Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Book or Movie? "The Sweetest Heart"

Here we go with another Book or Movie post ... and, wouldn't you know, it features a Hallmark Channel Original 不.

A couple weeks ago, I was on a blog tour for Catherine Lanigan's Heart's Desire (which has now been re-released as The Sweetest Heart to match the movie title).

Caf矇 owner Maddie Strong is finally ready to take her burgeoning cupcake business to the next level. With the help of handsome businessman Alex Perkins, her future's all mapped out. Until her first love comes home. 
At seventeen, Maddie adored Nate Barzonni with her whole heart and soul. But when he asked her to elope, she'd said no—she couldn't let him throw away his dream of becoming a doctor. Then he vanished from her life for eleven years. Now the cardiac surgeon has returned to Indian Lake asking for a second chance, and Maddie has to choose between her new life…and the man she never stopped loving.
Heart's Desire was ... fine. I gave it 3 stars, which means "it's okay," and that's exactly how I felt about it. It was fine but not particularly memorable. In fact, what I remember most about the novel is that Maddie was dating (and kissing) both Alex and Nate at the same time, and I really didn't like that.

The movie The Sweetest Heart premiered last weekend as part of Hallmark Channel's "Spring Fling."

Maddie is doing everything she can to save her cupcake business. With the help of a handsome investment banker, Maddie’s luck begins to turn around in all aspects of her life. However, when her first love Nate unexpectedly returns home after 14 years, she will have to choose between a new romance and the man she never stopped loving.
Within five minutes, I could tell I was going to like the movie more than the book. For starters, the movie immediately dispenses with one of the most ridiculous things from the book: in the book, Maddie and Nate break up because she refuses to marry him on a whim the summer before her senior year of high school. He disappears the next day (running off to join the military), and she has no idea what happened to him until he shows up 10 years later as a new doctor at the Indian Lake hospital. The movie takes a more realistic tack, with Maddie and Nate drifting apart while he's away at college, and she breaks up with him following four years of a long-distance relationship.

The film changes many other things, including toning down the love triangle aspect (it's there, but Maddie's not running around making out with multiple men) and making Nate more involved in helping Maddie with her business. The changes here are good ones, and the only change I didn't like was that they took out my favorite scene in the book (Maddie is trying on a wedding dress, and Nate sees her for the first time since coming back to town), but with the other changes they made, that scene wouldn't fit anymore.

Julie Gonzalo (Hallmark's Pumpkin Pie Wars and Falling for Vermont, Parker on Veronica Mars) and Chris McNally (I didn't recognize him, but he's had several supporting roles on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films) are well cast as Maddie and Nate. They didn't have loads of chemistry, but they had enough to make their relationship believable. Lots of other familiar Hallmark faces make appearances, and it's just all around an enjoyable movie.

So ...

Book or Movie? 

Movie, no question! (Book: 3 stars. Movie: 4 stars.)

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase an 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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