Pulse of the Heartland by Melinda Cross
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
I liked this, but at the same time, I didn't love the hero. He came off as a jerk from the beginning. I don't mind a hero who torments the heroine (in a gentle way like the boy at school who teases the girl he likes), but his attitude of entitlement and his overweening arrogance killed it for me. I almost felt like Nick was considered perfect with no faults, but Emily had to justify herself for her practices and beliefs because they were wrong. I guess I felt like there was a sexist overtone to this book (and a little bit of the "traditional woman is the right kind of woman" vibe to this that irritated me). I'm not saying that Emily couldn't use a different viewpoint, but how much did Nick try to understand her or show acceptance for who she was and why she lived life that way? Not much. From the beginning, Nick seemed like he was on a mission to change her or shake her up. I think I might have felt somewhat better if Nick had ever said that he loved her or in his pursuing of Emily, he showed more than purely lust or sexual attraction. It seemed like he was all about getting her into bed.
I wasn't very satisfied with the ending of this book. It left a bad taste in my mouth because no words of love were said, and Emily was the one who was doing all the giving up and submitting (other than Nick staying in town). While submitting isn't a bad word (depending on the root of the act), her submission didn't feel right to me.
I tend to over-think things and I know that I am thinking about this book from a personal vantage point because I do have issues with the perception of women in society and the persistent view that all women need to fit the same mode in relationship with men. Marriages and relationships don't always have to follow the same model, but it seemed as though being with Nick had to be according to his terms, and that's always wrong to me. I feel that love should be about mutual submission. I would have love to see Nick do some of the surrendering in this book.
** Part of men thinks the nice brown eyed guy she danced with a lot at the block party might have been a good choice for Emily. I guess we'll never know.
It's not a badly written book at all. It's good, but the underlying message that came across didn't work for me.
Overall rating: 3.5/5.0 stars.
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