Tuesday, June 10, 2014

"the hatmaker's heart" by carla stewart

About the book: For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stammer she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.

But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.

My take: When I first began reading The Hatmaker's Heart, I wasn't sure if I'd enjoy it. Something about the opening pages just didn't grab me. But by page 20 or so, I was completely invested in Nell's story. I absolutely love the way the novel unfolded—author Carla Stewart slowly (very slowly) peeled back the layers of Nell's backstory, revealing information or including flashbacks at the perfect time. At the beginning of the novel, I never would have guessed the depth of Nell's character or the horrible things in her past. I also never would have guessed that this would become an interactive novel. I mean, how often do I gasp, "Oh, no!" or yell, "Kick him to the curb!" while reading? (Virtually never.)

What could have been a typical romance novel became so much more. In fact, the romance, though sweet, isn't the heart of the novel—really, the novel is all about Nell finding her voice (in more ways than one) and becoming the woman God created her to be. And it's a truly delightful journey.

My rating: 4-1/2 stars

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About the author: Carla Stewart is the award-winning author of four novels. With a passion for times gone by, it is her desire to take readers back to that warm, familiar place in their hearts called "home." She and her husband live in Tulsa and have four adult sons and six grandchildren (with one on the way!).

Carla can be found at her website, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

About the giveaway: In celebration of The Hatmaker's Heart's release, Carla Stewart has a fantastic giveaway going on on her blog. She's giving away a copy of the book, a cookbook, English treats, a hat, and a $100 gift card. Enter here through June 14.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Also, some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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