Saturday, January 8, 2011

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥: Purple Heart by Elaine Cantrell

Purple Heart
Elaine Cantrell

Page Count: 152
Release Date: 5 June, 2009
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Source: Complimentary copy from author in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

Jenna West has no idea what she might have done to her new tenant Mike Hightower. He's surly and hateful every single time they meet, and he looks at her as though he despises her.
He does despise her. She's from the Middle East, and people like her killed his friend Ramirez when the army sent them to Iraq.
Will the power of love work its magic to soften Mike's bitter hatred, or will he ignore his growing attraction for his pretty landlady?

What Stephanie Thought: Elaine Cantrell is a new author for me. When given the opportunity to read Purple Heart, I accepted, being a fan of the independent romance publisher. 152 pages and two hours later, I was happy I had.

Purple Heart is a heartwarming, poignant tale that bends the rules of common manners and tests the shallow capacity of our American society. Mike Hightower, a handsome Purple Heart recipient for the war-wounds he attained while serving in Iraq, still holds bitterness against the Iraqis, even a year later after the death of his fellow soldier and good friend, Ramirez. He blames the entire Middle Eastern race for what happened to his comrade, and when returning home to Eden's Crossing after serving, is put at much unease when discovering his landlady and cohabitant of the new duplex he's renting is Lebanese.

It was really uncomfortable for me to read Mike's thoughts. His hatred toward Jenna—a perfectly polite and welcoming neighbor—was based solely off her ethnicity, which is definitely a touchy subject, especially in our country. On the other hand, I could understand his resentment, and enjoyed being able to see his attitude towards Middle Easterns change as he realized that not all of them were terrorists. In fact, I would have thought this book to be extremely prejudice, had not his opinion change as he found himself falling for Jenna more and more everyday. 

Jenna West, the protagonist of the novel—I loved her. So maternal and affectionate in character, and still an exceptionally hard worker, she is exactly the kind of woman I enjoy reading about; one with morals, charm, and most importantly, persistence. Her little daughter, Jo is adorable too. With precious naïvete, she brought both tears to my eyes, and laughter to my heart.

The turning point of the novel is when Jo is taken away by social services, under the accusation that Jenna, by her precarious father-in-law (father of her late husband, Ethan), was a neglecting and unfit mother for the little girl. Mike, sensing Jenna's anguish and disarray, does everything in his willpower to help her get Jo back, and in the process, becomes conscious of how much he actually cares about her and Jo, coming to senses that a single aspect of a certain ethnicity does not define the entire ethnicity itself.

Purple Heart is a delectable story that universally shows to the reader, any reader, that true love is always out there for everyone, only if one's heart is open and willing. After all, as Jenna's mother told her, you always catch more flies with sugar than with vinegar. Purple Heart is a book you don't want to miss.

Special Interview

Elaine was kind enough to stop by Books à la Mode and answer a few questions for us. Read the interview here!

Radical Rating: 9 hearts: Loved it! This book has a spot on my favorites shelf. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥