Friday, May 18

Sound of the Heart: Book Review

Sound of the Heart
Berkley Trade 
May 1st 2012
Adult | Romance
Official Blurb -

From Genevieve Graham, author of Under the Same Sky, comes a sweeping romantic historical novel of one man’s strange gift and dangerous battles…
      Dougal MacDonnell, a fierce warrior from the Highlands of Scotland, is able to hear the thoughts of other men and dream how the future will unfold. Devastated by the loss of his family during the Battle of Culloden in 1746, he fosters a deep hatred for the English. But when Glenna, the love of his life and a Scottish outlaw, is captured and shipped overseas, Dougal is forced to join an English army made of vanquished Scots. Now fighting on the side of his sworn enemies, he embarks on a journey that will take him across the seas to the colonies. There he will risk everything for the chance to find his true love.
This book was very hard for me to read. Having read almost exclusively young adult novels the switch to more mature material was very challenging. The language as well was a hard transition. Some of the words I am still unsure of even now.
The book starts off very heavy and continues so for some duration. Dougal is deep in a bloody battle and finds himself a prisoner. The things that go on in the prison are very dark and hard to read. Especially when it came to what some men will resort to when trapped in a cesspit for months. Plainly, there is a section where some of the prisoners repeatedly try to rape two young boys. I could see where some would say we are surrounded by monsters more than men. Where have all the gentlemen gone? Thankfully, there is some lighter banter occurring between Dougal and his friend John. This banter is one of my favorite things in the book. We get to see a lighter and more caring side of Dougal. He is a character with quite a bit of depth.
The part of the book that disagreed with me is the rather explicit sex scene. The cover and the genre strongly hint that a sex scene is to be expected yet I got a mistaken idea it wouldn't be the case. So when I stumbled upon it I was thrown and consequently less than happy in my reading.
Just past the half way mark, I found my interest in the very intense and complicated story waning. Dougal is in a very deep and dark place. It seems that no matter which way it goes things aren't going to be pretty. There is so little hope. The emotions are written so well that the despair leaked off the pages and got stuck on me. As evidence of my reluctance to feel this pervading despair the pages passed more slowly and my mind wandered. I figured it was a good time to call it quits. The characters are great and I do want to know what happens to them.
For such a bright cover this book is full of hardships and moments no person should have to endure. The exception so far being a small stint of happiness for Dougal. It was such a drastic change from the overall mood that it felt almost dreamlike.
In the end I am torn over this book. It did help to remind me why I read young adult over adult books. Young adult books primarily feed off emotions and are realistically shallow. Adult books are very realistic in detail and depth and more emotionally shallow. Too much responsibility and care in an adult novel and they are so much more complicated. It takes much more of an investment of time and energy to read. I can't very easily read it in five minute increments. Even though this book wasn't my perfect fit I have no problem recommending it. The writing is good the characters are great and the dialogue is often funny. For fans of adult romance who don't mind seeing into more private moments this will be a great read. You will learn a lot about the Scots and war.

Sexual: Heavy
Violence: Heavy
Moment Divine:
"We're the lot of us trussed like turkeys, probably set to be hangit, an' ye're fashed about a wee itch on yer nose?"
"Aye, I am," the man replied indignantly. "I canna reach it."
"No, I dinna suppose ye can," Dougal said, trying to stem his laughter. "An' how am I to manage it then?"
"I've no idea. But 'twould be a blessin' if ye'd figure it out."

Grand Prize on the book tour is ...
A signed copy of Sound of the Heart PLUS a four cd set of relaxation cds created by my incredibly talented musical friends, Cori Ashley and Ed Franks. I'll give you a little insight into why I chose these cds as my prize - I'm NOT saying Sound of the Heart is about relaxing … considering the wild adventures Dougal's in for, I doubt he was too relaxed! But Dougal has a gift, similar to his brother's gift. He can relax his mind and hear the thoughts of other men, but he can also sink into his thoughts and hear the sounds and voices of his loved ones as if they were right there with him. These cds were created to help you escape the stress and craziness of your days. Grab a cup of tea or glass of wine (your preference!), light a candle, maybe slip in to a bubblebath, and listen to the sound of your heart.

The contest runs May 1-31/12 and is only open to entrants in Canada & U.S.).
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