Author: Courtney Walsh
Review by Grace Olson
Taken from Tyndale House’s website description of Paper Hearts:
Abigail Pressman would never have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could restore her belief in love. As a business owner in a quaint town at the base of the Rockies, she’s poured everything into dreams of expansion . . . and resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park’s tradition of stamping mail with the city’s romantic postmark.
When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the paper hearts, a distraction that couldn’t come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail’s new landlord, and he’s threatening to end her lease to expand his practice.
As she fights a growing attraction to this handsome man crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts reaches the Volunteers, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail’s doubts about love, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart?
I requested to review Paper Hearts on a bit of a whim. Courtney Walsh a new-to-me author at that point, so I knew I was taking a chance, but the story sounded interesting, so why not? Let me just say, I fell in love with this book in so many ways. I love Courtney’s writing style. It’s humorous, down to earth, and dynamic. Her characters are all so unique, as is her setting.
So, the characters. First of all, I really like Abigail. If she were real, we’d be great friends. Courtney does a great job throughout the book developing her story, letting it flow easily and authentically. There were so many times as I was reading that I wanted to just give the poor girl a hug, or cheer her on when the dragon lady was trying to stomp her down. Then there’s Jacob. My heart just ached for him and all he went through, and the guilt that he was still heaping on himself. I really appreciated how Courtney resolved his heartache. She made it hopeful, and yet very believable at the same time. Then of course, there are the Valentine Volunteers. Gigi and Ursula were great characters, in all their meddling ways.
The inspirational element of Paper Hearts honestly touched my heart. It was hard reading about what Jacob and Abigail were going through and the mutual hurt in their lives. We all have some of that, don’t we? And yet God was able to heal their brokenness, and He is willing to heal ours. He has the power to turn our dreams around and make them even better than we imagined, because HIS plan is best.
Now, this is an inspirational romance, but it’s a little different than others you may have read. I believe this quote pretty much sums up the approach that Courtney takes:
“But the very best love stories are the ones that are flawed and full of forgiveness and pain and joy and challenges and happiness. All these things make up a love story.”
Which is why I fell in love with Paper Hearts, and will be eagerly awaiting Courtney’s next release. The story she spins throughout the book is so unlike any other I’ve read, poignant and laugh-out-loud by turns, that it has definitely found a permanent place on my bookshelf. If you want a sneak peek at what part paper hearts play in the novel, then check out this short video Courtney and her husband made. Watch it. It’s adorable. 🙂
About the Author
Biography from Tyndale House Publishers’ website: Courtney Walsh is a novelist, artist, theatre director, and playwright. Her debut novel, “A Sweethaven Summer,” hit the “New York Times” and “USA Today” e-book bestseller lists and was a Carol Award finalist in the debut author category. She has written two more books in the Sweethaven Summer series, as well as two craft books and several full-length musicals. Courtney lives in Illinois with her husband and three children. Visit her online at www.courtneywalshwrites.com
I was given a review copy of Paper Hearts from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.