Heart Land – Kimberly Stuart – Howard Books – Published 17 July 2017




Grace Klaren has finally made her dream of living in the Big Apple and working in the fashion industry a reality. But when she’s unexpectedly fired and can’t afford the next month’s rent, Grace does something she never thought she’d do: she moves back home.

Back in Silver Creek, Iowa, Grace is determined to hate it. She rails against the quiet of her small town, where everything closes early, where there’s no nightlife, where everyone knows each other. She’s saving her pennies and plotting her return to New York when she almost runs over a man who’s not paying attention at a crosswalk. It turns out to be Tucker, her high school sweetheart whose heart she broke when she left ten years ago. They reconnect, and Grace remembers why she fell for him in the first place.

And her career begins to turn around when she finds a gorgeous but tattered vintage dress at a flea market. She buys it, rips it apart seam by seam, and re-creates it with new fabric, updating the look with some of her own design ideas. She snaps a picture and lists the dress online, and within a day, it sells for nearly $200. Suddenly, Grace has her ticket out of here.

But Grace can’t fight her growing feelings for Tucker. Sometimes when they’re together, Tucker paints a picture of what their future could be like, and it feels so real. And when she finally gains the funding to move her new business back to New York, Grace must decide where home really is—will she chase her long-held New York dream, or find a new dream here in the heartland?

My thoughts

Heart Land is a sweet romance, a story of love given a second chance, the cost of following your dreams, and a touch of the glamour of high fashion.

Grace Kleren has fought hard to follow her dreams of becoming a top fashion designer. After years of brutal, hard work on the lower rungs, Grace is on the verge of a promotion. But instead of being rewarded for her passion, Grace finds herself without a job and mounting debts she cannot pay. Giving herself time to regroup, Grace returns home to a small town in Iowa, to the love and care of her grandmother, Gigi. But Grace left many people behind in her mad dash to the city, including her first love, Tucker. After a shaky reunion, Tucker and Grace quickly return to their strong friendship and growing romantic feelings. But when a new design opportunity presents itself, Grace will have to choose between the draw of the big city lights of New York or the simple but true love she could only find in Tucker’s arms.

There’s nothing wrong with a good love story, and that’s exactly what Heart Land delivers. Love of family, love of a dream, love of a town or place, and, of course, romantic love. Grace didn’t think she would love being back in her little home town. She certainly left as soon as she could when she finished high school. But there is something about the big, open spaces that call to her. Or perhaps it is having the love of her grandmother and her amazing friends wrapped around Grace again. Even looking back on the memories of her mother and father, memories she has tried so hard to hide, bring a sense of peace she hasn’t felt before.

Grace has always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer and she certainly has the skill. Despite her setbacks in New York, it isn’t long before Grace takes the opportunity to work with her grandmother to create a beautiful set of individually styled dresses. Gorgeous fabrics, embellishments, and flowing silhouettes, it’s fun to be drawn into Grace’s world of fashion.

Heart Land really centres around the romance between Tucker and Grace. Theirs is a relationship that, despite the past, is strong and one that they easily fall back into. Tucker is incredibly sweet, continually giving of himself to help Grace follow her dreams. There are plenty of romantic moments – think wildflowers and fairy lights -so readers who want romance will not be disappointed. There are also threads of faith woven throughout the story. Faith doesn’t play a huge role in the story, but Grace who has previously doubted the love of God due to the hardships she has faced, comes to accept his presence in her life. Yet the depth of Grace’s hurt is never mined too deeply, instead the story remains relatively light.

Heart Land is a simple and sweet romance, perfect for readers who enjoy books about second-chance love stories.

The publishers provided an advanced readers copy of this book for reviewing purposes. All opinions are my own.

More information

Category: Fiction

Genre: Christian contemporary.

Themes: Fashion, romance, relationships, family, faith, grief, New York, sewing, community, belonging, second chances.

Published: 17 July 2018 by Howard Books

Format: Paperback, ebook, audiobook. 320 pages.

ISBN: 9781501180569

Find it on Goodreads