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This Heart of Mine    by Susan Elizabeth Phillips order for
This Heart of Mine
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Audio, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

Up and coming children's book author, Molly Somerville, has been infatuated with Kevin Tucker, Chicago Stars' shining quarterback, since she first laid eyes on him at age sixteen. It's too bad that the handsome and conceited jock has always treated her as if she were invisible. In fact, the last time they crossed paths he almost ran her down with his spiffy red sports car. Molly swore off Kevin then and there and consoled herself by penning the further adventures of Daphne the Bunny and Benny the Badger; the latter a character who just happens to resemble Kevin Tucker in more ways than one - not that he or anyone else has ever noticed.

When Kevin's coach (also Molly's brother-in-law) fines his star player for taking dare devil risks with his life and then orders him to go and 'cool off' at the family summer house, Kevin is furious. To add insult to injury, Molly and her ankle-biting poodle show up in the middle of the night. Kevin isn't happy with the idea of having the coach's brainy and off-the-wall sister-in-law underfoot the entire weekend - what was her name again, anyway? In a humourous turn-around, Molly decides to take advantage of Kevin and a few months later finds herself pregnant and determined to go it alone. But Molly's family has other ideas and in short order she and Kevin are forced into a shot gun marriage.

Kevin has the opportunity to get on with his life and career when Molly miscarries. However, when he finds her on the edge of a mental breakdown as she grieves for the loss of her child, he whisks her off to enchanting Wind Lake, the mid-west resort where Kevin grew up. Stuck together in this idyllic setting, Kevin soon discovers there's much more to his 'flakey and conniving wife' than he thought. And Molly finds the arrogant jock is as far away from superficial as a jock can get.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips once again enchants readers with her latest Chicago Stars spin-off. As she's proven in It Had to be You, and Nobody's Baby But Mine, vivid characterizations and alternately heart-wrenching or hilarious scenes make for a captivating read. Phillips' cast of amusingly eccentric secondary characters also shine, in particular Kevin's estranged movie star mother as well as a pair of teen-aged newlyweds bent on sharing marital advice with Kevin and Molly. If there's one feel good beach book to relax with this summer, it's This Heart of Mine.

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