I dove into Heart Trouble hoping for a light romance that wasn’t too sexual, but found it to be underdeveloped and unexciting. Heart Trouble is basically about how farm store clerk, Marissa Sloan meets and falls in love with cattle rancher, Brandt Conner. The whole plot appears to be constructed on the developing romance between Brandt and Marissa, and only that. Being a rather simplistic and uneventful romance, there is little to no tension, and not an ounce of tangible conflict, to drive the story forward.
Unfortunately, the characters weren’t all that engaging either. Brant Conner is an atypical romance book hero. He is not described as rugged and swoon-worthy, like most of the men that drive a good romance. Instead, he is portrayed as “looking like a lost puppy dog” and as having “a sharp jawline but little else to distinguish an otherwise handsome face.” At 25, he lives at home with his parents; hates to get up early; talks with his mouth full of food, and hasn’t been with a girl in some time.
It’s hard to fall in love with a hero who has no special attributes and seems more like a dopey, sweet little boy, than a grown man. Readers can fall in love with any kind of hero, but the author has to make us fall in love with him. I felt nothing for Brandt.
I felt even less for Marissa. Her character is non-descript, lacks any flavor and she seems to have no other interest than that of getting her hands on the rangy, wiry cowboy, Brandt Conner.
While the story was sweet at times, it dragged on without direction, and half way through, I lost interest and skipped to the end. The final few chapters have more tension in them, but at this point, it was much too late to have any impact on the story.
What the author did get right was some of the love scenes. Some lovely and evocative writing and prose helped make the intimacy between the couple palatable.
This author would greatly benefit from investing time into learning the technical aspects of story writing — plot, conflict, climax and resolution. The writing isn’t bad, but on a whole, the elemental aspects of the story are greatly lacking.
Brandt Conner is living the good life. Sure, work on his family’s ranch is hard and keeps him busy from sunup to sundown, but at least he’s got his best friend to help. There are only two sore spots in his life: lack of a loving, romantic relationship and a brittle connection with his father.
Marissa Sloan has no relationship with her father; she doesn’t even remember the man. But her dreams and plans haven’t worked out, and she finds herself working at a feed store to make ends meet. When Marissa meets Brandt, sparks fly and they are forced to grow up in a hurry.
Brandt isn’t rich but he wants for nothing in the material sense, and Marissa must ignore the negative view some have of Brandt’s ways, his romantic past, and his free-wheeling reputation. In Marissa, Brandt finds his other half - but if Marissa pursues her dreams of higher education, she’ll have to leave after just one summer together.
Will Brandt let her go? Or can he become the man he was meant to be?
Sensuality Level: Sensual