Book Review: Healing Hearts

There are times when we struggle to deal with what life throws our way.  The difficulties we have overcome, pain we have endured, and losses we have suffered all threaten to break us down. But there’s always that one thing- that one special thing – that keeps us grounded. A person, pet, memory, whatever it might be, that one thing keeps us going and makes us keep fighting despite all the odds.

In Donna K. Ford’s new novel Healing Hearts, the women who come to Willow Springs are looking for that grounding force to keep their lives stable. As a retreat catering to lesbians, Willow Springs tries to offer its guests peace, tranquility, and a safe place to regain their sense of balance and purpose. Every woman has a unique story and reason for being at Willow Springs, but their main goal is the same: to find peace and happiness.

For Christian Sutter, life hasn’t been the same since the accident that claimed the life of her partner and left Christian fighting to survive. Withdrawn and emotionally drained, Christian hopes that she can find a way to come to terms with Cara’s death and learn to move past it. Elaine Barber is also struggling with her past – with a memory that she can’t quite shake and a gripping fear that caused her to push away the only woman she’d ever loved. The two women bond over dinners and drinks, but neither is ready to deal with the reasons they came to Willow Springs. When Christian encounters Alex Moore, a local artist who volunteers at the retreat and is battling a past of her own, her life is thrown for another loop. Her immediate attraction to Alex causes old scars to reopen and sends Christian in an emotional tailspin. Her friendship with Elaine had been a source of comfort for both women, but could Elaine’s secret put them all at risk?

Healing Hearts isn’t just a story about women trying to find peace – it’s so much more than that. Donna K. Ford builds extremely complex and diverse characters who not only have to overcome the pain of their past, but deal with the emotions and aftermath in the present. Dealing with grief and loss can be a difficult subject to tackle, and Ford does this eloquently while also creating a vivid and detailed world for the reader to escape, even if just for a short while. Healing Hearts is about finding your rock, your own inner peace, in a world where nothing seems to remain stable. It’s about finding your true self and holding onto that one driving force that keeps you steady.

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