confront the ghosts of her traumatic past and her fears to move on to a life filled with much more happiness, freedom, and love. The storyline of the book is well developed. The pace is nice, not too slow nor too rushed. The characters have depth and a lot of credibility, especially the protagonists, Danny and Liam. This is a book I would certainly recommend to anyone interested in these themes.

Rosie Malezer

Flame: Wild Hearts is a beautiful saga of romance and drama entwined written by Marie Scully. After being sexually assaulted by her boss, Danny Sanders flees to the nearest train station in the middle of the night to escape her attacker. Not knowing what awaits her, Danny boards the next train where she meets an older woman who is having trouble finding a competent worker at her outback bar. Danny is an ideal candidate, and she jumps at the opportunity but, after a chance meeting, she finds herself working on a ranch where she can really allow herself to feel and grow from her traumatic past. Much interest is shown from the opposite sex by the stranger who seemingly appeared from nowhere, but only one of those men catches Danny’s eye - young jockey Liam O’Connor. As Liam and Danny try to tackle the demons of their pasts, each struggles to build a future together which brings hope.

Marie Scully has written a realistic tale that tugged on my every heartstring. I found myself in tears of both laughter and sadness throughout this incredible story; one which radiated the very real fear which lives within the veins of a sexual assault survivor. I was able to relate to so much of Flame: Wild Hearts, being a survivor, and having grown up on a ranch myself. Reading Danny’s tale rang true for me, not only in the behavior of the farmhands at the ranch but also in the different personalities of the farm animals themselves.

Love can be so hard to find, even when it is beating down your door, standing right in front of you. But when the demons of yesterday are the curtains that are blinding your view of the future, the struggle to see through to the other side can be the most difficult battle to overcome. I commend Marie Scully's portrayal of such difficulty in love and recommend Flame: Wild Hearts to all readers of romance aged 15 years and over.