Title: Do Anything
Author: Wendy Owens
Series: The Wandering Hearts Series
Publication Date: 4/3/14
A broken heart is only the beginning for her.
Bookworm Annabelle Hart thinks she’s found the love of her life. But when her fiancé's philandering ways shatter their happy future, she decides she’s through playing the victim. Now, rather than read about life, she wants to live it—starting with a sabbatical from her editing job in Chicago to travel the world. But the past refuses to let her go so easily.
He thinks he has his life figured out.
After watching the woman he thought he loved walk away from him, Holden Blackburn is still picking up the pieces. Content with his life as the owner of an English Inn, just outside the sleepy town of Alton, he’s living his new and peaceful normal. That is, at least, until Annabelle stumbles into his life, and he’s overwhelmed by a desire to learn all he can about her. Now if only he can get her to stay in one place long enough.
Will they risk their hearts on a new chance at love?
When her past returns in a way she can’t ignore, Anna panics, running from any possible future with Holden. She’s determined to keep her life from falling apart again, but she soon discovers the only place she feels safe is in Holden’s arms.
But some things even he can’t protect her from.
~BUY THE BOOK~
**** 4 Stars ****
Stories about heartbreak inevitably speak to me on a personal level that comes from having first-hand knowledge of that sensation. I can always relate to the protagonist because I know where they are at that moment and the only question left to be answered is 'Where are they going from here?' Once the romance is all over, what's left? How does anyone pick up the pieces? The answer is different for everyone.
In the case of Annabelle Hart, she decides to go on a journey to 'find herself' by chasing the dreams of her youth. She's a woman that most readers can relate to: a lover of books, authors, and reading with aspirations of being a writer herself though she hasn't ever found the courage to start on a novel of her own to date. England is where she starts to pull herself together because she finds a kindred spirit in a handsome man with a past that features the same kind of heartbreak hers does as they were both betrayed by someone they planned to marry.
Romances that progress slowly tend to feel more real to me. There's more anticipation, more appreciation for the characters' feelings for one another, and more of a chance to build an understanding for where/how these two lives intersect in a way that make them 'right' for one another.
This book builds with a slow burn that is as nice to cozy up to as one of the Austen novels Annabelle loves so much. It's not filled with steamy sex scenes or dirty talk, yet passion is in the pages in the way Holden looks at 'Belle' as he calls her, in the way she leans toward him when he's close to her, in the way they kiss as if they're teenagers making out on a date that's run too late. There is passion in this book without it being the kind of book that should be read after-dark. I appreciated that quite a bit. It takes skill to build anticipation in a reader while leaving out the more explicit details.
What drew me into this story was watching Holden help Annabelle find the person she had always been underneath the person she had been living as if that makes sense at all.
Holden doesn't push her as much as encourages her in a way that she can't argue; he helps her realize she can take a new nickname -be Belle instead of Anna- and be a writer instead of an editor. He shows her it's alright to love again simply by trusting her with his own heart which has already been broken more than once. His trust, his faith, his belief in her help her discover her own strength of character.
I loved how Jack was handled in the piece. Jack would be the cheating ex-fiance who sends Anna scurrying away from America to England to become Belle---and he would be the kind of guy who eventually one hopes will turn out alright. I found myself unable to completely hate him; that's surprising since I loathe cheaters.
Overall, I was extremely satisfied with the story's pacing, never bored, read it in one sitting, and I can easily say I enjoyed the read quite a bit. I loved the characters though I do wish we'd gotten more out of Belle in regards to her responses to Holden. The fellow deserved better than what she gave him ever-so-reluctantly at the last possible second. I also felt cheated on his behalf because he'd encouraged her to write yet she couldn't trust him with her book? The book she'd written with his gift and his generosity to thank for the opportunity? Holden gave her so much and I feel that Belle gave him back so very little in return. He was almost a tragic Austen character: always sacrificing for the dignity of others while pushing his own needs to the side to be the gentleman in the situation. I just felt he deserved more than he got out of everything when literally from the start Holden is set on proving to Belle he'd do anything for her. I wish I had seen more of her proving she'd do anything for him.
I loved that the book left me with a teaser of the next in the series which will feature Belle's best friend, Kenzie, and I will definitely be back for that read, hoping to see a little glimpse of Belle and Holden along with what happens to that lady in her own right.
Lovely story all around which is well worth 4 stars! Thanks so much for the fun read, Wendy Owens! It made for a nice, relaxing afternoon where I smiled more than I have in days, laughed more than once, and got the chance to see a little love come to fruition.
***NOTE: Original review based on a complimentary copy provided to This Redhead LOVES Books Blog in exchange for an honest review. I have since purchased the book to keep in my permanent library.***
~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~
Wendy Owens was born in the small college town, Oxford Ohio. After attending Miami University, Wendy went onto a career in the visual arts. For several years she created and sold her own artwork. In 2011 she gave her true love, writing, a try. Her first novel flowed from her in only two weeks time, as though it had been fighting to get out. That moment was when she knew she had found her calling. Wendy now happily spends her days writing the stories her characters guide her to tell, admitting even she doesn’t always know where that might lead. Her first series, The Guardians, will be concluded with the fifth and final book in 2013.