Friday, March 24, 2017

Review: Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue

Sometimes life takes you down paths you expect and other times it takes you on detours. No matter which way you go though, you have to remain true to yourself and the things that feed your soul. Both a mother and a daughter are reminded of this lesson as they forge ahead together in Meg Donohue's newest novel, Every Wild Heart.

Gail Gideon (G.G.) is a San Francisco talk show host who hit it big when her husband left her and she ranted about it on air. Now she's a huge radio personality hosting a call-in show where she advises listeners on how to find their best, happiest life. She's an exuberant and self-assured person. Her fourteen year old daughter Nic is very much her mother's opposite in personality. She is insecure and awkward with a bit of a stutter when she's under stress. She only blossoms when she's at the stables with her beloved horse, Tru. G.G. accepts and adores Nic as she is and the two of them have a good relationship, even if Nic wants a little more freedom than her mother is entirely at ease with giving her. Aside from a potential stalker (it goes with the territory) whose threats start as slightly troubling and seem to be escalating, life is mostly comfortable for G.G. and Nic. But then Nic falls off her horse and suffers a traumatic brain injury. When she wakes from a coma, she is physically fine but her personality is different. The timidity that ruled her life before has disappeared and she's a bolder, more confident person. As Nic is suddenly less fearful, she becomes determined to save a troubled, dangerous horse everyone else has given up on. Meanwhile G.G. is having to re-evaluate her life and to focus on her own passion, opening herself up to love again and rediscovering the importance of the music she let slip out of her life.

The novel alternates between G.G. narrating in first person and sections focused on Nic being narrated in third person. The reader is given access to G.G.'s most inner thoughts and sees first hand the worries she faces about keeping her daughter safe, the concern about Nic's changed personality, the remnant of feelings she still has for her ex and the growing feelings she might have for someone new, her loyalty to those close to her, and the dawning realization that her own life has veered off the path that makes her the happiest. The third person narration of Nic's sections keeps her a little more closed off from the reader, which works to give a little distance. This distance puts the reader in the role of observer, just as G.G. is in her teenaged daughter's life. It is nice to read a novel about the mother daughter relationship that doesn't have a major conflict between mother and daughter. G.G. and Nic clash but only over the sorts of things that any loving parent and child would clash over, like Nic chafing because her mother has declared her unable to ride until the doctors clear her after her injury and wanting to be treated with more trust since she's getting older. It is in details like this that the novel absolutely rings true to life. The novel is a lovely tale of a growing and changing mother daughter relationship, two potential budding love stories, a slight, secondary mystery, and the power of following your heart, overcoming fear, and creating the life you want. This is a quick and easy read, perfect for anyone who's a little burned out on dysfunction and unhappiness.

For more information about Meg Donohue and the book, check out her author website, like her on Facebook, or follow her on Twitter. Also, check out the book's Goodreads page, follow the rest of the blog tour, or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and Harper Collins for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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