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Reviewed by Alex Ndirangu for Readers' Favorite
Why do we still find ourselves in love with those who hurt us? Is it because we still perceive their worth - directly related to how little we value ourselves - or is it a result of unresolved relationship issues? Susan K. Hamilton's Stone Heart is a masterfully crafted narrative that paints an excellent picture of how we sometimes find ourselves not fully in control of who we do or do not want to love. Here, we meet Lauren, a woman who has struggled to get over Danny, her high school ex-boyfriend. These two ex-lovers had opposing views on what they wanted to do with their lives and parted ways after graduation. Lauren, who is now a famous songwriter, has spent years trying to get over him by getting into several romantic relationships and even giving in to a cocaine addiction that nearly destroyed her. Danny, on the other hand, is married to Heather, with whom he has children. However, his marriage is in trouble. Lauren is returning to New York to record a new album, and while she is concerned about the success of her work, Danny is still on her mind despite their long separation. Will Danny pursue his high school sweetheart to reignite their beautiful love, or will he prioritize his family now that he is a father?
I found the plot to be engaging and well-developed. It uses a complex web of character interactions that captures the reader's attention throughout the book. I also appreciated Susan K. Hamilton's systematic approach to revealing specific details, which heightened the tension and kept me on the edge of my seat. The way Stone Heart emphasized the risks and mistrust that come with poor communication in marriage was what I found to be its greatest strength. The author did a great job of describing the events in detail, enabling me to create mental images of the scenes. This gave the book a realistic edge and made it possible for any reader to empathize with the characters' feelings. I even thought Danny was telling the truth when he told Heather that he didn't have any affairs outside their marriage. This excellent character execution led me to shift sides from one character to another as I sympathized with their vulnerability.