by Amber Stokes
Seasons of a Story (July 2013)
Source: Purchased Ebook Copy
Five bleeding hearts. One profound journey.Summer 1886
Sally Clay’s livelihood has been snatched away, but in its place arises an opportunity to escape from her sordid past and an unrelenting, unwanted suitor. Boarding a train with a heartsick rancher and an enigmatic miner, she leaves Virginia City behind and heads to Northern California, waiting for the chance to make right what went wrong three long years before.
But the road to revenge is far from smooth. Sally soon learns that the jagged pieces of a broken heart can far too easily wound the hearts of others – and hers isn’t the only heart that’s broken. Tragedy and fear dog her steps as she flees from the redwood forests to the high desert and back again. Will her bleeding heart ever find a way and a place to heal? A desperate soiled dove. Three men who come to care for her. One man determined to claim her. All on a journey that will show them what true love really involves.
Bleeding Heart is not your typical feel-good romance novel. Much like life, it was an unpredictable journey for each of these characters. It had its share of heartwarming moments along with heart wrenching ones. Sally, Joe, Myghal, and Seth each have a painful past they can't seem to break free from. Along the journey they find themselves on, these characters become close and stick together as they face all the pain and hurt that comes their way. By the end I felt emotionally invested and attached to each one of them for different reasons. I felt like I was there in their lowest point, and was with them as they were rising up from the pit.
As you can imagine, this was such an emotional roller coaster for me. There were moments that had me smiling and laughing. And then there were times when I couldn't believe what had just happened. I went back and reread certain parts because I thought I read wrong. I literally had to set my Kindle down and take in what I just read. I thought Amber did such a great job with those kinds of scenes. She didn't dwell on them for too long, but she still gave the characters, and readers, time to grieve.
My favorite character, and someone I hope we see more of, is Myghal. He was so sweet and had a great sense of humor. Even though he was hurting inside, he didn't let it show. He was always there when the other characters were in need and I loved that about him.
Amber captured so much raw emotion in this story. This novel was definitely darker than I had expected, but that's not a bad thing. Even though there's a lot of pain throughout the story, we still feel a sense of hope for Sally and the others in the end. I really liked the historical aspects and the perfect amount of suspense thrown in. Bleeding Heart was a beautiful debut and I can't wait to read more!
About Amber StokesAmber Stokes has a Bachelor of Science degree in English and a passion for the written word - from
blogging to writing poetry, short stories, and novels. After her brief time at college in Oregon, she is now back home among the redwoods of Northern California, living life one day at a time and pursuing her passion via freelance editing and self-publishing.
You can connect with Amber on her personal blog (Seasons of Humility), the group blog she contributes to (The Borrowed Book), Twitter, Pinterest, Goodreads, Shelfari, and LinkedIn.