Breaking free from her structured life, Chloe English quits her high-powered job and moves across the country to work as an art teacher. The simple life is all she hoped it would be until her house burns down, leaving her homeless. When a handsome firefighter swoops in to save the day, she can’t believe her luck. He’s laid-back and unassuming, everything she’s looking for in a man—or so he seems. It turns out he’s as ambitious as her ex, comes with a family who could be more stifling than hers, and harbors dark secrets he may never be able to share.
Orphaned as a teenager, Derek Sumner has found a place in his best friend’s family. However, the love and support of his surrogate parents and siblings can’t erase the grief and loss he struggles every Christmas to banish. But this year he meets the fun and sexy Chloe, whose optimism and sense of joy are incredibly contagious. Can she help him face his bleak past so they can forge a happy future?
I found Where the Heart Is to be a touching and sweet contemporary romance. Granted the characters seemed to fall in love awfully quick, but they realize that too so it makes it more realistic. Both Chloe and Derek are engaging and their relationship has warmth and charm. Their problems aren’t necessarily as dark as the blurb makes it seem – they really have to figure out whether they are moving too fast and if they can get past their own hang-ups to make a relationship work. I can easily relate to them and their problems, and the story totally work for me.
We also get introduced to the Archers, Derek’s adopted family. They are going to play a role in upcoming stories and I’m looking forward to everyone one of them. There is a good mix of personalities and difficulties in the siblings and it promises to supply a lot of material for other books.
At a little over 100 pages, Where the Heart Is is a fast-read but it is also satisfyingly real-life. I’ve read one of Darcy Burke’s books before, Never Love a Scoundrel, and loved it so I shouldn’t be surprised that her contemporary stories are just as good. With believable and fun characters, an interesting and heartwarming story, and the promise of some great books coming soon, Where the Heart Is is a must read.