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Paper Hearts    by Debrah Williamson order for
Paper Hearts
by Debrah Williamson
Order:  USA  Can
New American Library, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lori Waddington

Maxwell Boyle is an eighty-three-year-old widower who has lost his beloved wife Hanna to cancer. Max lives by himself, but Adult Protective Services don't believe he is capable of living alone and want to put him in a nursing home. Between the threat of losing his independence and greatly missing his late wife, Max has lost his will to live.

Fifteen-year-old Chancy Deel has run away from her abusive and drug-addicted mother. When Max finds Chancy sleeping in his garage, he takes one look at her and invites her into his house for a hot meal. Chancy is wary at first, but her hunger tempts her to accept. As Chancy inhales her food, an idea begins to form in Max's mind; if he offers Chancy a place to stay, maybe he can convince Adult Protective Services to let him remain in his own home.

Chancy accepts Max's offer, even though she is convinced he will want her to leave when he discovers that Chancy is what her mother refers to as a burden. But as the weeks go by - and after Max successfully lies to Adult Protective Services, telling them that Chancy is his goddaughter, whose parents have left her in Max's care for the summer - their situation becomes mutually beneficial. Max realizes that life is worth living and Chancy discovers that she is worth loving.

Max and Chancy eventually widen their family circle to include a troubled young family and an elderly waitress in need of a friend. Paper Hearts is a heartwarming novel that is not to be missed; I absolutely loved this wonderful book and recommend it to you too.

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