Secrets of the Heart by Jannifer Hoffman
published by Resplendence Publishing
When Nicole Anderson receives a midnight call informing her she has gained custody of her sister’s two children her quiet life is turned upside down. As far as she knows she doesn’t have a sister.Genre: contemporary romance
Hunter Douglas is assigned the task of delivering a deceased friend’s children to their aunt 1500 miles away. When he discovers the oldest child is his he doesn’t want to give her up. He takes them to Minnesota fully intending to bring them both home to New York with him. His plan goes awry when he begins to fall in love with, small-town, Nicole Anderson.
Can Nicole overcome the secrets of her past to open her heart to Hunter?
Together Nicole and Hunter must unlock the mystery of false birth certificates, a missing suitcase, peculiar pictures, a strange man following them, and a grandfather’s legacy. Attempting to solve the puzzle only makes it larger and more dangerous.
Series: Douglas family, Book #1
The Story: The back blurb does a really good job summarizing the book so I won't go too much into the details. Hunter Douglas is a P.I. and a couple of years ago, he was asked by Brenda Casey to locate her biological father. After it was done, they have a brief fling and he never heard from her again... till today. Turns out that Brenda has committed suicide and before dying, wanted Hunter to bring her children to Minnesota and give them to her half-sister, Nicole Anderson who will now have custody.
Few problems though: first, as soon as Hunter sees Brenda's daughter, he knows that she is his and is willing to keep both children and second, Nicole was never aware of Brenda's existence. Now, Nicole is looking for answers and is unsure if she's ready to be responsible of two young children.
My Opinion: This book was much more than I expected! I don't know, I thought the story would mainly be about Nicole accepting the fact that her father cheated on her mother and getting to know the children better while falling in love with Hunter... but it was much more. Telling you more about it would be spoiling the book, so I can't unfortunately.
I thought Secrets of the Heart was well-written and I enjoyed the author's voice. I liked both Hunter and Nicole's characters. Both have lot of baggage, but they don't let it get in the way too much. They also strong, but compassionate. Nice, good and normal H/H - we need more of them! The kids were cute as well - not too baby-ish, but not too mature either. I don't think that readers will get annoyed with them.
My favorite part of the book was definitively uncovering the truth about her parents and Brenda's death. Very interesting. What I got annoyed at a bit though is Hunter's family. I thought there were too many siblings and they were each coming and going. I guess Ms Hoffman was trying to set up for the next book... but I thought it was a bit cumbersome.
I do have a question though, after reading the book. Brenda was described as a prostitute who had difficulty taking care of her children although she loved them a lot. I was wondering, how did it happen? Why did Brenda end up being a prostitute? I mean, she had a loving family and seemed to love them back... Did she get addicted to drugs? I just don't get what happened and I'm not sure it was explained.
My Grade: B. A solid and surprising read. I'll definitively be reading more books by this author :)