ARC Review: Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh

phTitle: Paper Hearts

Author: Courtney Walsh

Release Date: January 1, 2015 (February 1, 2015 in Canada)

Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers

Source: Tyndale on Edelweiss (A copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Check this book out on Goodreads.

Preorder this book at: Chapters | Book Depository

2 stars

Abigail Pressman would never have guessed that love notes penned on paper hearts by an anonymous couple could restore her belief in love. As a business owner in a quaint town at the base of the Rockies, she’s poured everything into dreams of expansion . . . and resisting the matchmaking efforts of the Valentine Volunteers, who gather in her store to continue Loves Park’s tradition of stamping mail with the city’s romantic postmark.When Abigail is unwillingly drafted into the Volunteers, she encounters the paper hearts, a distraction that couldn’t come at a worse time. A hard-to-read doctor has become Abigail’s new landlord, and he’s threatening to end her lease to expand his practice.As she fights a growing attraction to this handsome man crushing her dreams, Abigail is inspired to string the hearts in her store, sparking a citywide infatuation with the artsy trend. But when a new batch of hearts reaches the Volunteers, it appears something tragic has happened to the couple. Will uncovering their story confirm Abigail’s doubts about love, or could it rescue her dreams . . . and her heart? (Source: Goodreads)

Abigail owns a bookstore that she doesn’t have that much interest in running, she’d much rather be selling refurbished furniture. When a new man in town buys her building and says he’ll have to evict her to expand the medical clinic he intends to open, she suddenly cares way too much about her bookstore, and about love. The town they live in is Valentine’s themed 365 days a year, will this obsession with love, and the town gossips, eventually wear down Abigail’s resolve to the point where she succumbs to love and gives everything up for the handsome doctor?

If you read my brief description of the book, you might have guessed I was not impressed with this one. The book is overall just blah, there’s nothing that jumps off the page or really hooks you in, the only thing that really kept me going was the fact that it was easy to read because it was so simple. I didn’t really buy into the love story, the characters were unbelievable and overly simple, and the plot was predictable, boring, and a little infuriating by the end.

As I’ve said the characters in this book were not in any way believable. They don’t jump off the page, there’s no spark of life in any of the characters. They’re also super inconsistent. It seems like Walsh couldn’t decide what the characters were going to actually be. Abigail and Jacob (the doctor) flip-flop constantly about their motivations and their personalities. This is all confusing and annoying to the point where you just don’t care about them at all. They also have no agency whatsoever. They rely on two things, outside action from minor characters, and God. The other characters in the book do everything and Abigail and Jacob do nothing, at all. They both rely on God’s will. This book is something of a Christian Fiction book so it’s a little heavy handed with the God talk. This isn’t a problem, except when it removes agency from the characters. They don’t do anything instead deciding God can do whatever to their lives and they will not be active. This was infuriating. It reeked of poor writing and worse character development.

The plot, much like the characters, lacks action. Everything just flip-flops around without moving forward. I could predict the ending before I’d even gotten halfway into the book but had to wait around for the last half of the book to happen before I could get to it. It was all mainly just filler to make the book longer than it needed to be. It was a predictable and simple plot, not very original or unique. The plot line that should tug on your heart, Jacob’s wife’s suicide, falls flat. The build-up takes too long until it loses all mystery or importance. (SPOILERS FOR REMAINDER OF PARAGRAPH!!) The final moments of the book end in Abigail giving in to a romance she doesn’t want, if you are to believe her for most of the book, giving up her dreams, and giving in the the actions of everyone else. This book just made me disgusted. She has no agency, but to top that off she gives into the “way things should be” a housewife with no dreams, being in a relationship everyone else wants for her, of course she realizes you need love, y’know ’cause women can’t have anything else in their life if their isn’t a man there to take care of them. Ugh, ugh, ugh. Then he of course swoops in and saves the day for her, buying her a new business. Because she is incapable of doing anything for herself.

The only reason this is getting 2 stars is that it was relatively easy to read and quick to read if you can get passed how ugh the plot wrap-up is. The writing is simple and plain. Nothing too fancy, nothing to exciting. It’s a little repetitive with unoriginal descriptions. Not great, just average.

Overall this book was just annoying. The characters were boring and lack agency, the plot was plain and ended up just awful. I cannot recommend this book at all.

Ramble on,

Have you read Paper HeartsLet me know your thoughts in the comments!
Check out Courtney Walsh at her Goodreads, website, and Twitter.
Connect with me on Goodreads, BlogLovin, and Twitter.

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