HEARTS ON FIRE by Julia Gabriel


A St. Caroline Novel
Email this review


A woman’s return to her hometown forces her to confront secrets from her past and discover an unexpected new love in this sequel.

Becca Trevor is not surprised when her family’s business, Quilt Therapy, burns to the ground the night she returns to St. Caroline, a bucolic town on the eastern shore of Maryland. A self-described “whirling dervish of disaster,” she finds that wherever she goes, trouble follows. That night, she is surprised to see Jack Wolfe among the firefighters. Firefighting is a proud tradition in his family, but Jack seemed destined for something more. Most folks believe he is employed by a tech company in California, but in reality he dropped out of law school and works as a security guard and volunteer firefighter. The Trevor and Wolfe families are close, and Becca and Jack had a drunken romantic encounter the night of high school graduation. She got pregnant and left for Ohio to have the baby. Their daughter was adopted by a loving single mother, and Becca intends to keep the child a secret from Jack and their families. Their renewed friendship quickly turns romantic; however, when their daughter’s adoptive mother contacts Becca, she faces a difficult choice that could affect her relationship with Jack. This second novel in Gabriel’s (Chiaroscuro, 2017, etc.) St. Caroline series offers a compelling romance supported by nuanced characters. Becca and Jack are appealing protagonists whose comfortable and easy rapport blossoms into a second-chance romance that never seems contrived for the convenience of the plot. The author is particularly adept at developing romantic tension through playful and erotic scenes of flirtation. Gabriel also successfully strikes a delicate balance between Becca and Jack’s relationship and the family tragedy the couple face. Jack’s mother, Angela, is terminally ill, and the effects of her illness on her family and friends are heartbreaking and sensitively drawn. That said, although it is plausible that Becca could keep her pregnancy a secret from Jack and his relatives, it is incredible that she could successfully conceal it from her own close-knit family. Still, this engaging tale may appeal to fans of Elin Hilderbrand.

A well-crafted contemporary romance.

Pub Date: June 26th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-5472-7074-3
Page count: 290pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 2018


FictionTHE MASTER QUILTER by Jennifer Chiaverini
by Jennifer Chiaverini
FictionBLUEPRINTS by Barbara Delinsky
by Barbara Delinsky
FictionTHE MATCHMAKER by Elin Hilderbrand
by Elin Hilderbrand